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Reading:                                      Psalm 84

For the director of music. According to gittith. Of the Sons of Korah. A psalm.

Verses 1-7

How lovely is your dwelling place, LORD Almighty!
My soul yearns, even faints,
for the courts of the L
ORD;
my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.
Even the sparrow has found a home,
and the swallow a nest for herself,
where she may have her young—
a place near your altar,
L
ORD Almighty, my King and my God.
Blessed are those who dwell in your house;
they are ever praising you.

Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.

As they pass through the Valley of Baka,
they make it a place of springs;
the autumn rains also cover it with pools.
They go from strength to strength,
till each appears before God in Zion
(NIV).

Reflection

Where does God live? If you were going to pay God a visit where would you go? Some of us would head off to a church. The psalmist speaks of travelling to the temple in Jerusalem. Psalm 84 was often used by pilgrims as they made the long journey to the holy city to be near to God in His temple.

Gatineau Park Trail

Gatineau Park trail — photo by David Kitz

When I read the phrase, “How lovely is your dwelling place, O LORD Almighty!” my mind instantly flashes to pictures of nature. I see God there, in the dazzling sunset, in the mountain grandeur, in the forest depths, in expansive prairie vistas, in the wind whipped ocean breakers, and by the sunlit babbling stream. God is there. This is His dwelling place. It is just as David declared, “The earth is the LORD‘s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it” (Psalm 24:1).

Nature is God’s domain. He formed it, planned it, spoke it into existence. It is his dwelling place. Our attempts to create a dwelling place for him are feeble at best. After overseeing the construction of one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, King Solomon, that master temple builder of the Old Testament declared, “There is not enough room in heaven for you, LORD God. How can you possibly live on earth in this temple I have built?” (1 Kings 8:27).

But here in Psalm 84 the psalmist marvels that nature has invaded the temple. Swallows have built their nest in the temple, close by the altar of God. He exclaims, Blessed are those who dwell in your house; they are ever praising you.” Indeed, there is no better place to be than near to the heart of God.

Response: LORD God, I want to be near to you today. I want to dwell where you are. Please come and stay with me. Be as close to me as my next breath. Amen.

Your Turn: Where are you closest to God? Do you long to be near Him?