Psalm 138:2 I will worship toward Thy holy temple, and praise Thy name for Thy lovingkindness and for Thy truth: for Thou hast magnified Thy Word above all Thy name.
The emphasis of this message is the first clause in the verse: I will worship toward Thy holy temple. It was common practice for the Jews to prostrate themselves toward the temple in Jerusalem whenever they prayed. Daniel, even when he was in Babylon, would pray and worship with his window open toward Jerusalem (Daniel 6:10). What was the purpose of such a practice? Why did David, in his psalm, say that he would worship toward the holy temple? Is there a lesson in that for us?
The temple was built by Solomon. On the day it was dedicated to the Lord, Solomon prayed and asked God to hear the prayers that were prayed toward the temple, for the temple was to be His house (II Chronicles 6). When Solomon finished praying, the glory of the Lord entered the temple to dwell there. Now when Solomon had made an end of praying, the fire came down from heaven, and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the Lord filled the house. And the priest could not enter into the house of the Lord, because the glory of the Lord had filled the Lordís house. II Chronicles 7:1-2. Chapter five, verse twelve, tells us that there were 120 priests sounding with trumpets, and that when the glory of the Lord entered the house the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud of glory. The weight of glory prostrated the 120 priests before the Lord (II Chronicles 5:12-14).
Notice the similarities between the glory of the Lord filling Solomonís temple and the Holy Spirit filling the disciples on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4). There were 120 in the upper room (Acts 1:15), as there were 120 priests at the dedication of the temple. The glory of the Lord entering the temple was the assurance that He would dwell there. Likewise, the Holy Spirit indwelling the believers on the Day of Pentecost was the Lord saying that the Church would now be His dwelling place. The first temple was built by Solomon, but the Church was a temple built by God. (You) are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone: in whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: in whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit. Ephesians 3:20-22.
So why did David say that he would worship toward the holy temple (Psalm 138:2)? The temple was where the glory of the Lord resided, so by worshiping toward the temple they were recognizing that the presence of God dwelt among them. And we should worship with the same awareness, that God is in our midst. We are built together for an habitation of God through the Spirit (Ephesians 2:22).
It is vitally important for us to be constantly aware that the presence of God is among us. Your heart awareness is your truth. For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he. Proverbs 23:7. If in your heart and mind God is far away in the heavens, then you will be separated from His presence. You canít walk with the Lord in that state. You will not progress spiritually apart from His presence. God is making His believers His unique dwelling place. For ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. II Corinthians 6:16. However, we must understand that it is not enough to just assume we are members of His temple. It must be a reality. Hereby know we that we dwell in Him, and He in us, because He hath given us of His Spirit. I John 4:13.
When you have that constant awareness in your heart that the presence of the Lord is in you, that you are a member of His temple, you will no longer think of Him as being in a far away place in the heavens. Open your heart to His presence, and say like David, ďI will worship toward Thy holy temple.Ē That is, you will worship with an awareness that the Lord is dwelling in His temple, and you are a member of that temple. The presence of the Lord is among us. He is Emmanuel, God with us.
Copyright © 1998 by Henry DuBose