How lovely is your dwelling place,
O Lord of hosts!
My soul longs, yes, faints
for the courts of the Lord;
my heart and flesh sing for joy
to the living God.
Read & Respond: What do you crave? Nothing quite satisfies me after dinner like a small piece of dark chocolate. But I’m not just talking about the “morning coffee” or “pickles-and-ice-cream” type of cravings. I’m talking about those deepest-desire-of-our-soul type cravings that leave us restless and searching until they are satisfied. Perhaps you desperately want to be married, have a child, be out of debt, or know whether or not you are getting that next promotion. Maybe you’ve spent your life satisfying these sorts of desires, only to discover a persistent longing that the hours spent on Facebook, Amazon purchases, and a padded savings account can’t seem to quench.
Psalm 84 kicks off with the psalmist expressing a longing so great he feels he will faint if this yearning is not satisfied, “My soul yearns, even faints…my heart and my flesh cry out…” (Psalm 84:2) Immediately we are drawn into this psalm as it reads like an intimate, personal diary. What is it that this psalmist longs for with every facet of his being? What might we be missing? Or craving yet not aware?
“How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts! My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.” (Ps. 84:2)
[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][tweetthis]I have certainly longed for things from the Lord – blessings, victories, deliverance, answers, health, a day off at the spa, but rarely do I recognize how truly needy I am for the living God Himself.[/tweetthis] As we study Psalm 84 this week, may we become more aware of our real, God-given cravings that only dwelling in His presence can wholly satisfy us. May we “taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalm 34:8) and become as desperate to dwell with Him as the author of this psalm.
Core Concept: We were created to crave the presence of God.
Think About It:
- What is one of your regular cravings?
- If this Psalmist’s desire for God is a “10” on a 1-10 scale, where would you rate yours? Why?
- Do you tend to long for things from the Lord rather than the Lord himself? What things?
- How can reading and singing songs, such as Psalm 84, strengthen our desire for God?
This Week’s Praise & Worship Prompts
Day 1: The Doorkeeper’s Desire
Memorize Psalm 84:1-2. Who wrote Psalm 84? Before verse 1 we find, “To the choirmaster: according to The Gittith. A Psalm of the Sons of Korah.” You may recognize the “Sons of Korah” as their name appears in 9 other psalms. However, if you’re like me, you may have been reading the Bible for 30+ years and never noticed. Read 1 Chronicles 9:17. The Sons of Korah were in charge of a tent known as the Mishkah, Tent of Meeting or Tabernacle – the dwelling place of the Lord among the Israelites (pictured below). The Sons of Korah were its doorkeepers. In light of this man’s living, consider: What did he crave? Was this craving satisfied? Why or why not? What does this say about our God? Can we ever get “enough”? To close out your time of worship, listen to the song Take Me In (Holy of Holies) this week.
Day 2: Desire the Courts of the Lord
Let’s look at the “courts of the Lord” and why the psalmist yearns. Obviously these “courts” are not a courtroom but a location within the outer curtains of the tabernacle i.e. a courtyard. Exodus 25-27 gives a detailed account of God’s tabernacle blueprints. The courtyard held the burnt altar for sacrifices and water basin for cleansing. Have you ever craved forgiveness or longed to be washed clean of your past? It’s in the courts where sins are atoned and the stain of iniquity is washed clean. With this insight, might you be one who yearns for the courts of the Lord?
Day 3: Understand the Holy Place
The tabernacle represents access and intimacy with God. There was the Outer Court, Inner Court, and Holy Place. Inside the Holy Place, priests encountered God through symbols representing His provisions: bread for communion with Him, a lampstand for the revelation of His plan for salvation and incense for the sweet fragrance of prayer. The Holy of Holies was the location of God’s dwelling place. The priest entered once a year to atone for the sins of the people. With his death on the cross, Jesus Christ became our great high priest, making God’s presence continually available to every believer as well as within every believer. Read Hebrews 10:19-22, Hebrews 6:19-20, Colossians 1:27. Respond in thanks to God!
Day 4: Encounter the Living God
Where is the Tabernacle today? Where does God dwell today? Historically we know the Tent of Meeting became a building, the Holy Temple, which faced destruction in 587 BC, was restored and faced a final destruction in 70 AD. But before this final devastation “Tabernacle” reappears in the pages of God’s Word and this time it’s a verb! “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us…” Wait, you didn’t see it? The Greek word for dwelt means: to fix one’s tabernacle, literally “to tabernacle.” Jesus Christ (the Word) is God’s presence come to tabernacle among His people. Read Ephesians 3:17 to find out how we went from being a “God with us” people to a “God in us” people. What does it mean to you to know that through faith, God dwells in you? How does this change your encounters with the living God?
Day 5: Cultivating Cravings
The Hebrew word for “blessed” is esher, which means happy, blessed…satisfied. Read Psalm 84:4.5 and 12, listing the characteristics of those who have their cravings fulfilled. Journal about any new cravings cultivated by your study this week. What other longings in your life can you see being met by desiring to dwell in God’s presence?