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Lesson 11. Longing for God in Zion
Zion’s Longing for God: A Lesson in Spiritual Depth
The longing for God and the pursuit of His presence are central themes in the Scriptures of the Bible. In Lesson 11, we will delve into the concept of Zion as a place of encounter with God and fulfillment of spiritual yearnings. Zion, a literal location in Jerusalem, serves in the Bible as a symbol of God’s presence, unity, and security for His people.
In this lesson, we will explore the various aspects of Zion, starting from its significance in the Old Testament to its relevance for the Church and believers today. We will examine how Zion functions as a place of worship, protection, and mission, and how these principles are applicable to our daily lives and faith.
By studying Psalm 87, Psalm 46, and Psalm 125, we will delve deeper into the meaning of Zion and understand how, as believers, we can satisfy our longing for God by relying on His presence and protection. Furthermore, we will investigate how these principles shape the mission of the Church in the world and how we, as believers, are called to proclaim the Gospel and make disciples.
By engaging with Zion as a place of longing for God, we will be encouraged to dive deeper into our relationship with Him and fulfill our mission as believers in the world. Let us together immerse ourselves in the longing for God in Zion and discover the significance of this concept for our lives and faith.

11.1 A Day in Your Courts Is Better Than a Thousand Elsewhere
The Longing for God’s Presence: A Look at Psalm 84
Read Psalm 84:1–4. Why does the psalmist long to dwell in the sanctuary?
The psalmist in Psalm 84 expresses a deep longing to dwell in the sanctuary. This longing arises from the experience that a single day in God’s presence is superior to a thousand elsewhere. This superiority lies not only in the external conditions of the sanctuary but above all in the immediate proximity to God Himself.
In the sanctuary, the living presence of God is experienced, enabling a unique experience of closeness and intimacy. Here, worshippers can experience the kindness of the Lord and be satisfied in His house. The presence of God in the sanctuary fulfills the longing for genuine relationship and gives a foretaste of eternal life.
Therefore, the psalmist longs to dwell in the sanctuary to be near God forever. This longing transcends material needs and aims for a deep, spiritual connection with the Creator. In the sanctuary, worshippers find not only comfort and strength but also a reminder of the hope for the coming kingdom of God.
Read Psalm 84:6–13. Who else can be blessed by the sanctuary?
The blessings of the sanctuary extend beyond those who serve directly in the sanctuary and even reach the pilgrims journeying toward it. Psalm 84:6–13 describes how the expectation of encountering God in the sanctuary strengthens the faith of pilgrims and empowers them as they approach the sanctuary.
Furthermore, the psalm shows that even after pilgrims have left the sanctuary, they continue to carry God’s blessing. Their lives are shaped by the experience in the sanctuary, and they live in accordance with the values and principles of God. These “pilgrims of faith” bear the stamp of God’s sanctuary in their lives, no matter where they are.
The final verses of the psalm make it clear that God’s blessing is not limited to specific places but extends to the ends of the earth. Even outside the sanctuary, those who remain in faith with God can experience His grace and blessing. This shows that the connection with God is not limited by spatial boundaries but by faith and devotion to Him. Thus, all who remain in faith can receive the rays of divine grace and blessing, no matter where they are.
Read Revelation 21:3. What hope reflected in the earthly sanctuary is revealed to us here? How can we even begin to imagine what this experience will be like?
Revelation 21:3 reveals a hope that is reflected in the earthly sanctuary but goes beyond it. It says: “And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.'”
This passage describes the realization of eternal communion between God and humanity. While the earthly sanctuary was a place where believers could seek God’s presence, Revelation 21:3 promises a complete merging of heaven and earth, where God Himself will dwell among humanity. It will be a time when God will be fully present among us, where we will be His people, and He will be our God. This experience will fulfill all the longings and hopes that resonated in the earthly sanctuary.
It is difficult for us to imagine what this experience will be like, as it surpasses the limits of our human imagination. It will be a time when we will see God face to face, without the barriers and limitations of the earthly world. It will be a time of perfect communion, joy, and fulfillment, where all tears will be wiped away, and all pains relieved. Although we can only begin to imagine how this experience will be, Revelation 21:3 gives us hope and encouragement to work towards this future and to place our trust in God, who has promised to be with us for all eternity.
The connection between our everyday lives and faith, as described in the passages, lies in the longing for God’s presence and the hope of fulfilling this longing.
In daily life, we can long for a deep connection with God, for an experience of His presence and guidance in our lives. This longing can motivate us to deepen our spiritual practice and seek ways to encounter God in our daily lives, whether through prayer, meditation, reading the Bible, or through serving others.
The experience of God’s presence in the sanctuary, as described in the Psalm, can also inspire us to intensify our relationship with God. We can long to feel God’s presence not only in specific places or at specific times but in every moment of our lives.
Furthermore, the promise from Revelation that God’s presence is not limited to specific places but that He will be with us wherever we are can comfort and encourage us, even in difficult times. Overall, the connection between our everyday lives and faith shows us that our longing for God and the fulfillment of this longing are closely linked. By longing to draw closer to God and relying on His promises, we can lead a life filled with His presence and blessing.
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