Psalm 84:1-12 A Song About Jerusalem By The Sons Of Korah
Psalm 84:1-12 Peace In The Veil-y
“God has no grand children.” Have you ever heard that phrase? God only has sons and daughters. No one is a Christian because his or her father or mother was a Christian.
Have you ever heard this one? ‘The fathers have eaten sour grapes, And the children’s teeth are set on edge” . . . everyone will die for his own iniquity; each man who eats the sour grapes, his teeth will be set on edge” (Jer. 31:29; Ezek. 18:2). That quote from Jeremiah and Ezekiel meant that everyone is responsible for their own sins, not the sins of their ancestors. That was particularly a good thing for the sons of Korah who wrote this psalm.
Do you remember Korah? He was rotten to the core-ah (see One Bad Apple . . . and Edward G. Robinson . . . ). He actually had the audacity to rebel against Moses (1 Chron. 16:1-14)! The sons of Korah, apparently, were not responsible at all for Korah’s sin (cf. Num. 26:11). They went on to lead worship during the time of David.
This type of psalm has been called a Canticle of Zion, a Song of Zion, but essentially it is a hymn celebrating Jerusalem, the residence of the King. Though you wouldn’t know it today, it literally means “city of peace.”
The psalmist begins by declaring that God’s dwelling place is quite appealing (v. 1). He longs for the fellowship in Jerusalem (v. 2). Do you love to be around God’s people? You should (cf. Heb. 10:24-25). Dietrich Bonhoeffer, in his book, Life Together, stated that we should appreciate being with other believers because we will not always be able to have that fellowship. Bonhoeffer would live long enough to learn that truth by personal experience. He was put in prison for opposing Hitler during World War 2 so he would have known. The Nazis murdered him right before the Allies liberated Berlin, just for spite.
The writer is not saying that God’s house was for the birds. Well, actually he was. But he meant that it was so peaceful that birds could nest there (v. 3). Those who spent quality time in the sanctuary would be blessed for praising the Lord, they are the true birds, temple workers (v. 4). Most churches are empty during the week. They are for the birds.
This verse reminds me of the prayer room at my seminary. I loved going there. It was very peaceful. It was a great place to pray. I always felt like I could feel the presence of God. But when the school needed room, they would store chairs and tables in it making it inaccessible.
The person who derives strength from the Lord is blessed (vv. 5-7). That person is always trying to get back to Jerusalem to worship the Lord (v. 5). Zechariah said, “not by power nor by might but by my Spirit . . . ” (Zech. 4:6). Paul said, ” . . . I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor. 12:10).
Baca in verse 6 can refer to a balsam tree that grows in the desert regions and would crave rain. The root of the word means “to weep.” Jerusalem was a place of peace where grieving people could find solace and be “watered.”
The psalmist implores God to hear his prayer to strengthen Jerusalem (vv. 8-9). A shield represented a nation’s security and protection (v. 9).
It’s better to be in a place of fellowship than outside with unbelievers (v. 10). God protects those and gives guidance to those who worship and love Him (v. 11). He doesn’t withhold anything from people like that (v. 11c, cf. Rom. 8:32).
When Christ died, the veil was torn down in the Temple that separated the Holy of Holies where God dwelt from the Holy Place where the Levitic priests ministered (cf. Matt. 27:51). That means we can access God directly now. The one who is truly blessed is the one who wholeheartedly trusts in the Lord (v. 12)!
Proverbs 13:5-6 Sabotaged By Sin
People today must be enjoying falsehood judging by what’s on TV, in the movies, and in the newspapers (v. 5a). There are plenty of people acting “disgustingly” and “shamefully.” A righteous person, aka a believer, hates those kinds of things (v. 5a).
Believers will try to please the Lord and rid themselves of unrighteousness (v. 6a). Sinners are sabotaged by their sin (v. 6b).