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Psalm 84

posted Dec 26, 2015, 10:48 AM by Steven Vaughan   [ updated Dec 26, 2015, 10:50 AM ]
For the leader; “upon the gittith.” A psalm of the Korahites.

How lovely your dwelling, O LORD of hosts!
My soul yearns and pines for the courts of the LORD. My heart and flesh cry out for the living God.
As the sparrow finds a home and the swallow a nest to settle her young, My home is by your altars, LORD of hosts, my king and my God!
Blessed are those who dwell in your house! They never cease to praise you.

Blessed the man who finds refuge in you, in their hearts are pilgrim roads.
As they pass through the Baca valley, they find spring water to drink. The early rain covers it with blessings.
They will go from strength to strength and see the God of gods on Zion.

LORD God of hosts, hear my prayer; listen, God of Jacob.
O God, watch over our shield; look upon the face of your anointed.

Better one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere. Better the threshold of the house of my God than a home in the tents of the wicked.
For a sun and shield is the LORD God, bestowing all grace and glory. The LORD withholds no good thing from those who walk without reproach.
O LORD of hosts, blessed the man who trusts in you!
This psalm is believed to be written by the sons of Korah and describes a love for being in the presence of God. Its first half focuses on the aspect of pilgrimage to the House of God, while the second focuses on how much better it is to dwell with God than dwell apart. It’s as applicable to us today as it was to Old Testament believers traveling to the tabernacle or temple in Shiloh or Jerusalem, since its overall theme is about finding our home with God.

The sons (or descendants) of Korah had become the doorkeepers and custodians for the tabernacle, and during the time of King David, they became the tabernacle’s leaders in choral and orchestral music. Many psalms are attributed to them, and they’re known for expressing a spirit of great gratitude and humility to an awesome, mighty God, as well as expressing a longing and deep devotion for God.

One of the best known musical settings of this psalm is Johannes Brahms’ How Lovely Is They Dwelling Place from “A German Requiem”, which premiered on Good Friday, 1868. Composed shortly after the death of his mother, it differs from most classic Requiems in that rather than using the text of the Latin Mass, he assembled the libretto himself, stressing comfort and solace to the living, like a musical eulogy.

A popular contemporary song inspired by it is Matt Redman’s Better is One Day. It’s from his album “The Heart of Worship” which came about when his pastor was worried that their congregation was just going through the motions, and worship wasn’t flowing from their heart. So he “did a pretty brave thing” says Redman. “He decided to get rid of the sound system and band for a season, and we gathered together with just our voices. He wanted them to come as worshipers, not as concert-goers. With the band and sound system gone, it made for an unforgettable time in the life of the church as they sang a cappella only — and for an unforgettable lesson about worship.”

Hmm, would you be ready for that challenge?