I will allow no sleep to my eyes
or slumber to my eyelids,
till I find a place for the LORD,
a dwelling for the Mighty One of Jacob. — Psalm 132:4–5
Today it’s very easy to find Jerusalem. You have a choice of maps, and with Internet technology, you can even get a street-level view with the push of a button. In contrast, when the Jews lived in the land of Israel a few millennia ago, finding Jerusalem wasn’t so simple. Not just because they lacked technology, but because they lacked even the most basic help. There were no signs leading to Jerusalem and this was deliberate. It was part of God’s plan that finding one’s way to Jerusalem would take time and effort.
Similarly, the Bible never explicitly revealed the place where God’s Temple would be built. In the book of Deuteronomy we read, “ . . . you are to seek the place the LORD your God will choose . . . to put his Name there for his dwelling” (12:5). God chose a place where He would reside, but we would have to seek it out.
King David was the one who found God’s place. The Jewish sages teach that when David discovered the site designated for God’s Temple, he penned Psalm 132. In it, he wrote: “LORD, remember David and all his self-denial. He swore an oath to the LORD . . . I will allow no sleep to my eyes or slumber to my eyelids, till I find a place for the LORD” (vv. 1–5). David worked tirelessly day and night and could find no rest for himself until he uncovered the site of God’s dwelling place. Only then could David rest peacefully in his own home.
We can’t help but wonder why God made it so hard to find His dwelling place. Why did David have to work so hard? Why didn’t the Bible explicitly say where the Holy Temple should be built? Why, once the Temple was built, were there no signs to it or to Jerusalem? Surely God wants us to find Him, so why does He make it so difficult?
A person can be given a lot of things in life, but we can never be given God. A person has to work at receiving God. Every individual needs to seek God if he or she wishes to find Him. This is why God makes us work to find His home address – in order to teach us that we will always have to invest time and energy into the relationship. No one can give us God; we have to discover Him on our own through our own work and persistence.
Today, we no longer have to work to find Jerusalem, but we still have to work at our relationship with God. Prayer, Bible study, helping others, asking questions and seeking answers are all great ways to build our relationship with God. Let us consider how we will seek God out today.
With prayers for shalom, peace,
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein
Founder and President