Those first dates I had come up with on the spur of the moment turned out to be impeccable timing. September 25th – November 6th, 2012 … I had just pulled the dates out of thin air in the pressure of the moment, basing it on my thirty-seventh birthday. It was only later that I realized that the evening of September 25th, the night we were scheduled to begin our worship in David’s Tent, was the beginning of the Day of Atonement, or Yom Kippur, on the Jewish Calendar. Yom Kippur typically begins at sundown, and we had planned to start that night at 7 p.m. A day earlier, there in D.C., the sun would have set at 7:01. A day later, it would have been 6:58. But that night, it set at exactly 7 p.m., the very minute we had set months earlier to begin the worship song. We had not done that on purpose. It was another wink from Heaven. In ancient Israel, Yom Kippur was the one day each year when the High Priest was permitted to enter the Most Holy Place, behind the Veil in the Tabernacle, and make intercessory atonement for all of Israel. The nation would wait in fasting and holy convocation, with bated breath, for word from the High Priest that this atonement had been deemed enough for that year’s sins. We now know that Jesus is our High Priest, and we found it totally fitting to have begun on that day, pleading and celebrating His atoning blood over the sins of America. Yom Kippur is followed, five days later, by the Feast of Tabernacles, a week-long celebration that even whole nations will be compelled to observe in the future (Zechariah 14). Historically, this “Feast of Ingathering” was also a time of pilgrimage, when Israelite families left their own dwellings to camp out with God in their capital city. This was so important to the Lord that He warned, in Zechariah 14:17, that He would hold back rain from any family that did not make the pilgrimage. As I studied this feast and the sobering reality of Zechariah 14, God solidified the vision for David’s Tent even more strongly in my heart. We had to do this, and representatives of every state, all fifty, had to be there. I began to pray that God would compel many to make the pilgrimage to our nation’s capital, just as the ancient Israelites had done to theirs.
Due to its proximity to the White House, the U.S. Secret Service has very stiff regulations for use of the Ellipse. Since the members of the Secret Service are tasked with security for the President and his family, they are expected to maintain a safe perimeter around the White House. That includes the Ellipse. Because it was the President’s Park, the NPS guidelines were much more strict than usual. We would have to clear everything we did through the regulations of both the Secret Service and the Park Service. As I stacked these on top of each other, moving ahead with our plans seemed like a daunting task. Rev. Mahoney turned out to be correct. The National Park Service had never issued a permit for more than fourteen days of activity on the National Mall. Including setup and tear-down, we were shooting for forty-five days, and the staff of the Park Service did not think it could be done. How could we honor all of their regulations over such a long period? They began trying to convince us not to go through with our plans, and in the process, they were throwing every fastball they could muster at us, hoping that we would change our minds. I left that first meeting with the Park Service thinking to myself, “‘David’s Fallen Tent!’ I’ve heard this phrase somewhere before.” And that first rocky meeting was to be only the beginning of a constant back-and-forth between us over the next four months. The overwhelming feeling we took away from those meetings was one of severe intimidation. It was as if they were saying, “How dare you try to do this!” I began to question the whole thing. In one early meeting, the Park Service tried to push us to another location on the Mall. The person who had initially offered us the use of the Ellipse instead of McPherson Square was clearly not the person overseeing events on the Ellipse. I wavered, but, in the end, I did not give in. As I reviewed the story of David bringing the Ark into Jerusalem, one part stuck out to me. When he came leading the procession that day, bringing the Ark home to rest, his wife Michal was looking down on this celebration from the palace windows, and she criticized David’s worship. This let us know that the Ark was within sight of the palace, and God used it to confirm to me that line-of-sight to the White House was important. The proximity of the Ellipse to the White House mattered, so we held the line and kept battling our way through the mine fields of Federal regulations. I strengthened my resolve by declaring among friends: “If all we can get is a stool set in the middle of that Ellipse, and we take turns sitting on it for forty days singing to Jesus, I’m going to do it because He’s worthy!” Sharla Mylar, one of our team members, has a personal song that she wrote that says, “A living God deserves living sacrifices. A living God deserves living memorials.” We were ready to ride that stool all the way to glory. The practical challenges were piled ever higher before us. For example, we had to supply our own electricity for the tent, yet we could not refuel a generator on-site. Evidently the Secret Service is a bit jumpy about large trucks of diesel fuel (or even small containers of it) being that close to the White House. And the Park Service will not risk petroleum spills on National Park land. Another challenge was turf protection. The Park Service would require us to obtain a specific type of protective flooring to cover the grass before the tent rental company, or anyone else, could drive onto the Ellipse. All of these requirements were expensive, but we knew they were not impossible. Then there was “the access list.” To pass the Secret Service checkpoint and gain access to the Ellipse, all drivers would have to submit two weeks in advance their names and the license plate number of the vehicle they would be driving, so that proper background checks could be completed. With the plan calling for several subcontracting companies to be working for us