“Neither shall evil dwell with Thee . . . . But as for me, I will come into Thy house in the multitude of Thy mercy.”
Ps. 5:4, 7
The Word of God, Scripture, is absolute, either-or.
This is true, generally. In Scripture we are either in light or in darkness, speak either the truth or the lie, are either in life or in death. The Word of God knows of no compromise, nothing in-between; it is either-or. We are either wise or foolish, haters of God or lovers of Him; we seek either the things that are above or the things that are below. We are saved by grace, never out of works; we love and serve the Lord and hate Mammon and the devil, or we love and serve Mammon and the devil and we hate the Lord. The Word of God, Scripture, is exclusively absolute, never relative.
How true this is, too, in this psalm! Indeed, the Lord is not a God that has pleasure in wickedness, evil shall not dwell with Him. The foolish shall not stand in God’s sight; the Lord hates all workers of iniquity. Indeed, “Thou shalt destroy them that speak leasing: the Lord will abhor the bloody and deceitful man. But (and let us by all means notice this absolute contrast) as for me, I will come into Thy house in the multitude of Thy mercy.” Indeed, the Word of God is absolute, full of contrasts; there is nothing relative, nothing in-between; it is all either-or.
“I will come into Thy house.” Is there anything more wonderful, more glorious, of greater significance for the child of God than this coming into God’s house? The Lord, Who is a light and in Whom is no darkness, is the lo and eternal God, in Himself the All-Sufficient, eternally blessed God, Whom to know is everlasting life. To come into His House, to be inducted into His covenant fellowship, to live and dwell underneath His roof, to walk and to talk with Him, to sing His praises and speak of His wonderful goodness and perfection—all this will satisfy us, forever and completely. And all this becomes increasingly wonderful because, denied sovereignly to others, it is bestowed sovereignly upon me.
The House of the Lord. This house, according to Scripture, must not be identified with anything that is external. The house of Jehovah, as in the old dispensation, did not consist in the outward temple. It is true that that temple, with all that characterized it, was a symbol of this scriptural idea. That everything was underneath one roof, the golden candlestick, the altar of incense, and the ark of the covenant with its mercy seat, was surely a beautiful symbol of the fact that the Lord dwelled with His people. And this temple in the old dispensation was God’s temple, His work. This appears from the oft-repeated refrain in the Old Testament, “as the Lord commanded Moses.” Besides, although this temple must not be identified with the house of the Lord, also in the old dispensation, nevertheless God’s temple, also then, was inseparably connected with it, so that the Lord actually dwelt with His people, had fellowship with them in direct connection with this building on Mount Moriah. However, that we must not identify the house of the Lord with Solomon’s temple on Mt. Moriah is also evident in the words of this text, inasmuch as we read that “evil shall not dwell with Thee.” And we may certainly believe that the people of God in the old dispensation surely understood this truth. They knew that to dwell with the Lord is purely spiritual.
This is applicable to the New Testament reality. The house of God does not consist in church buildings. There are, of course, church buildings. And they are necessary. The idea of God’s house, however, is far deeper and more profound.
The idea of God’s house, never to be understood merely outwardly, is exclusively spiritual. This expression refers to Gods fellowship with His people in His everlasting covenant. To be with the Lord in His house, to dwell with Him, refers to that wonderful communion with the alone blessed God. We must never confuse a being with God with a dwelling with Him. The Lord is everywhere. In that sense all men are with God. In Him all men move, live, and have their being. But to dwell with Him is something so radically different. God’s covenant fellowship, we understand, is not bound to time or place. This fellowship, this dwelling with Jehovah, is a fellowship of love, is the tasting of His faithfulness. It means that we are the object of His favor, that we experience His life, His light and holiness, and taste His wonderful, unfathomable love. Under the preaching of the gospel, in prayer and the reading of the scriptures, in exercising the fellowship of the saints, the child of God dwells with the Lord, experiences His fellowship. Indeed, this we experience in this life only in principle. Here we have only a foretaste of that everlasting Sabbath of our God. Presently this perfect communion will be realized. Heaven is the everlasting and full realization of communion with God. That will be glory indeed.
