Last spring, I opened my front door and discovered that a mama bird had chosen the wreath on my front door as the place to build her nest.
This discovery posed a problem for me. My dog goes out the front door 5-6 times a day and each time I opened the door, the mama bird was disturbed and would fly away. I felt so badly for her, plus I didn’t want her to accidentally fly into our house creating a second problem. So I rerouted my dog for a month.
After some time passed, the eggs safely hatched into 5 adorable baby birds, who eventually flew away leaving an empty nest behind. When all the birds were gone for good, I looked at the empty nest and I was a little sad. It had been a fun season of watching over this mama and her babies, and I was so thankful she chose my home and my front door as a safe place for her nest.
Psalm 84 – For Days When You Wish You Were Closer to God
In today’s scripture reading, we will see the Psalmist observing a sparrow and a swallow building their nests right inside the temple and he is almost envious of them. His deepest longing was to be in the temple close to God, like the birds in their nests.
Psalm 84 is written by the Sons of Korah and if we look back to 1 Chronicles 9, we see their job description. To put this Psalm into perspective, the Sons of Korah were the gatekeepers! So the writer was always at the temple gates. He was close to the presence of God and yet he was longing to be even closer.
19 Shallum the son of Kore, son of Ebiasaph, son of Korah, and his kinsmen of his fathers’ house, the Korahites, were in charge of the work of the service, keepers of the thresholds of the tent, as their fathers had been in charge of the camp of the Lord, keepers of the entrance.20 And Phinehas the son of Eleazar was the chief officer over them in time past; the Lord was with him. 21 Zechariah the son of Meshelemiah was gatekeeper at the entrance of the tent of meeting. 22 All these, who were chosen as gatekeepers at the thresholds, were 212. They were enrolled by genealogies in their villages. David and Samuel the seer established them in their office of trust. 23 So they and their sons were in charge of the gates of the house of the Lord, that is, the house of the tent, as guards. (1 Chronicles 9:19-23)
Do You Wish You Were Closer To God?
1.) Love Your Calling
The Psalmist loved his job as a gatekeeper! His love for God was insatiable. His soul craved being close to God. He loved being in the temple courts. He did not just sing ho hum songs to God but he sang out with all his might, songs of joy.
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.
Have you grown weary with serving the Lord or going to church or singing songs of worship?
As we read the rest of this Psalm, may God ignite passion in your heart again.
2.) Let God Be Your Rest in the Midst of Your Restlessness
In Bible times, sparrows were not worth much. They were humble birds used as the offerings of the poor. Swallows were swift birds that moved quickly and seemed restless and yet they too found their home in the Lord’s house. And the Psalmist declares, blessed are those who dwell in the house of the Lord, just like these birds.
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
Do you feel unworthy or restless?
God is a home and a refuge to the humble and restless. We are deeply loved by God and it’s in Him that we can find comfort and rest.
3.) Let the Hope of Heaven Give You Strength
In Bible times, the children of Israel would have to walk long roads to travel to the temple. They were not all gate keepers like the Sons of Korah. So, they would set their hearts on the long journey to Zion and the hope of arriving there strengthened them. The Valley of Baca represented a desert place where there was a struggle along the way. Yet even in this desert place, God provided what they needed and rather than going from strength to weakness – they went from strength to strength.
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.
Do you feel stuck in a desert place? Do you need strength?
This world is not our home – we are just passing through and sometimes it feels like the Valley of Baca – a desert place. But even as we travel through this world, the hope of Heaven strengthens us so that we too can go from strength to strength.
4.) Trust that God Will Fulfill You More Than Anything This World Offers You
The Psalmist was a humble doorkeeper and yet he could not get enough of God’s house. There was no where else in the world he’d rather be than being the first to open the door each day and last to close it. He felt a day in God’s courts were better than a thousand elsewhere. Perhaps he had dwelt in the tents of the wicked and experienced a taste of the fleeting pleasures of sin and he knew there was simply no comparison to the fulfilling joy of being in God’s presence.
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.
Has your heart led you astray into believing that knowing God is not as exciting as it once was?
Has this world grown more enticing?
The psalmist had to go to the temple to be with God but in 1 Corinthians 3:16 Paul says to believers: “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?”
God is with us! We do not have to travel on highways to get to God and we do not have to sit at the door of our churches to be closer to God. We are God’s temple and the Holy Spirit now dwells IN us! And there is nothing greater than having the presence of God with us!
5.) Trust God to Be Your Provider and Protector
In the midst of difficulties, we have God as our sun and shield. He is our provider and our protector. It is comforting to know that nothing that is good for us will He withhold, when we are walking uprightly.
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!
Are you struggling to trust God and his plan for your life?
It is a blessing to live with trust in God. He is our defender, our deliverer, our redeemer and friend.
Do you wish you were closer to God?
- Love your calling.
- Let God be your rest in the midst of your restlessness.
- Let the hope of heaven give you strength.
- Trust that God will fulfill you more than anything this world offers you.
- Trust God to be your provider and protector.
Heaven is our final destination, where we will one day see God in all his glory and be in his presence there.
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.
Oh what a glorious day that will be when we are in His presence in Heaven!
Until then, our body is the temple of the Lord. We wake up with the presence of God with us each morning. This should change the way we live, our choices, our joy, and our hope.
God is close – very close to you – and He loves you.
Draw near to Him today.
Better is one day in His courts than a thousand elsewhere!