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.