A Prayerful Longing for God (Psalm 84)

Psalms Study Guide (Week 5)

SUGGESTED VERSES FOR MEMORIZATION & MEDITATION

My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the LORD; my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God. (Psalm 84:2)

For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness.  (Psalm 84:10)

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.  (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)

OPENING THOUGHT

We have already seen that worship encompasses virtually every aspect of our lives, and even all of creation calls us to worship our God, the Creator. Last week, we saw a key component for true worship: repentance. Through the prayerful repentance of David, we saw how the follower of Christ ought to be broken by sin and how we should to pray in response to our sins.

Just as the psalms themselves frequently shift moods, we turn now to a significantly brighter psalm. Written, likely, by the Sons of Korah, this psalm is entirely about desiring to be with the LORD. Their poetic longings flow through each line as they declare their love for the courts and dwelling place of God. There is such a degree of exuberance to their words that we might even say that they are desperate to be in the presence of the LORD.

Interestingly, the center of their focus though is upon the temple of the LORD, the designated house of worship for Israel. Within the temple, worship was primarily made through animal sacrifices to God. There likely should a level of shock to us in thinking about how the psalmist speaks so longingly about a place of ritual sacrifices; however, painted within this psalm is a picture of the sacrifices that the LORD desires. He wants us to come before Him in joy and delight, longing to be with our Father. Do we likewise desire to be in worship of God?

Read verses 1-4 and discuss the following.

  1. The psalmist opens this hymn by pronouncing his overwhelming desire for being in the temple (aka the LORD’s dwelling place). For what reason did the psalmist so strongly desire to be in the temple?
  2. After expressing his opening desire for being within the courts of the LORD, the psalmist exuberantly declares the blessings of dwelling within the house of God, singing forever His praises. How is this similar to our anticipation of heaven’s joys? Why will we never grow weary of praising the LORD?

Read verses 5-9 and discuss the following.

  1. The description within these verses of a worshiper traveling toward the temple led to this psalm being sung frequently by Israelites making pilgrimages to Jerusalem. Here the psalmist is determined to complete his journey, resolving to be as unstoppable as possible. Do you have a similar determination to meet with God in prayer, through reading the Scriptures, and in corporate worship with other believers?

Read verses 10-12 and discuss the following.

  1. The psalmist claims that he would rather be a doorkeeper within God’s house for a day than spend one thousand days anywhere else. Is this similar to how you value God?
  2. We find in verse 11 a very strong statement that God will withhold no good thing from those who walk uprightly. Does this mean that we can claim material blessings as some prosperity teachers might interpret this verse? How do we reconcile this verse with the fact that good things do appear to be withheld from us at times?

ACTIONS TO CONSIDER

  • Consider the psalmist’s longing for the LORD. Resolve to fast as the LORD leads you (for example: one meal, one day, or one week), praying for a greater hunger and thirst for the God.
  • Pray for a greater joy and delight in God.
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