Summary: 4 keys for a successful passage through life.
READ: Psalm 84
This is a very well-known and well-loved Psalm; a beautiful Psalm. It’s a “psalm of pilgrimage”. Every year crowds would flock to Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles. They would make the journey from every part of the territories occupied by Israel. They would make their pilgrimage to the Holy City to worship at the Temple.
This Psalm is the musing of one unnamed pilgrim as he makes his way up to Jerusalem. He’s longing to get to God’s house - he has this intense desire for the House of God. He longs to be with the company of God’s people, worshipping. We read about it in vv1-2.
This traveller is even jealous of birds! The Temple courtyards were open to the sky, and the great eaves provided a place for good nesting, so there were always these birds in and around the Temple. The writer says: “Oh, to be one of those birds who can make their homes right there in the house of God.” (vv3-4.)
I guess this theme follows on closely from my message last Sunday morning. DO YOU HAVE A LOVE LIKE THIS - A LONGING FOR GOD’S HOUSE? A passionate desire to be in His presence night and day; to LIVE there?!
You know, we must be careful lest we grieve God with our attitudes. What are we expressing to God when we act as though coming into His presence is “just another one of the things we do through the week”. But at the same time, if we were to be meeting with some “V.I.P.” at work, or some celebrity, we would spare no effort - nothing would be too much trouble. We’d be excited - anticipating - “spruced up” - ready. What message are we sending to God?
The writer of Psalm 84 has no such conflict of priorities. He’s left his work-a-day life behind him. He’s heading up to worship, and he’s just longing for God’s presence.
Now I want for us to zero in together on the next few verses. vv5-8 [READ]. Here is: “ADVICE FOR TRAVELLERS”.
In order to get “HOME” to God’s presence, the Psalmist knows that there is a JOURNEY to be made. He describes this journey as “happy” (“Blessed is the man...”), because the thought of the destination motivates him. Even through HARSH, difficult, dangerous places; “Blessed is the man...”
This is a very clear picture of OUR journey/pilgrimage through life. Our destination: the Heavenly City - God’s ETERNAL presence.
Would you note with me what I see here in these verses, this morning:
“4 KEYS FOR A SUCCESSFUL PASSAGE THROUGH LIFE”
(Would you like a successful, victorious journey through life and over into eternity? Well there are some principles right here. Important ones. “4 keys for a successful passage through life.”
1. LOOK TO GOD ALONE FOR YOUR STRENGTH.
("Blessed is the man whose strength is in You.")
How many have found that the Christian life is impossible without God’s strength? YET so often our greatest battlefield is about learning to trust Him instead of doing it on our own steam. That’s human nature. But we must understand . . . ZECHARIAH 4:6 [READ].
I’m inspired by the life of the Apostle Paul. He had a particularly rough passage, didn’t he?! (2 Corinthians 11:23-28). But in the last days of his life he was able to say - 2 TIMOTHY 4:6-8 [READ]. What was his life’s secret? The answer is in 2 Corinthians 12:9 [READ]. His strength was in God!
And this is the only way to beat “burnout”. You do NOT have enough resources in yourself to make the whole journey. Christians burn out because they strive in their own strength - you can wind up just “running on nerves”! And you know, you can get so far, but you’ll never finish without God’s strength.
ILLUSTRATION: Man setting out across the Nullabor desert with just half a tank of gas - thinking that will be enough to get him all the way home to Devonport. “If I just drive a little slower.” But there are simply not enough resources.
We’d think such a man was crazy, wouldn’t we?! At some points there has to be refuelling. Refilling. It’s just as crazy to believe you can finish the Christian life on your own strength - on your resources.
If you ask them, most Christians will agree that we can’t make it in our own strength, yet SO many do not take steps to ensure God’s strength for themselves.
Well, how DO you live in God’s strength?
ISAIAH 40:29-31 [READ]. It’s in:
- Waiting on God
- Devotional life
- God’s Word
I used to look for God to give me the “spectacular insights” - the hidden mysteries - about how to defeat all my enemies and move mountains in my life. The I “grew up”, and I discovered that if I disciplined myself to get the BASICS of the Christian life right (Bible, prayer, church, witnessing) MY ENEMIES FLED AND MY MOUNTAINS CRUMBLED. Why? Because I was living daily in the Lord’s strength! Simply, but powerfully, being built up and led on by God. I believe that if you keep to the basics consistently - do them often enough - God will get blessing to you! Remember this: “THE MAIN THINGS ARE THE PLAIN THINGS”.