Summary: Believers feel an attraction to the place of worship, a passion for God’s presence, and they make positive contibutions from which others will benefit.
"A Place Near The Altar"
How lovely is your dwelling place, O LORD Almighty! 2 My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the LORD; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. 3 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, O LORD Almighty, my King and my God. 4 Blessed are those who dwell in your house; they are ever praising you. Selah 5 Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage. 6 As they pass through the Valley of Baca, they make it a place of springs; the autumn rains also cover it with pools. 7 They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion. 8 Hear my prayer, O LORD God Almighty; listen to me, O God of Jacob. Selah 9 Look upon our shield, O God; look with favor on your anointed one. 10 Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked. 11 For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor; no good thing does He withhold from those whose walk is blameless. 12 O LORD Almighty, blessed is the man who trusts in you.
The 84th psalm is a psalm of worship. It is evident the writer’s heart is filled with worship. He is clearly in a mood of worship. He expresses a yearning, a craving to draw near to the Lord in worship.
I find a few things here instructional for our worship.
We need an attraction to the place of worship. Wherever that is, it is the most sacred place on earth.
We need a passion for the presence of God. Our need to be nearer to God must consume us. Tozer called it the pursuit of God.
Having been strengthened by our encounter with God we make a positive contribution to the world in which we live.
Attraction, passion and contribution are elements of true worship.
Delight in God’s House
How lovely is your dwelling place
In the Old Testament the house of worship was the center of the religious life of Israel. To draw close to the Lord they literally had to physically go to the temple. That is not to say that they could not pray or know Him elsewhere. Nor is it to say He did not reveal Himself to them in other places and in other circumstances for He certainly did. But they were not allowed to offer sacrifices at home or in the fields. When they were estranged from the land of Israel and the temple in Jerusalem they felt distant from God Himself. So for the most part when they wanted to get close to the Lord in a special way they had to go to Jerusalem and to the temple. So the psalmist speaks glowingly of the temple - the dwelling place of God - the place of worship, made precious by time spent in worship.
This is not true in the New Testament. God is not housed in a building, nor confined to a single location. He is worshiped throughout all the earth. Jesus said, "a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. . . . Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and His worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth." (Jn. 4:21-24) In the New Testament the believer’s body and heart becomes God’s temple and the residence of the Holy Spirit. Paul writes, Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body. (1 Cor. 6:19-20) Peter tells us, . . . you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. (1 Pet. 2:5)
It is a wonderful truth that God makes His home in us. What a beautiful thought that God Himself chooses to live within the hearts of His worshipers. If the sight of the temple in the Old Testament was cause for excitement how much more thrilling it should be for us to know that God indwells the believer. That we are the habitation of God in the earth! We ought to get a thrill out of that!