How lovely are Your dwelling places, O Lord of hosts!
Psalm 84 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
How lovely are Your dwelling places,
O Lord of hosts!
2 My soul longed and even yearned for the courts of the Lord;
My heart and my flesh sing for joy to the living God.
3 The bird also has found a house,
And the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young,
Even Your altars, O Lord of hosts,
My King and my God.
4 How blessed are those who dwell in Your house!
They are ever praising You. Selah.
5 How blessed is the man whose strength is in You,
In whose heart are the highways to Zion!
6 Passing through the valley of Baca they make it a spring;
The early rain also covers it with blessings.
7 They go from strength to strength, Every one of them appears before God in Zion.
8 O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer;
Give ear, O God of Jacob! Selah.
9 Behold our shield, O God,
And look upon the face of Your anointed.
10 For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand outside.
I would rather stand at the threshold of the house of my God
Than dwell in the tents of wickedness.
11 For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
The Lord gives grace and glory;
No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.
12 O Lord of hosts,
How blessed is the man who trusts in You!
The psalmist says: How lovely are Your dwelling places, O Lord of hosts! My soul longed and even yearned for the courts of the Lord. Like the psalmist we too should long to be with and near the Lord. For us though, we should realize and recognize that the dwelling place of the Lord is not some far off place. It is not secluded or hard to find. In John 14:16-17;23 Jesus says: “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you. If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.” If we love the Lord and keep His commandments The Lord abides with us. The Holy Spirit is in us. We have become the dwelling place of the Lord. Often we have a difficult time comprehending that God could or would actually abide with and in us. Knowing our weaknesses and shortcomings, we see ourselves as imperfect. We need to see ourselves as lovely. 1 John 4:19 says: We love, because He first loved us. We can only love God because He first loved us. Romans 5:8 says: God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. It is only because of the love of God demonstrated in the cross of Christ that we can love God. It is because of the cross, the demonstration of God’s love, that God sees us as lovely. He no longer sees us as fallen short of His glory. He sees us as redeemed and restored to His image and likeness, just as we were created to be. We need to see ourselves that way too, as the lovely dwelling place of the Lord.
In verses 9-10 of today’s psalm, the psalmist says: look upon the face of Your anointed. For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand outside. I would rather stand at the threshold of the house of my God Than dwell in the tents of wickedness. Some translations say I would rather be a doorkeeper or gatekeeper in the house of my God. That translation accurately speaks of our responsibility in maintaining ourselves as a lovely dwelling place of the Lord. We have been redeemed, restored and made lovely by the cross of Christ, but we must maintain our loveliness in God’s sight. Jesus says: If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word. We need to be doorkeepers of the lovely dwelling place of God. We need to keep His word. God says: You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy. (Leviticus 19:2) We are redeemed and restored by Christ and the cross, but it is our responsibility to maintain the dwelling place of God. As doorkeepers, we need to not allow what is unholy into or onto the dwelling place of God. The psalmist says that one day in the abiding presence of the Lord is better than one thousand outside. Why would we risk the goodness and beauty of the abiding presence of God for a moment in the wicked tents of the world?
The psalmist ends saying:
For the Lord God is a sun and shield; The Lord gives grace and glory; No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly. O Lord of hosts,
How blessed is the man who trusts in You! That God and His Son are our sun is that they are light. 1 John 1:5 says: God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. If that light of God is around us and in us, His light will dispel all darkness from us. That God is our shield is that if we abide with Him and in Him, nothing can harm us. 1 John 4:4 says: Greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world. In Psalm 91, the psalmist says: He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, My God, in whom I trust!” For it is He who delivers you from the snare of the trapper And from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with His pinions, And under His wings you may seek refuge; His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark. You will not be afraid of the terror by night, Or of the arrow that flies by day; Of the pestilence that stalks in darkness, Or of the destruction that lays waste at noon. A thousand may fall at your side And ten thousand at your right hand, But it shall not approach you. You will only look on with your eyes And see the recompense of the wicked. For you have made the Lord, my refuge, Even the Most High, your dwelling place. No evil will befall you, Nor will any plague come near your tent. For He will give His angels charge concerning you, To guard you in all your ways. If we dwell with the Lord, making ourselves His dwelling place, nothing of the world can harm us.
Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ; precious Holy Spirit; How blessed is the man who trusts in You! How lovely are Your dwelling places, O Lord of hosts! It is beyond comprehension but I choose to be Your dwelling place. Through the cross of Christ I am redeemed and restored. Holy Spirit help me every day to maintain the beauty, the loveliness and the holiness of the Lord’s dwelling place. Amen.