Hebrew is yashab—to sit, to remain, to stay, to dwell, to abide.
David is only describing something that he does, after spending all of the previous verses in the Psalm describing what God has done for him. It is only because the Lord is his shepherd, that that he can dwell with the Lord.
What does it mean to dwell in the house of the Lord?
The pinnacle of this worship in David’s life probably took place when he and the whole house of Israel brought the Ark of the Lord to the city of Jerusalem.
David wrote a Psalm for this special occasion, concluding in (1 Chronicles 16:34-36). O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; For His lovingkindness is everlasting. 35 Then say, “Save us, O God of our salvation, And gather us and deliver us from the nations, To give thanks to Your holy name, And glory in Your praise.” 36 Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, From everlasting even to everlasting.” As he’s considering the goodness and lovingkindness of the Lord following him all the days of his life, he can’t help but think of the Lord’s salvation, and presence of the Lord.
To be continually in the Lord’s presence, as close as he could get to the Lord was his life’s aim. Psalm 27:4, “One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life.” Psalm 26:8, O Lord, I love the habitation of Your house And the place where Your glory dwells.
In the New Testament, Jesus uses the Greek word for abide (menon) (menown), meaning to abide, remain, stay with to describes how we, as disciples, are to remain in him (John 15:5)
5 I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.
The vine is Jesus, and we, His disciples are the branches. Jesus gives an immediate example of how to tell in your own life, whether you are abiding with Him. If you are abiding with Jesus, you will bear much fruit. Abiding with Jesus means that we have a connection to Him. We abide in Him, and He abides in us.
8 My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.
It’s the abiding in Him, the being near to Him, the dwelling in His house, as David calls it, that causes us to bear much fruit. And the result of all of this is that God is glorified.
House of the Lord
For David, dwelling in the house of the Lord means being in the Lord’s presence–enjoying being in relationship with God, and being near God’s presence dwelling in the Tabernacle in Jerusalem.
Now and Later
David literally says dwell with the Lord to the length of days; to the end of his life.
To the end of my days.
Going deeper in our relationship with God is our life’s goal, and holding on to our faith, whatever comes. (Hebrews 3:14 Mathew 24:12-13 Rev 2:10). As followers of God, we are sometimes called to lay down our lives for our faith, but more often we are required by God to remain faithful to Him until the end of our lives.
So, if you live for God to the end of your days, then it’s automatic that you will live with Him forever. If a Christian is truly heavenly minded, then they are all about the Father’s business, which means doing good while they are here on Earth. We are to occupy until He comes. We are to go about doing good. We are to do the work of the Father.
Our Hope of Heaven is an anchor—something that keeps us firm in times of trouble, spurs us on to further action and keeps us going. Hebrews 6:10-19.
It’s our diligence in following God’s plan, as we serve and minister to each other—fellow believers—that gives us full assurance of hope until the end, and keeps us from getting flabby and sluggish in our faith. Jesus has taken our hope of heaven and reward and anchored our soul to it within the Heavenly Holy of Holies, where God dwells, and our anchor holds behind the veil. We have strong encouragement to hold fast to our hope in him. And it is by living our lives for Him that we lay hold of that hope, by trusting in Jesus as our Lord and Savior. So, we can say with confidence, I will be in God’s presence forever, I will abide in Jesus’ love forever, and say with David “ I will dwell in the house of the Lord, forever”
6 Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life,
God’s blessings are something that He can count on and have confidence in. The only conclusion, based on who God is, and David’s personal relationship with Him, that David could come to, is that he can be sure of God’s provision.
goodness and lovingkindness
This word translated goodness, twob Hebrew, literally means beautiful.
He’s pointing us to the Goodness that is one of the attributes of God. There’s no other source of goodness in the universe. This was the point that Jesus was trying to make to the Rich Young Ruler in Mark 10:18.
David just didn’t pick two words, goodness and lovingkindness here out of the blue. In many of the Psalms, we see that it is the LORD who is described as Good, before He is praised for His lovingkindness as well. For example, Psalm 106:1 Praise the Lord! Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; For His lovingkindness is everlasting (also Psalm 100:5, Psalm 107:1, Psalm 118:1, 29, Psalm 136:1). When Israel thanks God, it is first for who He is—His Goodness, and then for His lovingkindness; His benefits.
Lovingkindness, or kindness that comes forth out of love for someone is used over and over again in the scriptures to describe the way that God desires to deal with us, and what he longs to pour out on us. God’s lovingkindness is never exhausted.
Blessed with Love of a Heavenly Father
You are still blessed, first with the Love of your Heavenly Father 1 John 3:1a says 3 See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are.
God the Holy Spirit gives us the ability to cry out to God as His sons and daughters As Romans 8:15 tells us, 15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”
God the Son, Jesus gave redemption. The one thing that we could never do, the one debt that we could never pay, Jesus paid for us, redeeming us, ransoming us. Mathew 20:28 tells us just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
There is no lack of redemption in the Lord (Psalm 130:7 O Israel, hope in the Lord; For with the Lord there is lovingkindness, And with Him is abundant redemption.)
