Time and again the Psalms show that the sanctuary plays a significant part in the relationship between believers and God.
Well known is the firm conviction David expressed at the end of Psalm 23 that he “will dwell in the house of the Lord forever” (vs. 6, NKJV). David’s foremost wish in Psalm 27 was to be in the presence of Yahweh, a presence which was best experienced in the sanctuary. In order to show how much he cherished the sanctuary, David used the full range of expressions to refer to it, calling it the house of the Lord, temple, tabernacle, and tent. It is there that one can meditate and “behold the beauty of the Lord” (Ps. 27:4, NKJV).
The activities of God in the sanctuary illustrate some crucial points: He keeps the worshiper safe and hides him in His sanctuary, even in tough times (Ps. 27:5). God provides secure refuge and assures peace of mind for all who come into His presence. These expressions connect the beauty of God to what He does for His people. In addition, the sanctuary service with its symbolic significance shows the goodness and justice of God.
Read Psalm 73:1–17. Which insights did Asaph get after entering the sanctuary?
In Psalm 73, Asaph addressed the problem of suffering. He could not understand the apparent success of the wicked (vss. 4-12) while the faithful were afflicted. He himself almost slipped (vss. 1-3), but going into the sanctuary made the difference for him (vss. 13-17). There Asaph could see the same power and glory of God that David mentions in Psalm 63:2 and recognize that the present conditions will one day change and justice will be done. He could reflect anew on the truth and receive reaffirmation that in the end the wicked are on slippery ground (Ps. 73:18–20) and the faithful are secure (vss. 21-28). For those who seek God, the sanctuary becomes a place of confidence, a stronghold of life, where God will set them “high upon a rock” (Ps. 27:5, NKJV). From the truth that the sanctuary service teaches, we can indeed learn to trust in the goodness and the justice of God.