and multiple vehicles a week needing access, this would be, once again, not totally impossible, but definitely challenging. I was thinking to myself, “Fourteen days advance notice to drive onto the Ellipse for drop-off and set-up? That’s ridiculous!” I appreciated the faith of Sharla, with her Joshua and Caleb perspective. She took notes in the meetings we had with the NPS staff, and wrote: Only fourteen days advance notice required for drivers.” Somehow she was able to see right through the smoke screen of intimidation. We were moving ahead by faith. One week before the event was to start, volunteers began to arrive from around the country, but we still did not have the final permit. I was facing one of the greatest embarrassments of my life, about to have to tell everybody that our permit process had been denied. Our staff had booked worship teams from all over the nation, and those teams had already purchased plane tickets and made travel and housing arrangements. In those final days, the words, “David’s fallen tent,” began to haunt me. The remaining obstacles to obtaining the final permit still had to be resolved, and they were rather large hurdles. The National Park Service was requiring us to move the tent — which was no small task — every fourteen days, to preserve the grass. That meant a full workday two weeks in and another one four weeks in. So much for the continuous song in the tent! But we could still do the stool. Even more challenging was the fact that the Park Service was refusing to turn off their sprinkler system, so lawn irrigation heads would pop up in the middle of the tent each night and give everybody and everything around them a good soaking. We half-jokingly discussed organizing a “sprinkler defense team” armed with plastic buckets and tarps. Then came the worst blow of all. Just seven days before the worship event was scheduled to start, the Park Service informed me that a “60/40 Rule” required that only 40% of our event could be music. The rest had to be speeches, to qualify it as a First- Amendment Demonstration. This seemed like the straw that would break the camel’s back. I thought, “What? How is it that we’ve been discussing this event for four months now and never once was this rule mentioned?” David’s Tent was to be all music — 100%. That was the point of a 24/7 ministry to the Lord. I nearly lost my lunch when I hung up the phone from that conversation. “60/40?” There was no way! That would defeat the purpose of the event! A Park Service employee explained to me the genesis of their 60/40 Rule. Years ago, the alternative rock group “The Cranberries” had obtained a permit for an event on the National Mall. They drew a huge crowd for what turned out to be some amazing photo opportunities in front of the Capitol Building. It was P.R. genius, but the Park Service was left paying for the security and trash pick-up. The Cranberries had used the permitting process to get a free venue for a concert under the guise of a First Amendment Demonstration, and the Park Service then made their 60/40 Rule to protect against future abuses. I was led to contact an attorney with the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), and this attorney examined the official National Park Service regulations and found that the 60/40 Rule did not appear in them anywhere. The rule had never been codified in any way. I called the Park Service back, but no one answered. I left a message that I would be bringing legal counsel with me to our next meeting, two days later. I was playing hardball now for the right to worship Jesus 24/7 on public space. As it turned out, the ACLJ representative didn’t make it to that next meeting, due to some last-minute scheduling conflicts, but God did. During the two days leading up to the meeting, I fasted and prayed, not sleeping much. Many others were in constant prayer with me. God bless my wonderful bride Kimberlee, who was able to maintain a sense of home in what had become a prayer war zone. I wish I could say that I breezed through all of that without a bit of anxiety, but I can’t. I was plagued with questions: “Did I actually hear You, God? Is this You? Or is this just my big idea?” DAVID’S FALLEN TENT … the words were like a jackhammer in my mind now. I went into that next meeting loaded for bear, with my cell phone ready to call the attorney from the ACLJ if I needed him. After all, we were a mere four days away from setting up the tent. Amazingly, there was no further argument. It turned out to be the greatest about-face ever. The Park Service gave us everything we wanted. They told us to disregard anything they had said about the 60/40 Rule, they would turn off the sprinklers and we would not need to move the tent every fourteen days. “Pick up your permit tomorrow,” they said. I walked out of that meeting on air. God had moved on the hearts of those in authority. He had honored our obedience to the 1 Timothy 2:2 command to pray for “all who are in authority” (NKJV). David’s Tent on the White House Ellipse was now a reality. God had moved again. It is God Himself who rebuilds the fallen tent of David. That is for sure! The National Park Service is part of the Department of the Interior, which is part of the Executive Branch of government. This Executive Branch is obviously under the authority of the President. To be given permission, ultimately, by authority of the President, to do all of this was highly significant. It is worth noting that our President is ultimately accountable to the American people and to the authority of the U.S. Constitution. Not only did we get permission to set up the tent; I also learned, through the process that we actually have the legal right to do that. So, come on, Church of America, let’s set up Jesus tents everywhere. Let’s come out of our cozy church buildings and begin to worship Him in public squares anywhere and everywhere. Let’s share the Good News. It’s all totally legal, and you are not doing anything wrong. Actually, it would probably be wrong not to do it. Respectfully follow the proper procedures and obtain the necessary permits, but by all means, go for it! God is with you, and the U.S. Constitution protects you.
