A Reflection on Psalm 84

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These words of comfort and hope were written by one of our overseas workers:

A REFLECTION ON PSALM 84

How lovely is your dwelling place, O LORD of hosts!

My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the LORD;

My heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God. 

Psalm 84:1-2

Believers have always found hope in looking upward to the throne of God.

This psalm called its original audience to find joy in worshipping at the temple in Jerusalem.  As pilgrims journeyed from the lowlands up to the heights of the temple mount, they were encouraged to sing and shout for joy because they were going up to the very house of God, the physical place of His presence on earth.  

The worshippers set their eyes on the temple, knowing that when they came to it, they would find a resting place with God.  Even the birds had nests in His courts (and of how much more value were they than a sparrow? v. 3-4).  The path toward Jerusalem was rocky, dusty, and uphill; yet along the way, the people “made it a place of springs.”  Even when they passed through dry, difficult places, they found joy in remembering where those hard places led—to the very dwelling place of God.  And so, they rejoiced—He would be their strength as they went (v. 5-7).  The psalmist extoled God and proclaimed that all who trusted the Lord would find Him to be a sun and a shield in the midst of their trials (v. 9-12).

In Christ, we have come to know that the temple was a copy of truer things to come.  The temple reminded God’s people of His promise that a day was coming when the law would be written on our hearts and when the Spirit would not only be in the temple but in us, enabling us to walk on pathways of righteousness (Ezekiel 36:26-27).

Even now, this psalm drives our eyes upward toward the throne room of God and the promise of a heavenly home in His presence.  Jesus, through His death for our sins, His resurrection from the dead, and the gift of His righteousness when we had none, has gone ahead to prepare a dwelling place for us.  Know then the surety of this promise: 

“Let not your hearts be troubled.  Believe in God; believe also in me.  In my Father’s house are many rooms.  If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also” (John 14:1-3).  

We trust that as we go toward that true and abiding home, always keeping our eyes on the gospel that saved us and sanctifies us, we will “go from strength to strength” (v. 7) Even the dry places of our lives will become like a place of springs in His presence, until the day we appear before Him in glory.  And, like the pilgrims who journeyed toward the old temple, all who put their faith in Jesus still find that the promises of His Word are a strong shield as they go through this life.

We have hope in heaven, and so we do not lose heart.  “Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.  For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison” (2 Cor. 4:16-17).  

Each of us will die one day, and it can be hard to face up to that truth.  But as believers, this life is not all we have.  We are journeying toward a greater reality than we have yet seen and toward a deeper joy in the presence of Christ—free from sin, death, and sorrow—than we have ever known.  The day is coming when we will truly abide in the courts of the Lord.

Brother sisters join this song
As we journey home;
Brother sisters join this song
As we journey home.

Hold my hand and walk with me
Till my pilgrim days are done.
And there I’ll find this jubilee
Until my chains you’ll see undone.

(Pilgrim Days,Will Reagan)

One Comment on “A Reflection on Psalm 84”

  1. Amen! Thanks for your encouragement to take our eyes off our TVs, computers, and smartphones during this quarantine and look towards the throne of God.

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