I was working through the bible chronologically. In I Chronicles 26 the chronological bible takes a pause to include all of the Psalms of the Sons of Korah, as they were one of two families assigned as gatekeepers to the temple. There were several Sons of Korah psalms from "Book II" of the Psalms and remaining are three more from "Book III" of the Psalms. The first of these is Psalm 84.
Psalm 84 (NIV Chronological Bible)
- For the Director of Music
- According to gittith ("probably a musical term")
- Of the Sons of Korah
- A psalm
What a beautiful psalm. No wonder it has inspired powerful songs in our generation.
The writer is praising the house of the Lord. It sound like the author means both God;s Temple, but also the Lord Himself and our dwelling place.
- verse 1- how lovely it is
- verse 2- I yearn, and even faint for your courts
- verse 2 also- my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.
The author seems to be overcome in his relationship with the Lord. he seems to have recognized the deep need we all have. the "God-shaped hole" we all have and try to fill.
If it seems this man is exaggerating or if it seems odd to be this consumed with God, picture how other people try to fill their deep needs. We've seen several documentaries about people and their hobbies and passions. It can be something big like car restoration or small like a specific movie that moved someone so much they have a cult-like following around it. We've seen runners training for endurance races that will eventually lead to early hip and knee replacements. Olympians that forgo their entire childhood for the chance to compete in the games for two weeks.
These people have their heart and flesh crying out, they just misidentified the cure. We've seen so many young girls actually faint at concerts. Young people will change their whole lifestyle and make permanent choices about their future because they are overcome by some passion, which is actually just pursuing getting their needs met.
But the author of this psalm gets it.
He points out that there is provision at the altar of the Lord, just as seen by the bird in his example. The humans that dwell in your house are blessed.
Heaven, heaven, heaven, heaven is now. We dwell at Christ's right hand, if we are saved by grace through faith. We are dwelling in His house and blessed. Provision is at His altar.
Starting in verse 5 the author speaks about those who are blessed whose heart is set on pilgrimage. If I understand correctly, the gatekeepers or the Sons of Korah were also guides who showed the way to Jerusalem. So we've seen this theme of pilgrimage in a few of these Sons of Korah psalms. But it make a great metaphor for our time here on earth waiting for the fullness of time, "...til each appears before God in Zion." (v. 7)
In verses 8-9 it turns personal. The author addresses God directly and asks for God to listen and hear his prayers, as well as asking God to look upon them with favor.
Verse 10 is the chorus of a popular modern worship song: "Better is one day in Your courts than a thousand elsewhere." and "I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked."
Then the author gives excellent reasons this is so:
- The Lord God is sun and shield (v. 11)
- The Lord bestows favor and honor (v. 11)
- No good thing does He withhold from those who walk blameless (v. 11)
Lord Almighty, blessed is the one who trust in You.Psalm 84:12
What a powerful promise. Trusting in the Living God, the Lord God Almighty leaves us blessed.
I know as my trust and love for the Lord have grown, my fear has decreased and my life is all around so much better this way.
Psalm 84 (NASB Ryrie Study Bible)
The Ryrie footnote describes the entire psalm as a pilgrimage psalm, so not just the middle part, but the whole thing is the journey. Which makes sense. He's longing for on his way there.
The NASB, in verse 2 says that "My heart and my flesh sing for joy to the living God." I like that even better than "cries out".
Maybe just because I'm reading it again, but in this version, I can see more of the journey. It's not always great. Sometimes it's bitter and painful; but when your strength comes from the Lord and your destination is Zion to be with the Lord- He sees you through to joy.
What an absolutely beautiful psalm to praise our Lord.
Psalm 84 (Wiersbe Commentary)
Wiersbe writes that verse 7 shows this to be a psalm who could NOT make the pilgrimage to Jerusalem for one of the three big feasts; but who still could abide with the living God.
I love the spirit of this author. So amazed by God, His strength, grace, provision, and just His being God Almighty. The author longed to even be near Him. I pray I would grow into this kind of all-consuming love for the Lord and His will. Amen.