The Blessings of Worshiping God

(A meditation on Psalm 84:1-4)

1 How lovely is your dwelling place, O LORD of hosts!
2 My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the LORD;
my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God.
3 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.
4 Blessed are those who dwell in your house, ever singing your praise! Selah

The one longing of our heart all our life is the worship of God. We were created to give honor and praise to our God and Creator. About sixteen centuries ago Saint Augustine said that God has made us in such a way that we remain restless until we find rest in Him. Until our souls find comfort and joy in the true worship of God, our deepest longing in life will remain unsatisfied.

My hope and my prayer is that every Lord's Day, when we gather together as God's covenant people in worship, our deepest desire is fulfilled and we find rest in our soul.

There is tremendous blessing that awaits you and me when we seek the adoration of our God. Blessed are those who yearn to have fellowship and communion with the living God! Blessed are those whose desire is to dwell in the presence of God forever, serving and loving Him with all their heart, mind, and soul!

Psalm 84 is designed to draw the people of God into the vision of the living God in His holy temple. It speaks of the intensity of the psalmists' desire to worship God in His temple. Thus in Psalm 84 we see that God pronounces a threefold blessing upon those who worship Him. (The psalmist mentions the word "blessed" in vv. 4, 5, and 12).

The idea of serving God and worshiping Him in His temple is prominent in this psalm. And this theme of service or worship is paralleled by the idea of blessedness. As you may know, the idea of being blessed is the notion of the one who has found the fullest joy, the deepest satisfaction, and the truest purpose of life.

The person who is blessed knows and lives life’s true purpose. He knows that man is made to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. Therefore the person who is truly blessed experiences the fullness of joy. Not that he’s happy in a superficial sense all the time or that nothing bad ever comes in his life experiences.

Rather whether he experiences triumph or trial in this life the blessed man is grounded in a deep joy because he knows God and he knows His purpose. He knows why he’s here and he finds deep satisfaction in God that cannot be taken away from him by any of his ever changing circumstances.

Whether your experiences in life are momentary joys and triumphs or continuing trials that tempt you to question the love and goodness of God, don't forget that you were made to glorify God. The person who knows life’s true purpose will experience its fullness of joy and will find its true blessedness regardless of the situation in and around him.

We will explore this threefold blessing that the psalmists talk about upon those who seek to serve and worship God. First of all, let's focus on the truth that those who worship God will experience the blessing of dwelling in God's house (vv.1-4).

Psalm 84 is a psalm of the Sons of Korah. Korah was one of the ancestors of the Levitical singers of the temple whom King David had appointed. So the Sons of Korah were singers in the temple. They serve in the temple. There are eleven psalms attributed to them. Most of these psalms give a prominent place to Zion, to Jerusalem, or to the temple. That is not surprising because the sons of Korah dwelt in the temple in Jerusalem!

But while the Sons of Korah write about things familiar to them, they do not write for themselves alone. As I've said, Psalm 84 is designed to draw the people of God into the vision of the living God in the temple.

In verses 1-4, notice how the psalmist focus our attention on the blessedness of dwelling in God’s house, especially when God’s people are gathered in worship. You see, the psalmist tells us that the person who is blessed is found in communion and worship with God and with His people.

The psalmist is saying that the people who get to be in the house of God and worship and praise Him are blessed. The people who long for God, who long to worship God, to know God, to praise God, they are the ones who are truly blessed.

That’s very important in our day and age. More and more churches are realizing that fewer and fewer people are interested in worshiping God when they come to church. So they are coming up with other things for them to do when they come to church because those people do not delight in worshiping God. And I want you to notice that God’s pronouncement of blessedness is not upon them. His pronouncement of blessedness is upon those who long to be with God, communing with the people of God in the worship of God.

That’s the first lesson for us out of Psalm 84:1-4. Of course, we don’t have a temple to go to anymore. We don't have to bring animal sacrifices for our sins. The building, the sanctuary where we gather for worship, is what we call God’s house because God dwells wherever His people are gathered.

God’s house is not a beautiful building built by Solomon in Jerusalem. We are told in the New Testament that God does not dwell in any place made by the hand of man. God’s house is God's people, redeemed by the blood of His Son. You and I are the house of God. He dwells among us by His Spirit.

So wherever God’s people gather, whether we gather here or in a gymnasium, when God’s people gather to worship the living God, there we find the dwelling place of God. We are God’s house. In Christ the living God has come to dwell among us. In Him the psalmist's longing for the house of God is fulfilled. Thus, our secure location and greatest joy is to be at home with God in Christ. Christ is the reality that we as believers enjoy. To be in Christ is to be blessed.

The psalmist will later say that there is no place on earth that he would rather be than in the temple of the Lord with the people of God, praising Him. And for the New Covenant believer, what we say is that there is no place that we would rather be than in Christ.

And how do we expressed our being in Christ? By being united with the body of Christ, the people of God, in fellowship and worship. We delight in our union with Christ through our worship of God and the communion of saints. There we find our fullest satisfaction. There we find our joy.

We long to be with God, singing and praising Him. But this is not possible apart from our Lord Jesus Christ and the Spirit of God. That's why we sing and pray to God in the name of our Savior and Lord. Through Christ worship is the highest expression of our longing for God. And the psalmist said that’s true blessedness: the one who longs for God and to be with God’s people gathered in worshiping Him. That’s the person who understands life’s true purpose, who has experienced the fullness of joy, has found deep satisfaction, and has found communion and worship with God’s people.

Where do you want to be? Is your soul longing to be sitting in front of a ball game or show? Do you faint to see your favorite team's home court or the courts of the Lord?

You see, we were created for God. He made us for Himself, and so we have a God-shaped hole in the center of our lives, and we try our best to fill that hole with something. At the center of your being, what do you long for?

When you have seen and entered the dwelling place of the Lord of hosts you have no desire to be any place else. As the sons of Korah reflected on this, walking through the courtyard of the temple, beholding the glory of the courts of the Lord, they saw something that caught their attention. There, high up on the temple, perhaps in the latticework around the courtyard, were birds' nests.

Then they realize that all creation draws near to God in the temple. Here in the courts of the Lord, even the birds find a home. Not a sparrow falls from its nest, but the Lord of Hosts sees. If the Lord of hosts welcomes birds to nest in His courts, how much more will He welcome you who long for Him!

Because, as Hebrews 12 says, we have come to the heavenly Jerusalem; and because we have come to the courts of the living God, we may now dwell in the house of the Lord forever! And this is now a reality for us because our Lord Jesus Christ has brought us through the veil of the earthly temple and brought us into the holy of Holies, where we behold Him. We see Jesus, crowned with glory and honor, sitting at the right hand of the majesty in heaven. That is what we do in our worship.

We come into the very presence of God on the basis of the sacrifice of our great high priest, Jesus Christ. We then hear His Word, read and proclaimed, and made visible by the sacraments and we respond to His Word with praises and prayers. Then we are fed at His table and go forth with His blessing.

This is not merely an earthly assembly. When we gather for worship we gather with all the heavenly hosts, with all the saints from all times and places as the Spirit lifts us in the heavenly courts in order to sing the praises of our Triune God. That is our blessedness!


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