A Sabbath Meditation – Psalm 84

The Psalmist is so drawn to The Lord’s “dwelling place” he cannot help but sing out about its beauty, its safety, its empowering of his life, its nearness ever as he journeys toward it.

As I listen to the Psalmist sing,

How lovely is your dwelling place,
O Lord of hosts!
My soul longs, indeed it faints
for the courts of the Lord;
my heart and my flesh sing for joy
to the living God.

I hear how he longs to be in that lovely, beautiful, place once again. It’s a beauty that goes beyond a surface appearance of beauty. It is a beauty that nourishes one’s very soul. Yes, he longs to be there. Yet even in his longing for the place, there is a part of that beauty that he holds in the depths of both heart and flesh that gives him joy. Though he does not yet stand in that dwelling place of the Lord, he is not separated from it in his soul.

He remembers seeing the small birds fly around the sanctuary, and even seeing a mother bird at her nest caring for her young.

The sanctuary of the Lord is a place of safety, even for the smallest, the most vulnerable.

Even the sparrow finds a home,
and the swallow a nest for herself,
where she may lay her young,
at your altars, O Lord of hosts,
my King and my God.

Maybe even for the Psalmist? Yes! It is a place he goes to for safety. A place he is cared for. A place he is nourished. “… at your altars, O Lord of hosts … “ so very much can be given and received.

And even as he journeys to that sanctuary, the power of his King and God is with him.

Happy are those whose strength is in you,
in whose heart are the highways to Zion.

As they go through the valley of Baca
they make it a place of springs;
the early rain also covers it with pools.

In his very heart lies that “highway” that takes him to the sanctuary.

And on his travels a presence of the Lord is with him such that even in the a valley of dryness, of weeping, of despair he looks for the springs of life, of hope, of renewal. It may be he has to dig a little to find the spring, to dig out a well, but the filling of that well, that pool, is left to the rain, to a gift from the God of Heaven and Earth.

Even on his journey, the beauty of the Lord’s dwelling place is never fully absent. And never fully absent also are safety, hope and the nearness of The Lord.

Psalm 84 (NRSV)

How lovely is your dwelling place,
O Lord of hosts!

My soul longs, indeed it faints
for the courts of the Lord;
my heart and my flesh sing for joy
to the living God.

Even the sparrow finds a home,
and the swallow a nest for herself,
where she may lay her young,
at your altars, O Lord of hosts,
my King and my God.

Happy are those who live in your house,
ever singing your praise. Selah

Happy are those whose strength is in you,
in whose heart are the highways to Zion.

As they go through the valley of Baca
they make it a place of springs;

the early rain also covers it with pools.

They go from strength to strength;
the God of gods will be seen in Zion.

O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer;
give ear, O God of Jacob! Sela
h

Behold our shield, O God;
look on the face of your anointed
.

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 live in the tents of wickedness.

For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
he bestows favor and honor.
No good thing does the Lord withhold
from those who walk uprightly.

O Lord of hosts,
happy is everyone who trusts in you.

charles

{ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est}


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