Psalm 84:1-2 (NLT)
How lovely is your dwelling place, O LORD of Heaven’s Armies. I long, yes, I faint with longing to enter the courts of the LORD. With my whole being, body and soul, I will shout joyfully to the living God.
This psalm was written centuries before Christ, when followers of God believed that God’s Spirit dwelt in the Temple in Jerusalem. The psalmist writes about the joy and anticipation of the pilgrim who makes his way to the Temple. Reading through his song, however, we realize that he longs not for the Temple courts themselves but for the God who will meet him there.
As followers of Christ, we have received God’s Holy Spirit, making our very bodies into “temples” where the living God meets us. Like the ancient Jews, we may make space in our lives for pilgrimage, that is, for dedicating time and attention to listening for God and offering response. As pilgrims, we read and meditate on God’s holy word. We gather regularly with other believers for worship and for sharing the sacraments. We set aside time to pray and to reflect, or we seek God’s face in nature, in music, or in art.
In addition to these dedicated times, God chooses to meet us in subtle ways that may, in the moment, escape our notice. We may receive flashes of insight, or of warnings, that seem to come from nowhere. When facing a temptation, we may find sudden courage to resist sinning and to stay on God’s path. In a hostile situation, we may experience unexpected compassion for our adversary, prompting us to seek healing and restoration rather than retaliation and further hurt. We need only take a few moments of reflecting on the events of our day to realize how faithfully God has been connecting with and caring for us.
The psalmist expresses in ancient poetry the longing of every human soul throughout the ages. His deep and sometimes painful need to see and touch God is just as real for us today. We can pray his prayer with him, voicing our desire to meet this same, unchanging God and to celebrate the joy of our communion.
FATHER, you who are God of Heaven’s Armies are also the One who faithfully meets and sustains me. Thank you for reaching out to me in so many ways that I cannot count them all. Help me to recognize your voice, your touch, and your heart in the subtle nuances of my daily life and relationships.
Psalm 27:4; 1 Corinthians 6:19
As an act of worship, memorize one or two verses from Psalm 84 and practice saying them to God from your heart.