August 12 2023
Today, Saturday August 12
Pilgrims On Our Way Home
To the Chief Musician. On an instrument of Gath. A Psalm of the sons of Korah.
“How lovely is Your tabernacle, O LORD of hosts! My soul longs, yes, even faints For the courts of the LORD; My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. Even the sparrow has found a home, And the swallow a nest for herself, Where she may lay her young-- Even Your altars, O LORD of hosts, My King and my God. Blessed are those who dwell in Your house; They will still be praising You. Selah
Blessed is the man whose strength is in You, Whose heart is set on pilgrimage. As they pass through the Valley of Baca, They make it a spring; The rain also covers it with pools. They go from strength to strength; Each one appears before God in Zion. O LORD God of hosts, hear my prayer; Give ear, O God of Jacob! Selah
O God, behold our shield, And look upon the face of Your anointed. For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God Than dwell in the tents of wickedness. For the LORD God is a sun and shield; The LORD will give grace and glory; No good thing will He withhold From those who walk uprightly. O LORD of hosts, Blessed is the man who trusts in You!”
Psalm 84 is a wonderful Psalm that reminds us that we are pilgrims, wandering through this world, but we are on our way home. Spurgeon called this Psalm, “The Pearl of Psalms”. He noted that if the 23rd Psalm was the most popular, the 103rd the most joyful, the 119th the most deeply experimental, the fifty-first the most plaintive, this is one of the sweetest of the Psalms of peace.
To get the best understanding of this Psalm we need to go back into Israel's history and picture a godly Levite, from the family of Korah which had charge of the sacred hangings, veils, and doors of the tabernacle. They were the "keepers of the thresholds of the tent" (1 Chronicles 9:19). This Levite, perhaps years before, had exercised his ministry as a doorkeeper in the house of God. But whatever reason on this occasion he is not able to go on this pilgrim journey with his family to Jerusalem.
In this psalm he is reminiscing about the past, thinking fondly, even enviously, of the little birds who nested in the temple precincts. He remembers what it was like to be on his journey home! As he pictures and thinks about this, he finds himself singing to a new song. It is Psalm 84. It is so good that he writes it down and hands it to the chief Musician to be sung in the sanctuary long after his own days are done.
For forty years after their exodus from Egypt, the Jews were a wandering people, but even after they had moved into the Promised Land, the three feasts reminded them that they were still pilgrims on this earth (1 Chron. 29:15). A vagabond has no home; a fugitive is running from home; a stranger is away from home; a pilgrim is heading home. The psalmist's inability to attend the feast did not rob him of the blessings of fellowship with the Lord.
Peter addresses the believers in his epistle as sojourners and pilgrims (1 Peter 1:1; 2:11). Paul tells us that our citizenship is in heaven. “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself” (Philippians 3:20-21).
Just like the psalmist of this chapter we can still trust the Lord to be our strength and shield and to give us all we need as we make this journey. One of the first verses I memorized as a young believer over 50 years ago is from this chapter. It is verse 11, For the LORD God is a sun and shield; The LORD will give grace and glory; No good thing will He withhold From those who walk uprightly.
Today, no matter where you are, you can be assured that God will give you all you need as you walk uprightly.