I’m convinced that sometimes God leaves obstacles in our way on purpose. If He removed them all ahead of us and we always had free sailing, it would be easy to think that we could do things without Him. When we get to the end of our rope, time and time again and God comes through with another miracle, it’s a constant reminder that it’s His work, not ours. This keeps us humble, knowing how much we need Him. I began to cast the vision of David’s Tent among friends, local pastors and, of course, with my own staff at Washington House of Prayer and Youth With A Mission DC. We have a great team at Washington House of Prayer and YWAM DC, and most of them fully embraced the vision right from the start. There was such an immediate excitement in the air that many caught the vision before I had even fully explained it. With others, however, I got mixed responses. The whole idea seemed pretty far-fetched to some, a bridge too long to cross. “Where are we going to get all the worship teams?” some wondered. “Where would we find enough staff?” Forty days is a really long time to do continuous worship outdoors under a tent. And what about funding? We began to pray for laborers and to use the phrase “David’s Rent for David’s Tent” as we stood before our Father in Heaven, asking Him to provide all the needed finances. One day I was on Capitol Hill meeting with Pastor Frazier White of Faith Tabernacle Church. This church is strategically located one block away from the Supreme Court and three blocks from the U.S. Capitol Building. I had just shared the vision with him and was about to ask if his building could possibly serve as a back-up venue in case of bad weather like a hurricane. 6 Just as I finished sharing about David’s Tent DC with Pastor White that day, his worship pastor, Michael Fisher, came into the office. I had never met him before. Knowing nothing of our conversation or of David’s Tent, Michael shared a dream that he had received from the Lord just a couple of weeks earlier. “I dreamed of an oval altar. People were coming by the thousands, and God began to dwell there, because the people began to give their hearts to Him. They began to worship and repent. In that posture of heart, the manifest Presence of the Lord began to dwell there. When I finally woke up, God said that He is coming to this area.” Pastor White and I were both amazed. An oval altar … That was the Ellipse. We both got it, and that day we coined a new phrase: “The Oval Altar by the Oval Office.” As you know, ellipse means “oval,” just as triangle means “a three-sided shape.” Michael’s dream was a golden confirmation for me. I could not deny that this whole vision was from the Lord. Or could I? The National Park Service having approved our application was only a first step. Countless other details would have to be discussed and approved before we would actually receive the final permit, and this would require many meetings with the officials of the National Park Service. Our first meeting turned into a disaster. We suddenly learned why the Ellipse was open for those forty days: No one else wanted to deal with all the regulations governing doing an event there. “Mr. Hershey,” an NPS representative now told us, “if you can do an event on the White House Ellipse, you can do an event anywhere in D.C. The Ellipse is the hardest place to do an event.” That statement was designed to frighten us. But one of our staff members turned it into a statement of faith: “We will be able to do an event anywhere in D.C.!”
