Psalm 84 (New International Version)
For the director of music. According to gittith. Of the Sons of Korah. A psalm.
Spurgeon called Psalm 84 “The Pearl of the Psalms.”
1 How lovely is your dwelling place,
2 My soul yearns, even faints,
for the courts of the LORD;
my heart and my flesh cry out
for the living God.
“Crieth aloud, as a child when hungry crieth every whit of him, hands feet, face, all cry; and then the mother flings by all, then she flies and outruns herself; so here.”
3 Even the sparrow has found a home,
and the swallow a nest for herself,
where she may have her young—
a place near your altar,
LORD Almighty, my King and my God.
Think of the sparrow as a picture of small significance and the swallow a picture of restlessness. The insignificant can find their place in the House of God, and the restless can find their rest (nest) there – near God’s altar.
4 Blessed are those who dwell in your house;
they are ever praising you.
HERE is Brahms’ “How Lovely Is Your Dwelling Place” (Wie lieblich sind deine Wohnungen) from Ein deutsches Requiem, op. 45, performed by the Holden Consort Orchestra and Choir. Take your time to listen and watch — breathe deeply.
5 Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.
From all the corners of the earth, from all the nations of the world, we come as pilgrims to Jerusalem.
6 As they pass through the Valley of Baka,
they make it a place of springs;
the autumn rains also cover it with pools.
7 They go from strength to strength,
till each appears before God in Zion.
Usually when travelling we go from strength to weakness. But not so for those whose strength comes from God! Their strength grows greater!
8 Hear my prayer, LORD God Almighty;
listen to me, God of Jacob.
9 Look on our shield, O God;
look with favor on your anointed one.
10 Better is one day in your courts
than a thousand elsewhere;
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
than dwell in the tents of the wicked.
“To bear burdens and open doors for the Lord is more honour than to reign among the wicked. Every man has his choice, and this is ours. God’s worst is better than the devil’s best.”
–Charles Haddon Spurgeon
11 For the LORD God is a sun and shield;
the LORD bestows favor and honor;
no good thing does he withhold
from those whose walk is blameless.
from This Day with the Master,
by Dennis F. Kinlaw
TO BE IN HIS PRESENCE
Meeting God profoundly affects our confidence and our expectations. When we find him, it is always a shock to realize how much he cares about us. Instead of confronting a vindictive judge who waits for a chance to deal with us about our shortcomings, we find a God of grace who looks for the chance to forgive our sins, establish us in his favor, and pour on us his blessings. To our surprise, we learn that he will withhold nothing good from those who walk in sincerity and uprightness before him. He is the source of all good, and his will toward us is loving concern. He is our sun who gives us light and our shield who surrounds us with protection.
The most important consequence of meeting God is what it does to our sense of priorities. We come to realize that we need him more than anything else. In fact, we need him even more than we need his gifts. It is for God himself that our soul cries out. The association with God will leave in us the hallowing impact of place and people and seasons, but our hearts will hunger for his presence. He is the source of all good, but he is better than all good. There is no justification needed for our searching for him. Although some do not know it, to be near God is the deepest desire of every human heart.
12 LORD Almighty,
blessed is the one who trusts in you.
HERE is “Better is one day in your courts,” by Matt Redman. Hard not to sing along!