Where Will You Be Forever?
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever. —Psalm 23:6
To help us understand what King David meant when he said, “I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever,” we need to consider the story of his life. He was living with an end in mind.
In David’s day, the official place of worship was still the old tabernacle, dating from the time of Moses. When David set up his capital in Jerusalem, he was bothered about living in a house of cedar while “the ark of God dwells in a tent” (2 Samuel 7:1). He decided to build a temple for the Lord, but this was not God's plan. His response to the king was, in essence, No, you won't.
David meant to honor God with his building. However, the Lord made it clear that it wasn’t David’s idea He was rejecting—it was the circumstances. David’s role as a warrior made him unsuitable for the role of Temple builder (1 Chronicles 28:2-3). In God’s plan, David’s son Solomon would build the house for His glory.
With that backdrop, consider what David was saying at the end of Psalm 23: This life is so short. Ultimately, I shall dwell in house of the Lord forever. I might not get to build the temporary Temple on earth, but I’m moving into the permanent one in heaven someday. When they start singing my songs, I’ll be in the front row.
Look at David's confidence as he declares, “I shall dwell.” He understood this was not a temporary visit, but that he would be at home “in the house of the Lord.” He knew he was moving into what Jesus called, “my Father’s house” (John 14:2). The Bible gives us many clues about heaven, and they all add up to this great idea: We’re going home! We will finally be where we were designed to spend eternity.
Heaven was made for God's children, and we were made for it. What Revelation 21:1 calls "a new heaven and a new earth," isn’t some alternative plan God worked out when humans fell into sin. Heaven was the plan and destination for believers all along.
This last word is the best word in the whole psalm: “Forever.” Life on earth is short, and the deadline is coming fast. Eternity is racing upon us. Soon the clock will stop, and time shall be no more. As John Newton's old hymn Amazing Grace says so beautifully, “When we’ve been there ten thousand years . . . we’ve no less days to sing God’s praise than when we'd first begun.”
If you have received Jesus' forgiveness and embraced Him by faith, you too can declare like David, “I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” There is no better end to have on your mind as you walk through this day.
When you think about heaven, what are you anticipating the most? Why? How would you describe the reason for your confidence about forever?
Father, may the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to You—just as David’s dream about the Temple was, though it wasn’t Your plan for him to build it. Direct my thoughts to what You may be leading me to do. Help me be willing to pursue Your call wherever it leads, right up to the moment I go to dwell in Your house forever! In Jesus’ name, amen.