I would never base the foundation of this powerful move on this one thought, but on the lighter side, I was also pondering, “How can I vote for Jesus?” Maybe you’ve seen signs that say: “JESUS FOR PRESIDENT” and chuckled a bit, but the psalmist declared: Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel. Psalm 22:3, NKJV Let’s get our praise on and vote for Jesus. Our President gets sworn in based on our votes, but Jesus is enthroned by our praises. Hallelujah! In February of 2012, I was still brooding on this vision, so much so that when our third son was born that month, we named him Anthem. An anthem is a song that carries identity with it. The anthem of a revival, school, sports team or nation is the song that encapsulates the identity of that movement or people. I began to see, in faith, a song that would shift the identity of our nation to be centered around Jesus. I went to a friend of mine here in D.C., Rev. Patrick Mahoney of the Christian Defense Coalition, for advice. He had organized many events here and had often worked with the National Park Service (which administers much of the public space in the Capital City). I approached him now with my many questions: Where could we do something like this? How did we get the needed permits? Was it even possible? Rev. Mahoney had never heard of a fortyday permit being granted to anyone for an activity on the National Mall, and if anyone was an expert on what was possible, he was it. Pushing the limits is Rev. Mahoney’s M.O., and activism is his specialty. He is a friend, and his experience was incredibly helpful. He told me frankly that he thought it was impossible to get a permit for that length of time anywhere on the National Mall area. Personally he had never heard of a permit being granted for more than fourteen days of activity. We discussed the possibility of seeking McPherson Square as an alternative location. McPherson is a local park a couple of blocks from the White House, but not within view of it. Rev. Mahoney thought that getting a forty-day permit for McPherson Square might be more within the realm of possibility. Occupy DC, the D.C. manifestation of the Occupy Wall Street movement, had set up camp in McPherson Square for months that previous fall. “If they did it,” he reasoned, “then so can we.” Because Rev. Mahoney had developed a great relationship with the National Park Service, he offered to go on my behalf and see if McPherson Square was a possibility. Our understanding was that he would wait a couple of weeks before going. I was on another forty-day fast and wanted to finish it before he went. I don’t know if Rev. Mahoney forgot our agreement or just couldn’t wait that long. If you know him, you know that he salivates at wild visions. I was about on day thirty of the fast when I got a rather frantic phone call from him. The Bible, from time to time, uses the phrase “and suddenly,” when God did something amazing and life-changing. I had no idea that I was about to be interrupted with an “and-suddenly” moment. Rev. Mahoney had gone to the National Park Service office and asked for permit information for the use of McPherson Square. The ranger in charge went into another room to check for availability, and then came what I call “the miracle moment.” “Rev. Mahoney,” she called out to him, “The Ellipse 5 is open!” And with those words, I believe that God shouted a call of invitation to the people of America. For those who are not familiar with the Ellipse, it is an oval-shaped park within view of our President’s bedroom window. It lies smack dab between the White House and the Washington Monument. It was no wonder that Rev. Mahoney phoned me rather frantically. He was even then filling out the permit application, and I hadn’t given him any dates. “Jason, what are the dates?” he asked. I wasn’t prepared for this. After all, it was ten days earlier than I had anticipated, and I hadn’t finished my fast. I once heard an old adage, “God’s never early, but He’s always on time.” I’m sure you’ve heard that too. It’s a nice saying, but what happens when He actually is early and you’re not prepared? When I had talked with Rev. Mahoney about seeking a permit, we had considered it to be an impossibility, or at least a long shot, something like a football Hail Mary pass to the end zone. I wasn’t at all sure it could even happen. Now, with Rev. Mahoney suddenly on the other end of the line, filling out the paperwork at the National Park Service office and needing a date, I did some quick math in my head. “There are thirty-one days in October,” I thought. “Election Day is November 6th. That would be thirty-seven days.” To be honest, with the pressure of Rev. Mahoney on the other end of the line, filling out the permit application at the NPS Office, I stopped counting and just pulled my birthday — September 25 — out of thin air. Surely that would give us enough time. “September 25th through November 6th!” I barked back over the phone, acting like I had known the dates all along. I knew David was thirty-seven years old when he brought the Ark into Jerusalem, and on September 25, 2012, I was going to turn thirty-seven, so it felt right. Rev. Mahoney filled out the application, and two days later it was approved. It was more than we had asked for, but not more than we had dreamed. I must confess that, in our unbelief, we had joked about the Ellipse during the conversation in which we had settled on asking for McPherson Square. “Wouldn’t that be crazy?” I had said, “Right off President Obama’s back porch!” Well, the “crazy” had actually happened. We had gone to the authorities, asking for a permit for McPherson Square and come back with one for the White House Ellipse instead, and we hadn’t even asked for that. This miracle moment had the fingerprints of the Lord all over it. This was truly a work of God. I firmly believe that, with the act of giving us the White House Ellipse as a venue, God was calling to America, “I desire to be central again!” He is calling, and I hope we are listening. He was raising up David’s fallen tent, and I was humbled to have a front-row seat.