Now we also understand what the psalmist means when he speaks of coming into God’s house. This, too, is not merely something in the external sense. A black garment, the eye fixed earthward, a long face, a pious talk—these do not lead anyone into the house of God as held before us in this particular word of God. Shall the bride of our Lord Jesus Christ be clothed with a black garment, walk pessimistically and in doubt? This activity of entering into the house of the Lord is exclusively spiritual. To enter into God’s house, into His fellowship, occurs only when sin is confessed and forsaken, when we put off the old man with all his sins, when we approach unto the Lord in faith, seeking and desiring Him and serving Him in spirit and truth. Indeed, it is this to which the psalmist refers in Psalm 42:1-2 “As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after Thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God.” Or, as we read in Psalm 84:10: “I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.” To enter into the house of the Lord, to experience His love and mercy, is more, infinitely more, than all the riches and pleasures of this world.
To enter into the house of the Lord—how impossible this is for the natural man, the man apart from regenerating and saving grace!
The English reads, “Evil shall not dwell with Thee.” The Dutch version reads, “The evil one shall not dwell with Thee.” There is principally no difference between these translations. We prefer the English version. All evil, impurity, hatred, and enmity, seeking of self, etc., shall not dwell with the Lord, can never experience the Lord’s approval and communion. Hence, because of this, the evil one who performs these things shall never dwell with God in His house, experience His fellowship.
He shall not enter into God’s house. Of course he does not will or desire to enter God’s house. Loving and performing evil, he has no desire for the fellowship of the Lord. To praise the Lord, to experience His love and favor, does not interest him. However, I he also may not enter the Lord’s house. To dwell with God is forbidden him. He may not serve and praise Jehovah. This spiritual freedom is denied him. It may not be given him because of God’s justice. He deserves to be banished from God’s presence. To dwell with the Lord is for him an everlasting impossibility. How this is emphasized here in Psalm 5! The Lord hates all the workers of iniquity. The foolish shall not stand in God’s sight. The Lord shall destroy them that speak leasing; He abhors the bloody and deceitful man. And do not say now that the psalmist here is speaking of some special sinners. Fact is, all men have departed from the Lord: This is also emphasized in Romans 3.
That evil and the evil one shall not dwell with the Lord is because he must deal with God. God is absolutely perfect, holy, and righteous, eternally maintaining Himself. God, the alone and thrice Holy One, can exercise fellowship only with those who are like unto Him, who are holy even as He is holy. For the wicked He is a consuming fire.
Indeed, to dwell in the house of the Lord is possible only in the way of the multitude of His mercy. The evil one shall not enter God’s house. But, and this we read emphatically in this text, as for me, I will surely enter.
Only, I will enter God’s house in the multitude of God’s mercy. God’s mercy is a virtue of the Lord’s everlasting love to His own, reveals itself as the Lord’s great desire to save His people out of the great misery of their sin and death. This word emphasizes our misery, all our sin and evil, and the desire of our God to redeem and save His own. This mercy of the Lord, we understand, is not merely an idle wish, but a divine desire that actually redeems and saves.
This mercy of Jehovah is an eternal mercy. The Lord willed a people in Christ Jesus from before the foundations of the world. And in time, in Jesus Christ our Lord, the redemption of God’s people is historically realized. It was Jesus Christ, Immanuel, enabled and strengthened by the mercy of God, Who descended into the bottomless pit of our unfathomable misery, Who paid for all our sins and guilt, Who satisfied all the righteousness of God, through Whose blood the legal basis was laid for our dwelling with the Lord. And it is only out of that Lord Jesus Christ, as the glorified Head of Zion, that this mercy of God is also poured out into us, God’s people, delivering us in principle out of all the evil of our sin, giving us the blessed consciousness of the forgiveness of all our sin.
And what a multitude of mercy! The psalmist speaks of a tremendous mercy, a mercy which is unspeakably rich. Indeed, this is a mercy which wipes out all our guilt, which carried away the infinite wrath of God, which was sufficient to merit everlasting obedience for all the people of God, and that in the heavenly glory of God’s everlasting covenant. Indeed, we may well sing of the everlasting mercies of our God. We can surely understand why the inspired writer of these words in Psalm 5 writes that we enter into the house of our God in the multitude of His mercy.
But then it is also plain how the people of the Lord enter this wonderful house of God. The child of God is no longer evil in principle. We enter only in that principle. Only when we stand in that principle do we experience fellowship with Jehovah. All our. evil has been atoned. In Christ Jesus we have access unto the throne of Gods grace, because of the greatness of the mercy of our God. When we trust in God’s mercy, when all our confidence is in the work of our Lord, then we can and will dwell with our God, now in
We shall enter into God’s house.
Only in and because of the multitude of God’s mercy.
To God alone be all the glory, now and forever.