351 – Psalm 26 – We dont talk like that

Even though I know better, I still fall into the trap of reading right over the top of words in the Bible when I should be paying attention to them. Even though we don’t talk like that, because it’s the Bible I just keep racing along. Kudos to me! I’ve read the word, but never mind that I didn’t understand what I read. I probably got “something” out of it anyway. Hopefully, I’m the only one in the world who has ever had an encounter like that, but I suspect otherwise.

Oddly enough, there is a verse in the Psalm we are studying I could easily read over, but let’s pause and reflect on it instead. I read Psalm 26:8 a few times before it hit me that we don’t talk like that. Maybe since we don’t I should stop and make sure I understand what David is saying.

Psalm 26:8-12 (NKJV)

           8       [YHWH], I have loved the habitation of Your house,

    And the place where Your glory dwells.

Look at the first part of verse eight. “…I loved the habitation of Your house…”, what’s that mean? Have you ever told anyone you, “loved the habitation of their house”? Aren’t all houses a “habitation”? Is David placing emphasis here? If you consider the rest of the verse, then yes, maybe that’s exactly what he’s doing. This particular house that David loves is YHWH’s habitation and just so no one misunderstands, YHWH’s glory dwells here. Before we move on I should point out that “habitation” is the Hebrew word pronounced something like May-on and it has the glosses “hidden lair”, and “dwelling”. It seems obvious to me that in order for David to tell YHWH he loves where he dwells David had actually visited this place. But is it the house David loves, or the person who occupies it? 

I consulted five major translations. Four of which said “habitation”. One said “The dwelling”. Then I did something I very rarely do. I looked at the NIV. I am careful about using the NIV during study because it is a dynamic equivalence Bible which calls its faithfulness to the original manuscripts into question. But this verse in the NIV gave me something to think about.

Psalm 26:8 (NIV)

8 [YHWH], I love the house where you live, 

the place where your glory dwells. 

I believe the point the author is attempting to make is he loves being in the presence of YHWH. Now this verse raises a question for the modern-day reader. YHWH does not physically manifest His presence on the earth at this point in history, so how would one visit His dwelling place? In other words, how would we enter into the presence of YHWH? 

The answer is a simple one. So simple in fact that many in churchanity reject it as insufficient. To enter YHWH’s presence in a very practical sense you do so by spending time in His word and in prayer. In my experience, those who bristle at that answer have not spent very much time in the word of God and prayer themselves. They want some emotion-filled musically excellent and extended song service that lifts their souls into the presence of God. Sadly, what they end up with is an emotionally charged but spiritually empty experience. Such an encounter is dependent on the ability of others – the individual, in most cases, cannot propel himself into the presence of YHWH because he lacks musical ability. 

Don’t misunderstand me. Yes, worship God while singing to excellent music. But if you want to enter His presence then talk to Him in prayer as you pour over His Holy word. Give up on executing some formula. There are no right buttons to push, no perfect sway, or bodily position to enter into. Simply spend time allowing Him to talk to you through His word while you talk to Him in prayer. David had a confidence in YHWH that could only have come from consistent time with Him.

Psalm 26:9-12 (NKJV)

           9       Do not gather my soul with sinners,

    Nor my life with bloodthirsty men,

           10       In whose hands is a sinister scheme,

    And whose right hand is full of bribes.

           11       But as for me, I will walk in my integrity;

    Redeem me and be merciful to me.

           12       My foot stands in an even place;

    In the congregations I will bless the [YHWH].

Commit to Psalm 26:11 and walk in your integrity and I’m confident you will experience the second half of that verse. You will experience YHWH’s redemption (rescue) and His mercy. He will not leave you in the hands of the schemer. 

David was able to say he was on a firm foundation (“My foot stands in a even place”) because YHWH was His God. If you take the time to read through Psalm 26 again you’ll see that David made conscious decisions to stay away from certain places and people and relied on YHWH to protect Him. Maybe it’s time for us to do the same.

YHWH truly is worthy of all Praise, Worship, and Adoration.


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