It is said that the sons of Issachar were “men who understood the times and knew what Israel should do” (1 Chronicles 12:32, NIV). I would never proclaim myself to be one of them, but, like you, I certainly aspire to be like them. I guess if we all were a bit more spiritually tuned in, perhaps our nation would be swinging more quickly toward reformation. Although many of our churches and ministries are flourishing, somehow our cities and nation are still quite broken. Washington, D.C. has experienced some very encouraging growth in spiritual maturity, as well as in church attendance in recent years, and yet our crime rate is staggering. This reality of brokenness haunts me. Even in the midst of seeming revival movements, we have not yet achieved true societal transformation. As an intercessor, this keeps humbling me and keeps me crying out to the Lord in desperation. Let us not get puffed up with pride when our church, business, ministry or movement is expanding and is seemingly successful. Instead, let us ask: “How is my city doing as a whole? And what about my nation?” Let this become our measuring stick. It was the fall of 2011, and I was still in Washington, D.C., with a calling to be an intercessor for America. I was on an extended fast that had been ordained by the Lord. Part of my spiritual desperation was that the next election year, 2012, was just around the corner. Presidential election years create conversations about the direction of our country like nothing else can. In prayer, I began to seek the Lord: “How do I make intercession for America? How can I pray and intercede so that we will turn to Jesus and make Him central in our lives?” My heart yearned stronger than ever for America to turn back to Jesus. During that time I was led to another question: “When Israel was at her best, what were the people doing?” All of Israel’s history before David was leading up to the time when they would be in their Promised Land and God’s presence would be where He desired — in Jerusalem. The fulfillment of that dream only lasted during the reign of David. By the end of the life of his son Solomon, there was already a prophecy foretelling the kingdom being split. And Israel has never been the same since. Was it a mere coincidence that the centerpiece of David’s administration was a continuous 24/7/365 worship tent that employed 4,000 musicians and 288 singers? The Lord began to impress upon my heart to gather the nation to do the same in our capital city. “Do like David. Call the nation to gather in the Capital to worship.” I began to dream of our nation gathering in Washington, D.C. just to worship — for no other reason than because Jesus is worthy of our praise. I knew that this could only be done under the umbrella of unity, where all Christian denominations could participate, and this convinced me that we could not host such an event in any church building in the city or even the House of Prayer that I had, by then, pioneered. We would have to meet on neutral ground. As I meditated on this, my heart settled on a tent to be erected outdoors, just like David had done. In time, a vision began to take shape: • David’s Tent in Washington, D.C., outdoors, on neutral ground. • A gathering of 24/7 worship and praise, as ministry unto the Lord. • To be conducted in our Capital City for forty days leading up to Election Day 2012. Why forty days? The worship around the Ark in King David’s tent in Jerusalem had gone on twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, three hundred and sixty-five days a year, so I knew that this could not be just a one-day affair. It had to be longer. For whatever reason, forty days, in the Bible, seemed to be the length of time involved when the Lord wanted to do something serious, dramatic or drastic. For forty days and nights it rained during Noah’s flood. Goliath taunted Israel for forty days until young David stepped up to the challenge. Even Jesus started His ministry with a forty-day fast. Believing that this event was to be one of His serious, dramatic or drastic moves, I sensed that it needed to last for forty days. What did I mean by serious, dramatic or drastic? The Google Online Dictionary defines drastic as “likely to have a strong or far-reaching effect; radical and extreme.” Yes, that was exactly what we needed. So we would do nothing but praise God for forty days. This would be a fast from our selfishness and unbelief. It would be a joyful expression of His Lordship and our faith in the assurance of His deliverance as we celebrated His rule. During those days we would abstain from gazing on the things of this world (including the latest news headlines), and, instead, fix our eyes on Jesus. We and He would become like two lovers, gazing at each other.
