Longing for God
1 For the director of music. According to gittith. Of the Sons of Korah. A psalm.
How lovely is your dwelling-place, O LORD Almighty! 2 My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the LORD; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. 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, O LORD Almighty, my King and my God. 4 Blessed are those who dwell in your house; they are ever praising you. Selah 5 Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage. 6 As they pass through the Valley of Baca, 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.
8 Hear my prayer, O LORD God Almighty; listen to me, O God of Jacob. Selah 9 Look upon our shield, O God; look with favour 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. 11 For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favour and honour; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.
12 O LORD Almighty, blessed is the man who trusts in you.
Psalm 84 – Longing for God
(Verses 1-7) The sons of Korah are from the tribe of Levi. They are Kohathites who look after the gates and music in the Temple. Their heart and their work are in the worship of God in the Temple, referred to as a tabernacle or ‘tent’ here to signify God’s presence. A Christian does not base worship on a building, but on the Lord who has become his Saviour and is worthy of his praise and worship. But the obvious keen and enthusiastic way that these Temple servants want to worship God is a great example to us today. We should worship God in the fellowship of a Bible-believing church, with others who have turned from their sin to trust the Lord Jesus Christ as their Saviour. The ‘LORD of hosts’ is our Almighty Saviour God, worshipped by the Heavenly host of angels. The sons of Korah’s desire to worship God is expressed in phrases like ‘longs for’, ‘faints for’, and ‘cry out for the living God.’ God is very much ‘living’ in the Trinity of God the Father, God the Son—crucified to bear our sins and judgment but risen from the dead—and God the Holy Spirit, who gives spiritual life. The writer envies a swallow which can nest near the altar. You can only worship God as ‘my King and my God’ when you trust and know that Jesus is your personal Saviour. Then you can praise Him during each day, wherever you are. When you do that and rely on God’s strength to live a different life than you could as a non-Christian, you are on a blessed and daily spiritual ‘pilgrimage’ to honour God and see others trust Him. When you travel through life’s dry valleys of tears (‘Baca’ means ‘weeping’) God helps you to drink from His provision of the Holy Spirit in your life. He will help and strengthen you as you keep on trusting and praising Him. Each Lord’s Day try to do that with others.
(Verses 8-9) The psalmist asks God to hear his prayer and listen to Him. God always hears and listens to us when we pray with a sincere heart in the name of Jesus. He asks God to favour his ‘shield’ (the king) who is God’s ‘anointed one.’ Jesus is our King, but we also should pray for those who are in authority over us. The Bible asks us to pray for ‘kings and all those in authority’. (1 Timothy 2:2).
(Verses 10-12) One day praising the Lord is far better than a thousand days spent with ‘the wicked’ in other ways. ‘For the LORD God is a sun and shield’. The sun brings light and life. A shield protects. God brings you light, life and protection. He favours those trusting Him. He refuses ‘no good thing’, if you walk blamelessly with Him each day. That is why we can say, ‘blessed is the man who trusts in [Him]’. Do you?