2: “My soul longs, indeed it faints for the courts of the Lord.” – The author of this psalm is anxiously looking forward to attending church where he can escape the busy and bustling world in which he lives.
3: “Even a sparrow finds a home…at your altar.” – Everyone can find sanctuary in God’s house.
5: “Happy are those whose strength is in you.” – Immersed in His love, we are strengthened and our worries are lifted.
6: “As they go through the valley of Baca…” – Frequently our journey to God is a pilgrimage through difficult and trying times.
8: “O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer, give ear, O God of Jacob.” – When you pray beseech God. Call for Him to listen. Garner His attention.
10: “For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere.” – Gathering close to the presence of God is an experience that cannot be compared to any other.
11: “…No good thing does the Lord withhold from those who walk uprightly.” – Blessings will flow when our lives have been transformed and sanctified by the holy presence of God.
Points to Contemplate:
Do you always look forward to church?
As each week progresses do you experience a growing hunger to return to His house and sip of His love? Does His presence in your life wan and dissipate as time away from His sanctuary increases? Does your “soul long, indeed faint,” to be with God? Are you sustained and filled in church? Are you changed by the experience? Do you feel God’s presence during worship services? Do you expect to feel His presence each time you enter His “courts?” If not, why?
Are you happy? Should you be? Are we all too cynical these days to be truly happy? Does the weight of the world’s problems bear down on you and keep you from obtaining genuine happiness? Are “happy” people living in a fog with blinders, extricating themselves from reality? Or, does their faith that God is always present in their lives sustain them and give them strength? Does this strength lift you above the stormy seas you face, creating within you aloofness to the grim realities of the world? Or is it more like a ship in the north seas, plowing and breaking its way through the storms and icebergs it encounters?
Does God hear your prayers? Do you want Him to? Have you asked Him to listen closely? Are you fervent in your prayers? Do you turn your entire being over to Him, releasing all control so there is room in your heart for His response? Does God answer your prayers? Do you expect Him to? Do you come away from your prayer time hoping that God has heard you and that it might do “some” good? Or do you leave His presence, strengthened, inspired and confident that He is in control and that His perfect plan for your life will be accomplished?
Are you “walking uprightly?” Is that something you accomplish through your own efforts at being a devoted follower of Christ? Or does God work within your heart, straightening the bends and crooks that have developed, and creating within you a framework of righteousness, strong and straight, that will allow you to walk His paths and reflect His glory? Is that not all the blessing you truly need in life? Promise of the Gospel:
Our churches are special places and the psalmist has created a mosaic of vivid imagery to illustrate what his church means to him. Whereas we know that God is always with us, abiding within us with His Spirit, a church building provides more to us than a place to gather and gaze upon beautiful windows. They are places set aside by God to provide comfort and shelter from the storms we face in our lives. We are strengthened for our pilgrimage through life. We find joy and happiness. And, most importantly, as we turn our focus and our love towards God, we are reconfigured into His likeness, straight and upright, so that we can return to the world as shiny reflections of His love.