>Lovely Dwelling Place, Psalm 84

>To borrow a quotation from a well-known poem and place it totally out of context, “breathes there a man with soul so dead, who never to himself has” experienced, when reading Psalm 84, a hymn of praise raise within his heart?

Psalm 84 sings in my mind more than any other in the Psalter. Of course, there are familiar tunes associated with its words, but it’s the words that make it sing.

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 (1,2).

Can’t you feel the music swell as you read those words? And the soulful song reflects the psalmist’s (and our) longing, to the point of fainting, for the dwelling place of the living God.

Even the sparrow finds a home,
and the swallow a nest for herself,
where she may lay her young,
at your altars, O LORD of hosts,
my King and my God.
Blessed are those who dwell in your house,
ever singing your praise! (3,4)

God’s eye is on the sparrow; not one falls to the ground apart from the will of our Heavenly Father (Matthew 10:29). Even this lowly bird finds a home and the swallow finds a nest. And we are of more value than many sparrows (Matthew 10:31). This imagery of the mother bird finding shelter for her young ones resonates with any mother.

And the shelter found is at the altars of the “LORD of hosts,” the Almighty King and ruler over all creation, who is also a personal God. No wonder the psalmist exclaims, “Blessed are those who dwell in your house, ever singing your praise!”

We are blessed not only because we dwell in God’s house, but also because our strength is in Him and He leads us through all the trials of this life toward our heavenly home.

Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
in whose heart are the highways to Zion.
As they go through the Valley of Baca
they make it a place of springs;
the early rain also covers it with pools.
They go from strength to strength;
each one appears before God in Zion (6,7).

The highways to heaven are in our hearts. If we hold fast to that truth, we will be able to dig for springs while traversing life’s arid valleys. God will bless us with early rain and tranquil pools. As we walk before God’s face, we go from strength to strength.

I don’t know about you, but it’s easy for me to view life as going from trial to trial, from weakness to weakness. But God is always with us. By His strength, He equips us to continue our forward progression from one area of strength to the next area of strength.

O LORD God of hosts, hear my prayer;
give ear, O God of Jacob!
Behold our shield, O God;
look on the face of your anointed! (8,9)

Christ is God’s anointed and believers bear His image as prophets, priests, and kings. Because of Christ’s completed work, God does hear our prayers. Christ is our shield against all the accusations of the evil one.

The psalm concludes with a confession and a benediction. The believer confesses that one day in God’s dwelling place is better than a thousand days wandering in the world’s halls. The Christian prefers serving as a lowly doorkeeper in God’s eternal edifice over reveling in evil’s transitory tents.

For a day in your courts is better
than a thousand elsewhere.
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
than dwell in the tents of wickedness.
For the LORD God is a sun and 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 in you! (10-12)

God is our sun and shield; He illuminates our path and protects from danger. He alone grants genuine favor and lasting honor; our puny efforts or human connections cannot secure any enduring benefit.

The believer is blessed abundantly. God will not withhold any good thing from those who walk uprightly before His face (coram deo). Blessed is the one who trusts in this almighty LORD of hosts, who shelters us in His lovely and eternal dwelling place!


4 thoughts on “>Lovely Dwelling Place, Psalm 84

  1. >As someone who can identify with the sentiment: "it's easy for me to view life as going from trial to trial, from weakness to weakness," I found this very encouraging, Glenda. Thank you for posting these thoughts on Psalm 84!

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