Let’s look at Psalm 84 together.
I think we live in a day, time, and country, where the ability to go to church and freely worship has been grossly taken for granted. I think that this pandemic has really brought that to light.
Statistics show us that people think that they are faithful members of a church if they go to church to worship once per month. Hopefully this pandemic has surfaced a desire in all of our hearts to regularly gather together to worship as brothers and sisters in christ.
This psalm is what is known as a “pilgrimage psalm.” Often, the nation of Israel would sing psalms on journeys as ways to worship together on their way to whatever destination it was that they were traveling to.
This psalm was probably written as a pilgrimage psalm as the nation of Israel journeyed to the temple of God in Zion to celebrate the “festival of tabernacles.” The temple was the place where God’s presence dwelt, and where the Israelites would make sacrifices for sin, thanksgiving, praise, and burn incense for prayer. The festival of tabernacles, as I noted yesterday, was a celebration of God’s presence dwelling with them as they wandered through the desert for 40 years under God’s protection.
So the people had to travel, sometimes for days, weeks, and months to get to worship in the presence of God. So, they would sing on their journeys together.
Look at the text starting in verses 1-2, “How lovely is your dwelling place, O lord of hosts! My soul longs, yes faints for the courts of the Lord; My heart and my flesh sing for joy to the living God.” Look at the desire of the psalmists motivation for the presence go the Living God….Just to be where He dwells, he says he Longs for, and his should faints to be in the presence of God.”
Jump down to verse 10 and the psalmist says “For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a door keeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness.”
You can almost feel the heart of the psalmist jumping off of the these pages and the longing of his heart to be in the presence of God to worship Him. He literally says one day in your house is better than one thousand anywhere else.
Could you image if Christians today had such passion and zeal to be in God’s house. What if we said “no” to extracurricular activities for our kids on Sundays, or working overtime on Sundays, or sleeping in on Sundays because we are tired; all because we just can’t help but to be in God’s house to worship Him with our brothers and sisters! To sing praises to God, to sit under the preaching of His word! O that we would be a church with this kind of passion and zeal to be in the house of God for worship!
Now, on this side of Christ, for those who have placed their faith in Jesus, God’s presence dwells within us! By God’s grace we don’t have to travel to a temple to be in the presence of God. We can experience the presence of God by getting in His word, and we can speak directly to God through prayer every single day. Yet, we still don’t even take the time to do these things! Even though we have the presence of God that dwells within us, God’s Word still tells us to gather together for worship to build one another up and encourage each other in our walk with him. I pray that this time would again, stir up our desires for these things!
My prayer is that, we as a church, would take this time to really reflect on our hearts and see how much we desire to be in the presence of God! Are you using this time to dive deeper into God’s word? To spend more time in the presence of God? Look at verses 11-12: “For the Lord God is a sun and a shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly. O lord of hosts, blessed is the one who trusts you.”
Look at this promise. God does not withhold good things from those who walk uprightly and trust in the Lord. The Lord promises to bless those who trust in Him and walk in obedience to Him! Trust and obedience to God stems from a deep love for God and desire for Him! Take some time today, reflect on the reality that you can stop what you are doing, and sit in the presence of God and worship Him for that!