In 2008 I headed to the polls to vote in the presidential election. I was living then in the Inner City of D.C. in a completely African-American neighborhood. I think our community house held the only Caucasians in the precinct. That year the African- American demographic came out in force for our current President. I’m not going to discuss the politics, but there was a great moment that happened as I was leaving the polls. An elderly African-American woman gave me one of the deepest, now-you-listen-to-me-son looks as I was coming out the door and asked sternly, “You made the right choice, right?” For a split second, I didn’t know how to reply. What if I hadn’t made the choice she thought was right? Then grace came down, and I replied simply, “Don’t we all, ma’am? Don’t we all make the right choice?” She smiled at my smart-aleck answer, and I kept walking to my car. Have you ever wondered why God chose David to be the next king after Saul? David didn’t have his Political Science degree. He hadn’t made his mark in business and hadn’t yet served in the military. And it was later that he would serve in the king’s court as a musician. He was still a mere boy, a shepherd, and yet God, through Samuel, anointed him to be the next king. Some might say that David must have exhibited good leadership skills as a shepherd, but I don’t buy that at all. You can’t tell me that a young boy had been tested enough to know for sure that he would be a good leader. The man who knew young David best, his own father, Jesse, didn’t even bring him up for consideration when Samuel asked to see his sons. After King Saul fell into rebellion, God sent Samuel to anoint the next king. With the ache of time setting in, do you think God might have been looking for someone who had the conviction and the nerve to make God’s dwelling the centerpiece of his administration? As God looked for a new leader, His eyes settled on a young boy whose heart was fully devoted to Him. David had a harp in his hand and a heart full of love for the Lord. And God voted for this psalmist David to be the next king and sent Samuel with a horn of oil to anoint him. There was much that David could not have yet understood, but he must have at least understood the value of God and loving Him with all his heart. Samuel lifted up the horn of oil and anointed the boy. God had found His man, and, of course, David delivered — big time. After defeating Goliath and doing lots of other warfare, David became King of Israel at the age of thirty, and he ruled for seven years from Hebron. Then David finally found the place God was looking for. According to 2 Samuel 5, the new king conquered the land of the Jebusites and became the founding father of the City of Jerusalem. He moved there and made Jerusalem the governmental capital of Israel for the first time. David then went to the house of Abinadab in Kiriath-Jearim and got the Ark of the Presence of the Lord and proceeded to triumphantly bring it into Jerusalem. I can imagine that the hosts of angels must have been going wild about then, as history was being made. David’s first attempt, however, ended in bitter failure. The Ark began to slip, as it was being carried on an ox cart (which was a violation of the Mosaic Law). A man named Uzzah put out his hand to steady the cart (another violation of the Law), and God struck him dead on the spot. David was understandably taken aback by this, and so he pushed the pause button. I’m guessing that those hosts of angels all sat back in disappointment at that moment, like the home crowd at a hockey game when their team misses an “empty netter.” So close and yet so far away! David now handed the Ark over to a man named Obed-Edom and watched as Obed-Edom’s household received nothing but blessing for the next three months. This caused the king’s heart to be stirred again, and he decided to give it another shot. If the Ark had brought such favor over one man’s house, might not a whole nation be blessed if it was brought into its rightful place? But David wasn’t going to make the same mistakes again. After three months passed, he made absolutely sure everything was done according to God’s protocol. This time, he was careful not to put the Ark on something man-made like an ox cart. Instead, he placed it on the backs of men, priests. There is a great lesson to be learned from this: God desires to dwell in men, not in things made by men. David followed the instructions of the Law to the letter, having priests transport the Ark on poles. And then, with many sacrifices and much dancing, he finally brought God home, into Jerusalem, into the capital city. After five generations, God had found His resting place. I can only imagine the heavenly celebration and the great exhalation of relief. That exhaled breath of Heaven made the next thirty-three years of Israel’s history “The Golden Years.” To this day, the reign of David remains the high-water mark of Israel’s existence as a nation. In spite of a couple of seasons of brokenness, due to David’s moral failures, God just seemed to breathe His favor over everything about the nation. The Ark’s transition, from Obed-Edom’s house to the capital city, carried its blessing from one household to an entire nation. David’s crowning achievement (pun intended) was that he had made the Presence of the Lord the central, primary issue of his life, even when he was a shepherd boy. Later, this same virtue manifested on behalf of his nation through his administration as king. But it wasn’t enough just to bring the Ark to Jerusalem; David’s devotion was deeper than that. David put the Ark under a tent beside his palace in the capital city, and he commissioned a grand total of 4,000 musicians and 288 singers to continuously — day and night — minister to the Lord. Even when he sent armies out to war, the king kept this band of worshippers in place back home, their sole duty to minister to God. Their song of love never stopped. David made God central in every way. His Tent, or, as it is often called, the Tabernacle of David, was the precursor to Solomon’s Temple. Can you imagine what it would have been like to be hired by the king to minister to the Lord? Your full-time job every day would have been to show up at the tent and sing songs of thanksgiving and adoration, “to invoke, to thank, and to praise the Lord” (1 Chronicles 16:4). Oh, glory to God, I want that job! How do I apply? I want to worship every moment of my life, so that, in eternity, I will already have an experienced résumé. The priests who served in David’s Tabernacle were assigned their time slots by casting lots. Let’s just roleplay this a little. You are chosen to be one of those occupational worshippers. You’ve made it! Then you roll the dice, draw the straw, consult the urim and thummim and bam! You’re on night-watch! Hallelujah! David commissioned this 24/7/365/33 worship tent with the clear instructions of 1 Chronicles 16:8-36
8 “Oh, give thanks to the Lord!
