Blessed are those who dwell in Your house…. (Psalm 84:4a)
If the worship of God—privately and publicly—is not a passion for us, we have reason to question the reality of our faith. From Genesis to Revelation, the persistent picture is of God’s people worshipping in personal devotion and public demonstration. All history is moving to a day when every knee bows in worship. Eternity will be consumed with worship. If you don’t enjoy worship on earth, how do you expect to enjoy heaven? At the core of a genuine encounter with God is the response of worship. That is certainly front and center in Psalm 84.
Three times in this Psalm, the sons of Korah sing of the blessing of being in the house of God. In verse 4, it speaks of the blessing of dwelling there—not a casual occurrence, nor a compulsory obligation, but a consistent observance. There is passion in the author’s voice as he extols the beauty of God’s house (v.1). You cannot imagine this writer rising in the morning and grudgingly saying, “I’ve got to go to the house of God,” but gladly shouting, “I get to go to the house of God!” Which characterizes our attitude? This gives us a spiritual x-ray into the heart (v.2). The true worshipper expresses envy of the birds he sees nesting in the house of God, lodging near the altar (v.3).
The second blessing of being in the house of God is given in v.5-9. It is there that we find strength to face the challenges of life. We need that for we are reminded that the Christian life is not a picnic, but a pilgrimage (v.5). It wasn’t easy in those days for worshippers to make their way to the Temple. They had to set their heart steadfastly or they would never make it—the long and winding road that traversed deserts and rose sharply upward to Jerusalem. Despite the effort required, there is no sense that the worshipper saw this as a burden, but focused on the blessing. How much modern man “suffers” to ride in a car, down a paved road, in order to sit on a padded pew, in a room that is air-conditioned in summer and heated in winter! Those ancient worshippers traveled through the Valley of Baca to get there. The word means, “sorrow.” Yet, the prospect of worship transformed the harsh place into a happy place (v.6). I have seen those who trekked to the house of God through a deep valley of tears, and saw them radiant and refreshed from an encounter with God in worship. Here we find grace on top of grace (v.7). These new resources flow to us each week as we call upon the Lord (v.8-9).
The third blessing is that of a renewed faith (v.10-12). This man wasn’t giving a grudging hour occasionally, but was delighting in worship. He wasn’t fidgeting and gazing at his watch. He had eternity in mind. This man had rather spend a day in worship than a thousand with the wicked. The sons of Korah took their task seriously. They were the greeters and singers. Our goal is to meet God and experience Him.