Scripture reading– Psalm 84-85

Today’s Scripture reading continues in the Book of the Psalms, encompassing Psalm 84 and Psalm 85, but the focus of today’s study will be Psalm 84.

Psalm 84 – The Sanctuary of the LORD

The author of Psalm 84 is uncertain; however, the recipients of the psalm are identified as “the sons of Korah,” who were numbered among the musicians of the Temple. In addition, the title states what is believed to have been an assignment of the musician and the instrument that was to accompany the psalm: “the chief musician upon Gittith” (scholars are unsure if the “Gittith” was a wind or stringed instrument).

The Satisfaction of Those Who Worship the LORD in His Sanctuary (Psalm 84:1-4)

The time or the occasion for the writing is not given; however, judging from the psalm’s content (Psalm 84:1-2), it appears to have been written by a worshipper who longed to be renewed in the worship and sacrifices of the Temple.

As I read the introductory verses of the psalm, they leave me wondering if believers in our day share the psalmist’s passion for worshipping the LORD. Notice the depth of desire in the psalmist’s words: “My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the Lord: My heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God” (Psalm 84:2). The psalmist’s love for the worship place was such that he envied the birds that made their nests in the eaves of the Tabernacle, for they were “blessed [to] dwell in thy house” (Psalm 84:3-4).

The Delight and Strength of Those Who Worship the LORD (Psalm 84:5-7)

Those who sincerely worship the LORD are not only “blessed” (happy), but they are benefactors of His strength (Psalm 84:5). Though they pass “through the valley of Baca” (i.e., lamentations and sorrow), they are strengthened in their journey to Zion and the Temple (Psalm 84:6-7).

The Supplications of Those Who Worship the LORD (Psalm 84:8-9)

The psalmist longed to be near the LORD and in His sanctuary. He yearned for Him to hear his prayers (Psalm 84:8). He called on the LORD to be his “shield” [protector] and to favor him Psalm (84:8-9).

The Significance for Those Who Worship the LORD (Psalm 84:10)

Reflecting on his longing to be in the sanctuary of the LORD, the psalmist considered the blessings of spending even a day in the courts of the Temple to be better than a thousand days outside that sacred place. He stated he would “rather be a doorkeeper [guard] in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness” (Psalm 84:10).

What an admirable statement from a man who loved the LORD! He would rather spend one day in the Temple (that represented God’s presence among His people) than a thousand days pursuing the pleasures the world affords and the wicked seek (Psalm 84:10a). Indeed, he would rather be a guard at the threshold of the Temple than dwell in the palatial tents or company of evil men (Psalm 84:10b).

Why this longing for worshipping in the presence of the LORD? The psalmist believed there was none like the LORD. He is “a Sun and Shield,” and He will not withhold any “good thing…from them that walk uprightly” (Psalm 84:11).

What a blessing to read, “O Lord of hosts, Blessed is the man that trusteth in thee” (Psalm 84:12).

Closing thoughts:

I wonder if the psalmist was traveling from the Temple or was exiled for some reason. Nevertheless, his absence from the sanctuary had enflamed a longing for worship that would not be satisfied until he was in the house of God (Psalm 84:10b).

We might ponder, why such a passion and longing to worship the LORD? The better question is, do we have that same desire to worship with the congregation of the LORD? Do we yearn to lift our voices in song with other believers and study God’s Word?

Psalm 85 – Grace and Peace

For brevity’s sake, I suggest three points as an outline of Psalm 85.

  1. The LORD is gracious, compassionate, and forgiving (Psalm 85:1-3).
  2. The LORD is merciful and will deliver His people out of trouble (Psalm 85:4-7).
  3. Salvation is promised to those who fear the LORD, and He bestows peace (“Shalom”) upon the righteous (Psalm 85:8-13).

    Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith

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