What is your favorite place in the world?
That question alone makes me smile. I always think of my semester studying in Liverpool, England, and the amazing people I met and the experiences I had there.
Maybe you think of your family home, or somewhere you used to live, or a warm vacation get-away that is your happy place on these cold winter days. Maybe it's hardly about the physical place at all, but how that place made you feel. It was simpler, stress-free. You knew you were loved there.
Liverpool was cloudy and rainy and a little dirty. We were poor students living as cheap as possible, but yet we loved it. We "decorated" our tiny flat's living room with children's posters from Poundworld (the British Dollar Store), propped windows open to air out the funny smells, and tried to ignore the ugly carpet that would not get clean. It was far from luxury, but siting in that tiny room with new friends from around the world is my favorite place. That is the place I want to go back to.
But maybe we physically can't go back to our favorite places, either for a long time or maybe ever. We know we have to find contentment where we are currently at.
Now imagine God has promised to give you that place one day as an inheritance. He has said you will go back and live there in perfect happiness. You can live in that memory forever. That picture is what God promises in Psalm 37. It's a psalm of David entitled "Instruction in Wisdom," and is one of my current favorites. We are told how to live in hope of our inheritance.
God promises that we will "inherit the land" or a version of that at least seven times in this chapter.
18 The blameless spend their days under the Lord's care,
and their inheritance will endure forever.
22 those the Lord blesses will inherit the land,
but those he curses will be destroyed.
34 Hope in the Lord
and keep his way.
He will exalt you to inherit the land;
when the wicked are destroyed, you will see it.
Usually to receive an inheritance, the current owner has to die before it can be passed on. Our Father is the almighty God and never passes away, but he chose to send his Son to earth to live under the rules of this planet and existence, so that he could die to grant us our inheritance. Jesus willingly gave up his favorite place in the universe (living with his Father) so that we would be able to join him there one day.
But how can we wait for that "one day"? How can I find joy now when I'm living in a physical or mental state that's nowhere near to my favorite place?
Sometime we have to purposely learn to dwell where we are. Psalm 37 is full of commands for us that will lead us to godly living on earth while keeping our eyes set on what's coming. But notice how those commands for how we should live also come with a promise of what God will do.
3 Trust in the Lord and do good;
dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
4 Take delight in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
5 Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in him and he will do this:
6 He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn,
your vindication like the noonday sun.
7 Be still before the Lord
and wait patiently for him;
He sees you waiting. He knows your heart and what you dream of. He feels your pain of missing someone or somewhere. And he will help you through this life until you can join Him in your perfect eternity.
But we are not just idly waiting to die and claim our heavenly inheritance. This life is already for being with and praising God. We are dwelling with God now. Your eternity has already begun. So, no matter where you go, that's your favorite place to be because of who is with you. Your inheritance is already given to you. Claim it, and live believing it's yours.
23 The Lord makes firm the steps
of the one who delights in him;
24 though he may stumble, he will not fall,
for the Lord upholds him with his hand.
27 Turn from evil and do good;
then you will dwell in the land forever.
28 For the Lord loves the just
and will not forsake his faithful ones.
39 The salvation of the righteous comes from the Lord;
he is their stronghold in time of trouble.
40 The Lord helps them and delivers them;
he delivers them from the wicked and saves them,
because they take refuge in him.
I love reading the Bible with my no-bleed color highlighters, and there is so much to take note of in Psalm 37. I encourage you to read the whole chapter once, and then go back and highlight or underline all of the commands for us to live, all of the promises of "inheriting the land", and all of the references to God's character, each category marked in a different color or specific way.
When we take the time to slow down and spend time with one chunk of Scripture, we can see how the structure of it shows us God's ultimate plan and purpose for us. There are many times that Bible verses teeter totter between God's character and who that means I am. We read what God has done followed by how I should live in response. It's a beautiful dance that pops out of the page when it's given the attention it deserves.
God takes a step; I follow. He pushes, I go.
Claim your inheritance now, and claim the right to mark up your Bible with colors and lines and notes that lead your heart to believe that you already have all you need.