Live like the redeemed
Let us live the kind of lives that He bought for us. We have freedom, it’s freedom not to sin. Get far away from the temptations that are trying to overtake us.
Created, saved, and given a mission according to His will
God chose you, specifically, for salvation, according to His plan. (Ephesians 1:11) 11 In Him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of Him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will.
God made you to fulfill the specific plan that He has for Your life. Ephesians 2:10, “[You] are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for [you] to do.” They’re your good works. Prepared for you to do—and no-one else can do them as well as you can.
So, knowing all of this, we should emulate our God and bless each other freely. Romans 13:8-9 8 Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. 9 For this, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
Sometimes blessing others is going to require that we must die to ourselves, die to our own sinful, selfish nature. As you’re blessing others, and especially our brothers and sisters in Christ, you join with them in the joy, and join with the Lord in the blessing and fulfilling His purposes in their life, and you’ll find yourself blessed; because obedience and trust in the Lord does not go unnoticed by God. Give blessings, and you will find “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (6:38.)
Share your redemption story
Give your witness to the World. Share what God has done for you, Psalm 107: 2 Let the redeemed of the LORD tell their story— those he redeemed from the hand of the foe,
We have exciting news to tell people—how God has saved us—how we are free in Christ, free not to do the kinds of things that we used to do, because Jesus has paid the price, He has redeemed us.
will follow me
This word in Hebrew, means to pursue vigorously. So, David is witnessing that because God is who He is, a good God, God keeps on pursuing, attending closely to him day-by-day throughout His life. David is saying that God pursues him vigorously to look for opportunities to demonstrate this lovingkindness toward him.
all the days of my life
If your plans involve the future (most do); involve God in the decisions. Psalm 27:4 One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in his temple.
This is our central aim in life—to seek after, to follow after the Lord, abiding with Him, in His house that He has invited us into, given us a place at His table, given us the bread of life, anointed our head with oil, filled our cup of welcome to overflowing, saying that we are always welcome to dwell in His house “all the days of our lives”.
When David begins speaking about what it like to be a guest at the Lord’s table in verse 5, how God prepares a table for him and anoints his head with oil, and gives him an overflowing cup—these are pictures of God’s provision for him. Here’s a statement of David’s assessment or summation after reflecting on what God has done for him. God has provided us everything that we need.
For a traveler, access to water and food was a matter of life and death. Providing for travelers who had stopped at their tents was an obligation. This is exactly what we find Abraham doing in Genesis 18, in verses 1-8.
As New Testament believers are urged to hospitality to this type of guest in Hebrews 13:2: 2 Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it. (Heb. 13:2). In Romans 12:13, he doesn’t forget to exhort us to be “given to hospitality”.
A cup of welcome
One of the first things done for a guest who has been received, is to offer him a drink of water. To give a drink of water is the simplest way to pledge friendship with a person. When Eliezer, Abraham’s servant, sought a welcome, he did so by requesting of the maiden who came to the well to draw water (Gen. 24:17, 18)
Filled to overflowing
One of these customs in parts of the Middle East had to do with filling the cup. If you came to somebody’s house, even if you were a total stranger, the first thing the host would do is to offer you a cup of water. When we are welcomed to God’s table of provision and His Presence, made possible by trust in Jesus as Lord and Savior, He does not leave our cup empty. And the first and most important thing that this cup is overflowing with is the presence of God Himself.
A cup of provision
God is the one who makes our love for him and for one another grow. God is able to love us so much, that this love pours out of us and overflows toward those all around us. (1 Thess 3:12).
When we ask of the Lord in Jesus’ name, and we receive it fills us to overflowing with Joy (John 16:24)
The demonstrated power of the Holy Spirit, working within us and through us, is what witnesses to us that we are saved. And with the help of God as we allow Him to work through us, it fills us with hope, as we see the evidence of the Holy Spirit working through us, because we know that we are His. (Romans 15:13)
Welcomed throughout our life
The filling and filling of our cup continues throughout our life. God’s Holy Spirit and provision for us never runs dry. It is we ourselves who limit what God wants to do for us and through us. (2nd Kings 4:1-6).
If we are willing to let God use whatever we have in the house; if we give to God ourselves, even such as we are, He will use us.
The amount of trusting the Lord that we have walked in, up to the point of the trial determines the amount of faith that we have available to bring to the trial in the moment that it is most needed.
This welcome we have from God, based on the relationship that we have with His Son is one that continues not only throughout our life, but is the relationship that continues forever. This is clear, even in the life of David. The relationship between David and God still exists. The relationship that David is talking about here between himself, of him sitting at God’s table in peace and relationship with Him, is a forever relationship.