I recently enjoyed going through Psalm 84 verse by verse. I was attracted to it as I am exploring the theme of God’s experiential presence in order to experience more of it. I might preach it some time but for now here it is in blog form.
The psalm starts “how lovely is your dwelling place, and Lord of hosts!”. It’s right that the translators add an exclamation mark at the end of this sentence. It is an ecstatic proclamation of truth. It is not simply a statement of fact but of experience. Even if the Psalmist has not fully experienced what he speaks of his anticipation of it takes hold of and possesses it. Of course God is present everywhere but his dwelling place is where he is most readily and fully and wonderfully touch-ably and tangibly to be found.
Dwelling place literally means “tent”. We would say “house” or “home”. It’s pretty special to go into someone’s home. When you are in someone’s home you get a large undiluted dose of them. Everything in the house is shaped by them and expresses something about them. A home is like the sound box of a guitar. All the richness and depth of the frequencies are drawn out and amplified. It picks up and amplifies the dweller.
If someone is disorganised you get that loud and clear as you pick your way through their living room. If they are hospitable you get the best seat, their best drink, food, their attention, their encouragement etc. If they love dogs you get to interact with their dogs, if they like Jazz you will probably get to hear some and if they are rich you see all their expensive stuff. Ten minutes with someone in their home is worth an hour with them in the pub if you want to get to know them. You will get a much richer clearer idea of who they are. We were invited into a fiends home recently and we had such a good time. We got a good dose of them and it did us good. The writer of the psalm has spent time in God’s home and got a large dose of God and he says “it is wonderful.“