On Our Way Home
Please forgive our technical difficulties.
Speaker: Rev. Charles Drew
Sermon Series: Psalms
Psalm 84 (ESV)
To the choirmaster: according to The Gittith. A Psalm of the Sons of Korah.
1 How lovely is your dwelling place,
O Lord of hosts!
2 My soul longs, yes, faints
for the courts of the Lord;
my heart and flesh sing for joy
to the living God.
3 Even the sparrow finds a home,
and the swallow a nest for herself,
where she may lay her young,
at your altars, O Lord of hosts,
my King and my God.
4 Blessed are those who dwell in your house,
ever singing your praise! Selah
5 Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
in whose heart are the highways to Zion.
6 As they go through the Valley of Baca
they make it a place of springs;
the early rain also covers it with pools.
7 They go from strength to strength;
each one appears before God in Zion.
8 O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer;
give ear, O God of Jacob! Selah
9 Behold our shield, O God;
look on the face of your anointed!
10 For a day in your courts is better
than a thousand elsewhere.
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
than dwell in the tents of wickedness.
11 For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
the Lord bestows favor and honor.
No good thing does he withhold
from those who walk uprightly.
12 O Lord of hosts,
blessed is the one who trusts in you!
Psalm 84 invites us to make yearning for God and joy in his presence the governing aims of our lives.
I) We are not home yet
v. 2: My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the LORD; my heart and flesh cry out to the living God.
v. 3: Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, at your altars, O LORD of hosts, my King and my God.
v. 4: Blessed are those who dwell in your house, ever singing your praise!
v. 10: For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness.
The psalmist’s yearning and ours.
II) Admitting that we are not yet home brings us closer
v. 1: How lovely (now) is your dwelling place, O LORD of hosts!
v. 5: Blessed (even now!) are those whose strength is in you, in whose heart are the highways to Zion.
We get to push against isolation by admitting to one another that we haven’t arrived yet. We get to be people who are safe and welcoming because we are honest and vulnerable. We get to make springs in dry valleys. (vv. 6-7)
We get to find joy as we weep.
III) Jesus brings us home with him
A) The problem: Psalm 84 is not always our song
v11-12: “No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly. O LORD of hosts, blessed is the one who trusts in you!
Do we walk uprightly? Do we trust?
“Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere” (v 11)
Can we sing this without hypocrisy?
B) God has made Psalm 84 his own song so that, in due time, it can become fully ours.
“Must I not be in my Father’s house?”
“My bread is to do the will of him who sent me.”
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?!”
“I go to prepare a place for you.”
“This day we will be together in Paradise.”
Conclusion: Take heart. “Christ is in you, the hope of glory.”
Questions for Reflection
We are all “on pilgrimage” to some hoped for destination: career success, relational fulfillment, a happy family. What hoped for destinations tend to preoccupy you at the moment? How likely are you to arrive? Do any of them conflict with each other? If so, why?
Psalm 84 holds before our imagination the destination that should dwarf and align all the others. What is it?
List at least three places in Psalm 84 where that destination is described. What makes it attractive to the psalmist? What makes it attractive to you?
Verses 5-7 describe some of the ways that our future home can make life lovely and satisfying here and now. What are those ways? Think of experiences you have had that corroborate the promises in vv. 5-7.
God knows that Psalm 84’s yearnings only describe us on our best days. He knows that there are even times when we don’t even want to be on the road home to God. Recall some wayward times in your life. Why did you go off the road? What were the results?
God chose to make the longings of Psalm 84 his own so that he could in due time make them fully ours. Imagine Jesus reciting Psalm 84 and making it a perfect description if his experience and yearnings when he lived among us.
In Colossians 1 Paul writes that “Christ is in us, the hope of glory”—by which he means that we have reason for confidence that, despite our weakness, we will make it home to God because Jesus himself is inside us, gradually making the longings of Psalm 84 our own. Where do you see evidence of this in your life?
Thank God for the grace of Christ that is at work in you. Pray that he will align you heart more fully with Psalm 84.
Prayer of Confession
Beautiful Redeemer, you are our true home. To be with you is to experience joy and refreshment, even when we are weak. To be with you is to know that we are safe, even when life is difficult and dangerous. To call upon you with our friends is to help restore their joy, refreshment, and sense of welcome. But we admit that we are not yet fully home. We confess that we have allowed our fears and our preoccupation with good but secondary matters to push you from our consciousness. We confess that we have at times deliberately left the homeward path, times when we have preferred to live as if you were not with us or not worth knowing or even consulting. Forgive our folly through your cross. By your Spirit raise your own pilgrim songs within our hearts. We pray in your name. Amen.