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Something Greater

A Lent Reflection for Monday, March 4 by Aisha Cox


Lectionary reading for 3/4/24:  Psalm 84; 1 Kings 6:1-4, 21-22; 1 Corinthians 3:10-23

Selected passage for reflection: Psalm 84


Read

Psalm 84 NLT

For the choir director: A psalm of the descendants of Korah, to be accompanied by a stringed instrument.

1 How lovely is your dwelling place,

O Lord of Heaven’s Armies.

2 I long, yes, I faint with longing

to enter the courts of the Lord.

With my whole being, body and soul,

I will shout joyfully to the living God.

3 Even the sparrow finds a home,

and the swallow builds her nest and raises her young

at a place near your altar,

O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, my King and my God!

4 What joy for those who can live in your house,

always singing your praises. Interlude

5 What joy for those whose strength comes from the Lord,

who have set their minds on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem.

6 When they walk through the Valley of Weeping,[b]

it will become a place of refreshing springs.

The autumn rains will clothe it with blessings.

7 They will continue to grow stronger,

and each of them will appear before God in Jerusalem.[c]

8 O Lord God of Heaven’s Armies, hear my prayer.

Listen, O God of Jacob. Interlude

9 O God, look with favor upon the king, our shield!

Show favor to the one you have anointed.

10 A single day in your courts

is better than a thousand anywhere else!

I would rather be a gatekeeper in the house of my God

than live the good life in the homes of the wicked.

11 For the Lord God is our sun and our shield.

He gives us grace and glory.

The Lord will withhold no good thing

from those who do what is right.

12 O Lord of Heaven’s Armies,

what joy for those who trust in you.


Reflect 

I’ll never forget my niece’s reaction the first time she visited Disneyland. Shortly after we entered the park she whispered to me, “Is this real or am I dreaming?” Rarely do I personally experience being in awe, but I got a front row seat on this day. Her eyes were filled with wonder and delight. Although she normally is a “busy bee” she asked if we could walk at a slower pace so she could take everything in. She was in full agreement that this was the happiest place on earth. When we returned home all she could talk about was how she couldn’t wait to go back. 


The psalmist shares that same awe as he gazes at God’s temple. More than admiring the temple from the sidelines, he articulates a deep desire to dwell in His presence. Nothing on Earth can compare. One day with Him is more soul fulfilling than a thousand anywhere else. God's presence is not only a preference, it’s a priority. However, life has a way of knocking our priorities out of order. The pursuit of happiness will have us seeking places, things, and people before we do God. Happiness is temporary. Happiness is fleeting. Happiness is dependent on our circumstances and rooted in external factors. The psalmist reminds us that God offers us something greater.

 

Instead of looking for something to make us happy, we have unlimited access to a person who brings us joy. Joy is internal. Joy is independent of circumstances. Joy can be sustained through the highs and lows of life. Joy equally sets us apart and draws others in with curiosity. Joy is contagious. Joy is a gift from God. The restrictions that were in place concerning the temple no longer apply to us. Unlike Disneyland there’s no traffic, long lines, or entry fee required to experience His presence. We can boldly and authentically approach the throne of grace. Slow down, draw near, and experience the joy that is available to all who put their trust in Him. 


Respond 

The connection between joy and God’s presence is a theme found throughout Scripture. Sometimes our desire to seek Him first, doesn’t align with the reality of how we spend our time. Is there anything that is getting in the way of you seeking God first? How is joy on display in your life right now?


Rest 

God I thank you for the joy your presence brings. Help me to not let my circumstances or feelings get in the way of seeking you first. May the joy of the Lord be experienced by all who come in contact with me. In Jesus name. Amen.



About the Author 


Aisha Cox is a Speaker, Leader, and Mentor. She has made a commitment to trust where God leads her no matter how uncomfortable, inconvenient, or fearful it may be. Aisha is passionate about helping people grow in their relationship with God and develop rhythms to care well for their souls. She is also the founder of Authentically Arise which creates authentic spaces for women to arise into their God-given identity, purpose, and build community along the journey. She currently resides in San Antonio, Texas.

Instagram: @_aishacox @authenticallyarise 

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I think I have been letting my circumstances and feelings get in the way of my experience of joy. Thank you for this challenge!

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