Call upon His name;
Make known His deeds among the peoples!
9 Sing to Him, sing psalms to Him;
Talk of all His wondrous works!
10 Glory in His holy name;
Let the hearts of those rejoice who seek the Lord!
11 Seek the Lord and His strength;
Seek His face evermore!
12 Remember His marvelous works which He has done,
His wonders, and the judgments of His mouth,
13 O seed of Israel His servant,
You children of Jacob, His chosen ones!
14 He is the Lord our God;
His judgments are in all the earth.
15 Remember His covenant forever,
The word which He commanded, for a thousand generations,
16 The covenant which He made with Abraham,
And His oath to Isaac,
17 And confirmed it to Jacob for a statute,
To Israel for an everlasting covenant,
18 Saying, “To you I will give the land of Canaan
As the allotment of your inheritance,”
19 When you were few in number,
Indeed very few, and strangers in it.
20 When they went from one nation to another,
And from one kingdom to another people,
21 He permitted no man to do them wrong;
Yes, He rebuked kings for their sakes,
22 Saying, “Do not touch My anointed ones,
And do My prophets no harm.”
23 Sing to the Lord, all the earth;
Proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day.
24 Declare His glory among the nations,
His wonders among all peoples.
25 For the Lord is great and greatly to be praised;
He is also to be feared above all gods.
26 For all the gods of the peoples are idols,
But the Lord made the heavens.
27 Honor and majesty are before Him;
Strength and gladness are in His place.
28 Give to the Lord, O families of the peoples,
Give to the Lord glory and strength.
29 Give to the Lord the glory due His name;
Bring an offering, and come before Him.
Oh, worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness!
30 Tremble before Him, all the earth.
The world also is firmly established,
It shall not be moved.
31 Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad;
And let them say among the nations, “The Lord reigns.”
32 Let the sea roar, and all its fullness;
Let the field rejoice, and all that is in it.
33 Then the trees of the woods shall rejoice before the Lord,
For He is coming to judge the earth.[b]
34 Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever.
35 And say, “Save us, O God of our salvation;
Gather us together, and deliver us from the Gentiles,
To give thanks to Your holy name,
To triumph in Your praise.”
36 Blessed be the Lord God of Israel
From everlasting to everlasting!” 1Chronicles 16:8-36, NKJV
Finally, after generations of waiting, God’s presence was now in the place He had always desired to dwell, in the center of everything, in the place of His choosing. He was not only at the center of King David’s heart; He was also at the center, the governmental seat, of the whole nation. Because Jerusalem was in the inherited land of the tribe of Judah, Nahshon and Salmon’s descendants would have been living there with David. Notice that David did not say, “I like it here in Hebron, so I will bring the Ark to my palace. I will make God central, but I will do it where I want that center to be.” That would have been just like those who say, “Jesus is Lord,” but are really only partially surrendered to Him. No, David made the Lord central at the place the Lord desired to dwell. He uprooted his government and moved his palace to a different city, just to position himself so that he could make God’s dwelling in the place God desired. We can’t make the Lord the center of our lives, our cities, our towns and our nations on our own terms. He must decide the terms; we just follow His lead. Everything in Israel now revolved around God, and He lived in Jerusalem. He was finally home! To this day, the geopolitical landscape of the world revolves around that address and the possession of it. Get ready, people, for Jesus will come back to exercise His dominion again. This time, it will be by our invitation: “Come! Lord Jesus, Come!”
Dear Lord Jesus, we receive the grace of making You central in our lives, communities and nations.