As a child, I loved church so much that my girlfriends and I would play church. In the church of my formative years, we attended church Sunday morning, evening and Wednesday nights. I loved singing and learning God’s word. The scriptures I learned as a child, I still know today. We used to have sword drills, where we would race to find the verse in our Bible. I was a star at this game. One of the songs we sang is We’ve a Story To Tell To The Nations.
How lovely are Your dwelling places, O Lord of Hosts! My soul longed and even yearned for the courts of the Lord; My heart and my flesh sing for joy to the living God. The bird also has found a house, And the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, Even Your altars, O Lord of hosts, My King and my God. How blessed are those who dwell in Your house! They are ever praising you. Psalm 84: 1-4
This Psalm expressed the expectation of worship, the expedition to worship and the elation of worshipping God. The temple was a place where the saints in the Old Testament came in the presence of God.
Beloved, do you long to be in the house of the Lord? This Psalm was written by the sons of Korah and they were the descendants of Levi, they were the gatekeepers and musicians of the temple. They declare the blessings of those who dwell in or near the temple. See this in verse 4, they are ever praising you.
In verse 5, how blessed is the woman whose strength is in You, in whose hearts are the highways to Zion. There is one more verse with blessed in it and we find it in verse 12, how blessed is the woman who trusts in you. Beloved, is your strength in the Lord? What ways are you trusting in the Lord? If the blessing is in the trusting, should we not be trusting God with the intimate details of our lives?
Baca in verse 6 was an arid dry valley on the way to Jerusalem. According to Dr. John McArthur, “Baca” could be translated as weeping or balsam tree, the reference to “they make it spring”, meant the joy of the travelers going to Jerusalem to worship the Lord. In the next verse, from strength to strength, Dr. McArthur says that this showed anticipation of joyous worship in Jerusalem which enables them to make this journey and to overcome their weariness in traveling to Zion. Consider the verse Psalm 87:2, “The Lord loves the gates of Zion more than all the other dwelling places of Jacob.” Zion reflects the love God has for the city of Jerusalem and is a poetic description used by the Psalmist writers. God loved Jerusalem for his worship center. Beloved, where is your worship center? This was a place for the Old Testament saints to worship God. How thankful are you that we have local churches and do not have to trek through an arid valley to go to church? Yet some of us forsake the gathering in the church. I know I am guilty of not being as faithful as I once visited the church at least weekly. Beloved, how often are you worshipping with other fellow believers?
O Lord God of Host, hear my prayer is how verse 8 is written. I often write my prayers and starting with praise sets the tone. Give ear, O God of Jacob….Selah means to pause and think on this. What if we just sit in the presence of our Lord, our God of Hosts, our God of Jacob. What if our time in church is filled with nothing but praise of our Almighty Lord and Savior. Dr. McArthur explains verse 9, “Behold our shield, O God” is referring to the King who would have attended the festival and worshipped God with the people, the verse is asking God for favor for the King blessing his reign. Beloved, are you praying for the leaders of our nation?
Lastly, two of my favorite verses is verse 10 and 11, “For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand outside. I would rather stand at the threshold of the house of my God
Than dwell in the tents of wickedness.
For the LORD God is a sun and shield;
The LORD gives grace and glory;
No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.
What does it mean to walk uprightly? In Revelations, we are told not to forsake the gathering of believers, so going to church is important. The sons of Korah again praise God, the Lord God is a sun and shield, so our praying is an important part of walking with God. Reading God’s word and memorizing His word is part of my daily routine. Beloved, how is your time is God’s word?
This Psalm ends with a praise and declaration, ‘O LORD of hosts,
How blessed is the man who trusts in You!
I have loved Jesus since I accepted him at age 11 and playing church is a fond memory. When I became an adult, I learned what God’s love really means. Beloved, do you trust God? with your finances, your marriage, your adult child. You can trust God with the most intimate details of your life. In addition to writing, I journal my prayers and scripture. This helps build my trust in God. There are scripture writing plans and I also record verses on index cards to memorize. Going to church builds your trust in God.
Father God, this Psalm is rich because spending the day with you is much better than spending it with my harsh thoughts. One day with you is better than being alone. I love you Lord and I pray for the one reading this that she also discovers that being in your presence is sweeter than honey. For those of us that have found it easier to stay at home than to go to church, may we venture out into the cold and seek fellowship at a local church. For a woman who can’t go to church, may she find Dr. David Jeremiah on television or another good preacher to listen and learn? Please forgive us where we fail you and fill us with the Holy Spirit, make reading your word and praying so important to us each and every day. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Beloved, how do you respond to this post today? What is God asking you to do? Are you encouraged? I hope so.
You are loved with an everlasting love. 1 John 3: 1-2, ‘See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason, the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.” Jeremiah 31:3, “The LORD appeared to him from afar, saying, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness.”