Sunday 27 October 2013

Bible Book:

“Happy are those who live in your house, ever singing your praise.” (v. 4)

Psalm 84 Sunday 27 October 2013


At the heart of Psalm 84 is a deep and fervently expressedlonging for the presence of God, and a trust and hope in divineprotection. A passion in the heart of the psalmist for the"dwelling place" (v. 1) of the Lord causes the joyous exclamation"How lovely!". In reflecting on the temple as the place of God'ssymbolic presence, together with "the courts", where theworshippers and pilgrims assembled and spent their days (verse 2)the psalmist physically aches for the experience of God's presence,longing and even fainting with desire.

Reflecting on the temple courts, the psalmist pictures thesparrow and the swallow (verse 3) that make their nests in thetemple eaves. The thought of these humble birds in such a gloriousplace is overwhelming and leads the psalmist to express awe in theform of a blessing (verse 4). Since birds are greatly privileged tolive in and around the temple of the Lord Almighty, how much moreblessed are all those who serve in God's presence there. The templeis symbolic of God's presence, but that presence is never to beconfined there. In absence from the temple precincts, the presenceof God may be experienced (verses 5-7).

The psalmist now turns to the Lord in a prayer for the king whois the anointed shield and protector of God's people (verse 9). Thepsalmist prays that the divine king may extend mercy and protectionto the earthly ruler who, too, is dependent on the Lord's blessing.There is the possibility that some kind of national tragedy mayhave occasioned this psalm, which has affected both people andking. The psalmist addresses God emphatically as "O Lord God ofhosts" and closes the invocation with a reference to "O God ofJacob" (v. 8). Yahweh is the glorious king who has self-identifiedwith Jacob, ie with the descendants of Israel.

The psalmist contrasts, in verse 10, "the tents of wickedness"with the blessedness of the godly in God's courts. The reason forthis blessedness lies in God's protection, rewards, and blessing tothose who are wise, "those who walk is uprightly"(v. 11). As God'sblessing was not limited to the temple courts, the blessing onthose who dwell in the house of the Lord may well be extended toall who do the will of God. They dwell in the Lord's presence,wherever they may live.

In the beginning of the psalm, the psalmist expressed a deepdesire for fellowship with the Lord Almighty (verses 1-2). Thepsalm ends with a encouragement to everybody whatever their statusor dwelling place, to seek and to put their trust in the firmfoundation of God. Here happiness and fulfilment is to be found,"trust for our trembling and hope for our fear" (O worship the Lordin the beauty of holiness, Singing the Faith 34).

To Ponder

  • Do you have a deep longing for the presence of God? How is thisexpressed in your life?
  • For the psalmist, the temple is symbolic of God's presence. Arethere particular places for you that have been symbolic of anexperience of a strong sense of God at a time in your life? Whereare they? And what is your experience of God there?

Previous Page Saturday 09 November 2013
Next Page Monday 28 October 2013