What a contrast!
Wilcock speaks of our previous Psalm 83 as “this little-read psalm”, but today we move to Psalm 84, where he says it is as “well known and well loved as any psalm in the Psalter.” (# 5). Spurgeon (1834-1892) is much more expressive as he writes, “This sacred ode is one of the choicest of the collection; it has a mild radiance about it, entitling it to be called The Pearl of Psalms. [He continues] If the twenty-third be the most popular, the one-hundred -and-third the most joyful, the one-hundred-and-nineteenth the most deeply experiential, the fifty-first the most plaintive, this is one of the most sweet of the Psalms of Peace” (# 28)
So, lets treat this “pearl” as it deserves as we read and meditate on yet another one designated as, Of the Sons of Korah. A psalm.
1 How lovely is your dwelling place,
2 My soul yearns, even faints,
for the courts of the Lord;
my heart and my flesh cry out
for the living God.
One can’t help but sense that we are standing on “holy ground” as we enter into the heart of this author. A heart that cries out for intimacy with the living God. It brings to mind the twin Psalms 42 and 43, as we read there this same deep desire for fellowship with God. He says:
As the deer pants for streams of water,
so my soul pants for you, my God.
2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. (Psalm 42:1-2)
Send me your light and your faithful care,
let them lead me;
let them bring me to your holy mountain,
to the place where you dwell.
4 Then I will go to the altar of God,
to God, my joy and my delight. (Psalm 43:3-4)
I wonder when it was that you and I sensed that passion, that desire, that urgency, that hunger and thirst to be in God’s presence?
In fact, so deep was his heartfelt desire for God’s presence in his life that the psalmist expresses his feeling of envy for the birds, as he puts it:
3 Even the sparrow has found a home,
and the swallow a nest for herself,
where she may have her young—
a place near your altar,
Lord Almighty, my King and my God.
4 Blessed are those who dwell in your house;
they are ever praising you.
“The psalmist is in love not so much with the beloved house of God, as with God himself; and dare we say it, there is something he loves even more than that. For what does he envy the sparrow and the swallow? For their habitual closeness to the alter of sacrifice. His heart is set not simply on the living God, but on the loving God, the one who has provided the way to forgiveness, and renewal by the shedding of blood.” (# 5)
Remembering that ultimately, on the cross, God through Jesus “provided the way to forgiveness and renewal by the shedding of blood.” So, let me finish this with the words of Jesus:
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled. (Matthew 5:6)
Father, give us the same heart as the psalmist in seeking you, but we know that ultimately “no one comes to the Father except through” Jesus, who is “the way, the truth and the life.” (John 14:6) Amen.