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.
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.
5 Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.
6 As they pass through the Valley of Baka,
they make it a place of springs;
the autumn rains also cover it with pools.
7 They go from strength to strength,
till each appears before God in Zion.
8 Hear my prayer, Lord God Almighty;
listen to me, God of Jacob.
9 Look on our shield, O God;
look with favor on your anointed one.
10 Better is one day in your courts
than a thousand elsewhere;
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
than dwell in the tents of the wicked.
11 For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
the Lord bestows favor and honor;
no good thing does he withhold
from those whose walk is blameless.
12 Lord Almighty,
blessed is the one who trusts in you.
One of the quotes I shared in last weekend’s message was from Rev. Mike Slaughter. In a portion of his book, Momentum for Life, where Mike speaks about the essential practice of spending time with God each day he writes, “It only takes me 24 hours to lose a healthy fear of God. Daily devotion renews ‘the why’ of my life.”
I find this insight adds a layer of meaning to how the words of Psalm 84 influence our thoughts on a “fresh start” in a new year. The Psalmist celebrates God’s “dwelling place” and speaks of a yearning for “the courts of the Lord,” and you might wonder, “Well, where exactly is that?”
Some might immediately think of the place you come to each weekend for corporate worship. You might picture our main sanctuary, our chapel space, or The Loft space on our campus. And while each are spaces that we treasure and have sacred meaning to us, we might still come up short in thinking of that physical space in the same way the Psalmist describes.
So, if the answer to this question is not as simple as that, how are we to understand the passion and longing that is described in these twelve verses?
I would suggest we understand this place to be wherever we encounter the living God as an active presence in our lives. It is the place where God “renews the why” in our lives, inviting us to see an aspiration much more significant than simply surviving or making it from one week to the next week. It is the place where we are humbled before a “Big Enough” God and where we also experience the awe-inspiring reality of a God who cares about our every need and believes in the possibilities for our lives that challenge our own imagination.
Where is that place in your life?
I hope that your answer includes the sacred spaces where our community gathers each week for worship, but today I want to challenge you to think about that in a broader way. I would hope that wherever you spend the first fifteen minutes of your day with this resource would be that same kind of place in your life. I would hope that you might be able to name additional places in your life or, at the very least, consider how you might lay claim to the moments and spaces in your life where the greatness of God’s glory and grace might regularly be crashing into the reality of your everyday life.
Think about where that might be today. After spending a few moments in reflection, read Psalm 84 again as you listen carefully to the deep longing of your own soul.
Awesome and mighty God, help me to embrace fully the deep longing of my soul. Help me to lean into my desperation for your presence, my yearning for a Savior even as I continue to pray for an increased trust in your capacity to meet my every need. In whatever way I may be coming up short in understanding “the why” in my life, give me eyes to see, ears to hear, and the heart and mind to grasp the larger meaning of my days. I trust this day, this week, and the entirety of this new year to you. AMEN.
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version ® NIV ®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2014 by Biblica, Inc.®. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.