March 6, 2018
All DayCategory: Adult Education
Longing for God
In Psalm 84, the Psalmist examines his heart’s desires, his time on earth and his goal in life. To him, being with God trumps everything else. I hope we will discover this too as we meditate on this passage, right in the middle of our Lenten journey.
The first four verses describe the Psalmist’s longing for God. Beyond marveling at God’s beautiful dwelling place, he yearns even more for the living God himself. This so overwhelms him that even the sight of swallows making a nest near the Temple’s altar prompts him to declare that to be near God is to be greatly blessed. Can this be our longing too? As I look at the world that is at times so beautiful to behold and at times so conflicted and afflicted with tensions, pain and suffering, I long for the Creator God to help me make sense of it all. The Psalmist reminds me that there is a beauty beyond the world’s finest, and an ultimate restoration for the world’s brokenness. There is a final reality for which both man and creation yearn. Man’s chief longing is for his Creator.
In vv 5-9, the Psalmist describes what it’s like to journey on earth with such a God. Increasing strength replaces weariness; ever-refreshing springs replace dryness, both because we have God Almighty to call upon for favor and protection. To walk with such a God is to be greatly blessed. Do you desire this? As I reflect on moments in my life that sometimes are so satisfying that nothing else seems comparable and at other times so despairing that anything else seems better, I long for an Almighty to help me reconcile the joys and sorrows in my journey. The Psalmist reminds me that both pleasure and grief can be God-directed. There is a faithful sustainer of life, both its ups and downs. Man thrives most when he depends most on his God.
The last two verses describe what it’s like to dwell with such a God. It is a superior time spent (a day in his court is better than a thousand elsewhere), and a superior vocation invested (a doorkeeper in his house is better than other tasks). Again, the reason is God himself – he honors those who honor him. To dwell with God is to be greatly blessed. Why should we desire this dwelling? As I look at the range of goals one can pursue – from ascending to the heights of fame, power and money, to surviving just another day – I long for a durable and satisfying outcome for my time and toil. The Psalmist reminds me that only one destiny matters. Man’s greatest blessing is to be in God’s dwelling.
2,000 years ago, a sinless man who longed for God, walked with God and dwelt with God gave up his perfect life on the Cross as he bore your sins and mine. He did so to purchase our salvation so that we may be cleansed, redeemed and restored. Then we can enjoy the blessings of longing, walking and dwelling with God. The blessings of Psalm 84 can be ours in Jesus Christ.