ODJ: Nesting Near the Altar

January 27, 2017 

READ: Psalm 84:1-12 

The swallow builds her nest and raises her young . . . near your altar (v.3).

A mother bird began a construction project on top of an outdoor light near our garage. During the building process, she dropped bits of debris everywhere. She also dive-bombed our children as they played in the driveway. When we realized she would need to find another place to live, my husband gently moved her nest into the grass. She tried to rebuild twice in the same spot before finally relocating. Despite the bird’s tenacity, she was no match for a couple who didn’t want to share an address!

A psalmist described a similar situation with a more satisfying ending—at least for the bird. He said, “The swallow builds her nest and raises her young at a place near your altar, O Lord of Heaven’s Armies” (84:3). This poetic picture of a bird building a home near God’s holy place reminds me that He allows fragile beings to get close to Him (v.2).

The Bible says that human life is as delicate as grass and as transient as passing shadows (102:11). Although we’re mortal, frail creatures, God doesn’t find us annoying or tiresome. He doesn’t roll His eyes and sigh at the thought of us. He wants us to come close and relate with Him (84:11; James 4:8). We know this because He created us in a way that allows our spirits to communicate directly with Him (1 Corinthians 2:10-12). He receives our praise and responds to our prayers. He hears the songs we sing. The closer we approach Him, the better He likes it.

While God’s holiness and power are overwhelming, we don’t have to fear His anger or vengeance if we’ve received salvation in Jesus. “Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can . . . come boldly and confidently into God’s presence” (Ephesians 3:12).

—Jennifer Benson Schuldt

365-day plan: Genesis 43:1-34

Meditate on God’s presence and protection as presented in Psalm 91. 
What can be learned about God’s character from the way He interacts with you? What things keep you from deepening your relationship with Him?