Read Psalm 84
Focus on verse 10
If you have ever been separated from a person or from people or even from a place that you love, you understand the word “longing”. There was a time when I felt that way about my childhood home. I still actually look forward to any opportunity that comes my way to visit that place. The fact that some of my family still live there makes it a double blessing. Interestingly while I love to go visit what once was my home, I no longer desire to stay there permanently. In my short life of a little better than a half century, I have moved over twenty times, which means there are twenty different locations in two different countries that I have called “home” at some point.
All of them would be fun to go back and visit, but only one currently feels like home, and ultimately I know that even this one is just temporary.
In today’s psalm, the writer describes his longing for being in the presence of God. In verse two he writes; “My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the Lord.” A little further down in verse ten he continues; “For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere.” And he adds, “I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness.”
There is a longing in the heart of the psalmist to stand once again in the presence of the Lord. It is possible that he is recalling his worship experience when the temple was still standing, prior to the invasion and exile of the people of Jerusalem. Despite this longing, and despite being in captivity, he ends the psalm with these words;
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.
From the time that I established a relationship with God, I have noticed that this world seems less and less like home. Now, don’t misunderstand…I’m in no hurry to leave! For God has not withheld any good things from me as I have attempted to walk uprightly in the years I have known Him. It is a journey, and there have been times when I have not walked as uprightly as I could have, but with each passing year it becomes more clear that this world is not my permanent home.
I know that the day will come when my longing for the presence of God will be fulfilled. I’m not crazy about the transition I will have to go through to get there…it is however, somewhat comforting to have the confidence that God will not only be there on the other side waiting for me, but He is also already here with me now, and will be there to walk with me through the veil that separates this life from the next.
I suppose the long and short of it is that life with God is a win win situation. It’s a win because as long as I’m here He’s right here, walking every step with me, and when it’s time to go…He’ll be there to show me around and get me oriented to whatever eternity will be like. Either way, the older I get the more I long to be in His presence.