I read five Psalms first thing every morning. That way, I can read through the entire book of Psalms every month. Each day, I try to pray through one of my daily Psalms, using a method Donald Whitney teaches in his book, Praying the Bible
84 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!
Psalm 84 is subtitled, “A Psalm of the Sons of Korah.” The Korathites were a branch of the family of Korah, whom we read about on Day 055. Numbers 3 tells us what the duties of the Korathites were:
29 The clans of the sons of Kohath were to camp on the south side of the tabernacle, 30 with Elizaphan the son of Uzziel as chief of the fathers’ house of the clans of the Kohathites. 31 And their guard duty involved the ark, the table, the lampstand, the altars, the vessels of the sanctuary with which the priests minister, and the screen; all the service connected with these. (Num. 3:29-31).
So as I meditated on Psalm 84 this morning, a picture formed in my mind of a Son of Korah, descended from Kohath, going about his duties in the temple. He is cleaning and polishing the vessels of the sanctuary. He’s making sure the lampstand has plenty of oil. He’s dusting the altars.
Then, he hears birdsong in the rafters. He looks to the ceiling to find its source, and sees that a swallow has built a nest for herself up there. He gets a ladder so he can climb up and remove the nest. But when he comes face to face with the mother bird, he sees that she is watching over her new hatchlings.
Maybe he thinks to himself what a blessing it would be to make a home right here in the Temple, day and night in the shadow of the altar. What a joy it would be to lift his own songs of praise to the rafters, like the birdsong of this swallow.
Heavenly Father, Your desire for me is that I would be at home with You. That I would long–even faint–to be at home in Your courts. That Your dwelling place would be to me the loveliest thing.
And, yes, Lord, a day in Your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere! I would rather have a nest of twigs and sticks before Your altar than a luxury apartment apart from it.
All morning long, the song “That Would be Enough” from Hamilton has been on a loop in my brain. I literally woke up with that song in my head. When I opened Psalm 84, I think I know why. Eliza’s song to her ambitious husband Alexander reflect what it might mean to value a day in the house of the Lord above all things. To paraphrase:
Just let me see Your face at the end of the day And that would be enough. I don't need money I don't need a legacy You can grant me peace of mind If I would let you inside your heart. I could be enough. We could be enough. That would be enough.
2 thoughts on “Praying the Psalms: A Meditation on Psalm 84”
what has struck me even more as I read psalms of the sons of Korah is that even beyond their initial employment in today’s reading as guards of the holy things is their discontented and tragic rebellion in Num. 16 (coming on TBR Day 61). The fact that God spared some of them (Num. 26:11) and allowed them to continue serving Him in the holy place is one of the most amazing redemption stories in the Bible (all pointing, of course, to the ultimate redemption story of God loving the world so that He gave His one and only Son Jesus so that whoever believes in Him would not perish but have everlasting life)! No wonder they could write with such wholehearted longing, fainting for God and His presence – they remembered their ancestors being swallowed alive by the ground in judgment for longing for their own power and position, rather than gratefully praising God for allowing them to serve Him in the first place! Praise God that in Jesus’s death and resurrection, He has swallowed up death forever and torn the veil so we too can sing for joy to the living God!!
Yes indeed! I wrote a post on that last year. I’m pretty sure it is in the archives. Search for “The Sweet Redemption of the Sons of Korah.” Thank you for your insight!