31 January 2011

Psalm 84

How lovely is Your dwelling place, LORD of Hosts.
I long and yearn for the courts of the LORD; my heart and flesh shout for joy to the living God.

Even a sparrow finds a home, and a swallow, a nest for herself where she places her young -- near Your altars, LORD of Hosts, my King and my God.
How happy are those who reside in Your house, who praise You continually.  Selah.
Happy are the people whose strength is in You, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.
As they pass through the Valley of Baca (tears), they make it a source of springwater; even the autumn rain will cover it with blessings. 
They go from strength to strength; each appears before God in Zion.
LORD God of Hosts, hear my prayer; listen, God of Jacob.
Consider our shield, God; look on the face of Your anointed one.
Better a day in Your courts than a thousand anywhere else. I would rather be at the door of the house of my God than to live in the tents of the wicked.
For the LORD God is a sun and shield. The LORD gives grace and glory; He does not withhold the good from those who live with integrity. 
LORD of Hosts, happy is the person who trusts in You!

This has to be one of my favorite Psalms. So many artists have made powerful songs out of these words, but the truth behind the scripture itself is mind blowing.

1. Verse 5 - "whose hearts are set on pilgrimage." - we're not tied down to where we are or to one singular place. Instead, we are ready to move and go as God calls us and moves over us. Our hearts don't belong here. They seek something so much bigger, so much more powerful than this poor earth can possibly contain. Our hearts wander and daydream about days spent endlessly in the presence of our Master and Creator.

2. Verse 6 - "As they pass through the Valley of Baca, they make it a source of springwater" - WOW. Baca roughly translates to "tears" in English. What an incredible picture of how we should live. We will travel through times of heartache, tears, chaos, and frustration, but the tears we cry aren't useless emotions that tie us to our pain and suffering. Instead, they bring us closer to God provide a source of life for us - they water the seeds of faith, trust, love, and compassion that God has planted in our hearts and in the hearts of those around us. If a situation makes you cry - whether you are experiencing it or witnessing it- God has purpose for those tears. They will create a pure stream by which He will bring life. Your tears bring healing, not death. In tears, there is life.

3. Verse 10 - "I would rather be at the door of the house of my God" - we don't even have to be INSIDE all the time. Be a door holder. Don't hoard the blessings and grace of God, but hold the door open for someone else to enter His presence and experience His unending love.

4. Verse 9 & 11 - Both of these mention a shield. Shield is "magain" in Hebrew. God is our protection. Not only does He deliver us from the Valley of Baca, but He protects us in ways we cannot comprehend. This may be by allowing us to deal with a harsh situation over a longer period of time or even by taking us out of a situation in order to protect our hearts from dealing with unneeded pain and stress. God may also protect us by bending us and breaking us to keep us in His will and away from a lifestyle, group, place, or mindset that would destroy us.

This is the BARE minimum..God's word is alive and bold. His word breathes life. Set your heart on Him. Find your strength in Him...and be still. Let Him move over and in you. Allow yourself to be transformed in a face-to-face encounter with the Almighty. Fall before Him and be still.

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