God Is Our Dwelling Place

Mike Johnson

It is thought Psalm 90 was written by Moses during the later part of the time the children of Israel wondered in the wilderness. In this Psalm, Moses concluded by appealing to God for compassion and mercy asking very humbly for God’s help. He contrasted God’s eternal nature and His great power with man’s mortality and weakness. Moses started out this Psalm by saying, “Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations.” God was not only Moses’ dwelling place as the text says he was the dwelling place for all generations, so his statement would apply to the righteous since the beginning of time.

In what sense is God our dwelling place? The psalmist is obviously not speaking literally, but he is saying God is like a person’s physical home. We are normally most comfortable at home— not the home of another person but our own home. Our homes are typically places of safety, rest, and security. But, thieves can break into our homes; houses can be destroyed by fire and by the elements of nature; in time, wood can decay and bricks can crumble. In contrast, the home which God supplies for us is far superior as it cannot be destroyed. So God is our safe retreat.

Consider various individuals who certainly benefited from God being their “dwelling place.” Moses spent forty years in the wilderness traveling from place to place trying to lead a group of slaves who did not always want or appreciate his leadership. Numbers 33 lists forty-two places where the children of Israel camped under the leadership of Moses. Consider also Abraham who lived a nomadic life. His wife, Sarah, died in Hebron. At this point, he referred to himself as a foreigner and a visitor (Gen. 23) and finally bought some land as a burial place. Note also the apostle Paul who said he “had no certain dwelling place” (NKJV “homeless”) as he faced the daily perils of preaching the gospel (I Cor. 4:11). God certainly provided a stable “dwelling place” for each of these.

In John 15, Jesus spoke of the importance of us abiding in Him and of Him abiding in us. He compared this relationship to the need for a branch to abide in the vine in order to be fruitful. In verse 4 he said, “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.” He further pointed out those who do not abide in Him are cast out as an unfruitful branch and cast into a fire (v. 6); those who abide in Him and His Words will have their prayers answered (v. 7); if they keep His commandments, we will abide in His love (vs. 9-10).
I John shows a connection between God abiding in us and us abiding in Him. This relationship can exist if we: openly confess Jesus (4:15), abide in love (4:16), possess the Spirit of God (4:13), and if we keep His commandments (3:24).

Note some other passages which speak of God as our refuge. In Psalm 91 the psalmist pointed out that God is our refuge and fortress. He reveals when we trust in God, there is no need to fear, no matter what happens. Why? He says (v. 9), “Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge, Even the Most High, your dwelling place.” Jesus said in John 14:23, “…If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.” Note the encouragement given to Abraham in Genesis 15:1 which says, “After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, saying, “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.”
As faithful Christians, there is assurance in knowing that God is our dwelling place. Whether we live in the same house for fifty years or move every year, whether we live in a tent as did Abraham and Moses, God is our dwelling place!

Do you have the comfort and security of having God as your dwelling place?