July 19, 2023

A Heart Set on Pilgrimage

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. 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! Selah 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. O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer; give ear, O God of Jacob! Selah Behold our shield, O God; look on the face of your anointed! 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! (ESV)


Maddy Brown

Student Ministry Worship Pastor

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Psalm 84. It reads like a breath of fresh air on a brisk fall morning. Refreshing enough to revive and awaken the sleeper yet cool and crisp enough to convict your comfort. This particular Psalm was written by The Sons of Korah, a group of brothers who were deeply formed by their father’s failure to see God. Korah led a rebellion of leaders against Moses during his time in the wilderness. God judged Korah and his leaders, resulting in the death of all two hundred and fifty men, but the sons remained. Perhaps the Psalms they author are simply a response to the mercy of God on their lives, making them notable in Israel for Praising Him.

Let’s read verses one and two again. “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.”

The object of the psalmist's longing is none other than “The Living God”. When this author describes the House of God, he sees it in its best sense, the place to meet with God himself. He loves the house of God because He loves the God of the house. While reading these verses I’m reminded of the honor it is to weekly meet with the church. We get to dwell with the most high in sacred assembly! I also feel challenged to consistently recenter my perspective on our position as members of the church. Like The Sons of Korah, we must come to the house seeing it for what it is. Instead of making the primary focus of our attendance, social connection, entertainment, self-improvement, nicely written notes, and coffee bar conversation (while all good things), the primary focus of coming to the house of God is to have the expectation of meeting with God.

Spurgeon puts it like this: “There was no superstition in this love. He loved the house of God because he loved the God of the house. His heart and flesh cried out, not for the altar and the candlestick, but for his God.” The longing for God's house is not meant as an escape from the world but as preparation for life in it.

After describing his deep love for time in the temple, the psalmist illustrates his time away from this one location, yet the motive of his heart goes unchanged. “Blessed are those whose strength is in you, in whose heart are the highways to Zion.” Whether he is located in the temple surrounded by believers or somewhere else, his heart is set on pilgrimage. For all of us, the call to journey to God's Physical house is the same call to journey into God's presence. If we purpose our hearts to be like a highway to Zion, we spend the time that fills the calendar between Sundays in the same manner. Seeking The face of the anointed one and expecting to meet with Him.

"Not merely to be in the assembly, but to appear before God was the object of each devout Israelite. Would to God it was the sincere desire of all who these days mingle in our religious gatherings. Unless we realize the presence of God we have done nothing; the mere gathering together is nothing worth.”

In Psalm 84 I’ve found encouragement for every day of the week! I’m reminded of the sweetness I’ve found in the house of God and the strength that has carried me when my physical location is not so. As well as the unseen moments in unseen spaces where He met me just the same. As you read Psalm 84, I challenge you to think about the ways you can be consistently seeking His face and cultivating a rich relationship with The Lord. One that brings adoration to the temple and carries home a continuous attitude of reverence and praise so that it may overflow into the world around you.

· 3 min read
A Call to Repentance

3 Then Samuel said to all the people of Israel, “If you want to return to the Lord with all your hearts, get rid of your foreign gods and your images of Ashtoreth. Turn your hearts to the Lord and obey him alone; then he will rescue you from the Philistines.” 4 So the Israelites got rid of their images of Baal and Ashtoreth and worshiped only the Lord.
I Samuel 7

Casey Bush
Creative Director
· 7 min read
Going Back in Order to Go Forward

4 So Joseph said to his brothers, “Come near to me, please.” And they came near. And he said, “I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. 5 And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life. 6 For the famine has been in the land these two years, and there are yet five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvest. 7 And God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors. 8 So it was not you who sent me here, but God. He has made me a father to Pharaoh and lord of all his house and ruler over all the land of Egypt.
GENESIS 45:4-8

Jackson Wilson
Executive Students Ministry Pastor