Daily Devotion – September 15, 2021 – Dr. Pat Taylor Ellison

Psalm 84
84:1 How lovely is your dwelling place, O LORD of hosts!
84:2 My soul longs, indeed it faints for the courts of the LORD; my heart and my flesh sing for joy to the living God.
84:3 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.
84:4 Happy are those who live in your house, ever singing your praise. Selah
84:5 Happy are those whose strength is in you, in whose heart are the highways to Zion.
84:6 As they go through the valley of Baca they make it a place of springs; the early rain also covers it with pools.
84:7 They go from strength to strength; the God of gods will be seen in Zion.
84:8 O LORD God of hosts, hear my prayer; give ear, O God of Jacob! Selah
84:9 Behold our shield, O God; look on the face of your anointed.
84:10 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 live in the tents of wickedness.
84:11 For the LORD God is a sun and shield; he bestows favor and honor. No good thing does the LORD withhold from those who walk uprightly.
84:12 O LORD of hosts, happy is everyone who trusts in you.

A psalm of delight! If you’re feeling down today as you read, this psalm might very well pick you up.

The writer is longing and panting, yearning to be in the courts of the Lord.  It is a place even birds can nest and raise their young. Happy are the people and even the creatures who live in that house (maybe a house or temple, but maybe a right and solid relationship with God).

Happy are the people who get their strength from this God of Zion; as they journey through life they bring water and life – springs and early rains. They go from strength to strength. They are equipped to bless the world, and then they return to the courts of God, where one day is worth a thousand days elsewhere.

The writer would rather be a lowly doorkeeper in the courts of the Lord than live with more choices elsewhere. Why? Because the Lord bestows favor and honor and every good thing on even doorkeepers who trust in Him, who have a relationship with Him.

I can think of many examples in story and song of a person who, smitten by love, suddenly hears birds singing, feels the sun shining even on a gloomy day, and feels favored and loved just because s/he is in love. That is the mood of this psalm. God is gracious and God’s court (house, porch, palace?) is a place so wonderful that life just blooms forth from it. I don’t know much about the gods of Assyria or Babylon or the Canaanites, for example, but I know the Greeks well, and Athena’s temple was no such place. Even Mt. Olympus wasn’t pouring out abundant life on birds and travelers. It was cold and hidden from everyone except the gods who lived there. But this Hebrew writer has a much different picture of God’s house. It is bountiful and abundant and refreshes all who come there.

How might we go through our daily activities as though we too could visit this bountiful house of God?

Lord God, Thank you for loving us. Thank you for giving us bountiful visions of life with you. Help us to bring your bounty with us through our daily lives in service to others.     Amen.