What do we really long for when we worship at church? Do we long to hear the pastor’s sermon or see other members of congregation?  Or, do we desire the Lord Jesus surpassing the blessings that we receive from Him?
What were sons of Korah longing for that they expressed in Gitit, written in Psalms 84:11? “for a day in Your courts is better than a thousand. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness.”
Actually, the Israelites and the temple of God are strongly interrelated. They were not only as God's chosen nation, but had the distinction of worshipping in the temple of God. Unfortunately, Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, destroyed the Temple (2 Kings 25: 8-9) and captivated the Israelites in Babylon for 70 years.
Since then, they no longer had a temple though later they built synagogues for their place of worship. They hung harps on willows. And they wept when asked to sing the songs of Zion (Psalms 137: 1-4). Because they could not see the house of God (the real building), they felt abandoned by the Lord.
Introspection: indeed we have a place of worship, but do we have the same level of desire to dwell in His temple as the Israelites?
Here are three points that we will learn further from Psalms 84:1-13:

I.       The court (verses 1-5)
  • To the chief Musician. On an instrument of Gath. A psalm of sons of Korah “ (verse 1)
Who are sons of Korah? Korah was one of Israel leaders who led them to enter Canaan. Together with his accomplices, Dathan and Abiram, Korah led a coup against Moses and Aaron (Numbers 16). Eventually the sons of Korah were punished by God. However, there were descendants of Korah that were spared from the terrible punishment. And they became temple singers and musicians who also wrote some of the psalms. They learnt from their foul-mouthed fathers who cursed and rebelled against their leaders. Korah’s sons used their mouth to speak the praise of the Lord.
Introspection: how about our mouth? Do we still utter mean words and cuss? Or, has our mouth been changed? We no longer speak slander but instead our mouth is a means of blessing for others.
  •  How lovely are Your dwelling places, Lord of hosts! (verse 2)
Looking at history, the Israelites set up the Tabernacle in the wilderness where God dwelt in their midst (Exodus 25: 8) and the temple was built in King Solomon’s time (1 Kings. 6). And all the furniture was placed in the house of the Lord except for the Ark of the Covenant. At that time, God was present in their midst. After Solomon's kingdom division, Israel lived in exile in Babylon. They no longer had the temple. In Jesus’ time, King Herod built the Temple of God but God was not present until it was destroyed in 70 AD. There was not any other temple built until today. Therefore, the Israelites worship in the synagogue as a replacement for the temple.
The fact is churches-the house of the Lord- today are in a race to enlarge the material building. It is no longer about the glory of the Lord, but how to magnify and enrich the church organization. It is not pleasing to God. That is why Jesus once said, "Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up." (John 2:19) What Jesus meant by the temple was His own body (verse 21).
If so, who is the temple of God?
-     The church building. Let us learn not to compare this church and that church. We leave our church that we consider as “minor”, and migrate to another “major” church.
We should be thankful if we can worship and be shepherded in our church today. Do not think negatively about other churches and worry that they will steal the 'sheep' from your church. Did not Jesus say that where two or three are gathered in His name, He is in the midst of them (Matthew 18:20)?
Application: we should realize that God is present in His temple so when we come to the House of God (the church) let us not bring a heart full of suspicion, bitterness, revenge and so on. But instead, let us feel the joy of dwelling in His house. Let us also have a self-belonging to maintain the condition of our church building so it remains in a good condition and neat. Do not be quick to criticize your pastor, the elders, church council, full-timers, etc.!
-       Children of God in whom God's Spirit dwells in them. (1 Corinthians 3:16).
Application: as the temple of God, have we displayed respect and love to our spouse, family, friends and the congregation who are also His Temple? Let us be honest, we can refrain from doing inappropriate things during worship, but how do we behave outside the church? Let us be careful, with the tongue we praise God, with the same tongue we also condemn the man created in the image of God (James 3: 9).)
The Holy Spirit is willing to dwell in the life of believers until now. Later, in the New Jerusalem there will be a temple that is the Lamb of God, the Heavenly Bridegroom (Revelation 21:22). Therefore, "how lovely is Your tabernacle" means that we are longing for the New Jerusalem and the true Temple of God.
  • My Soul longs, yes, even faints for the courts of the Lordmy heart and my flesh cry out  for the living God.” (verse 3)
This is the cry from the sons of Korah. They were longing for the courts of the Lord. Their heart and flesh cried out for the living God.
Introspection: Do we go to church with a broken heart? Do we know what the Lord is doing in His court?
  • “Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, Where she may lay her young—even Your altars, O Lord of hosts, my king and my God!” (v.4)
Sparrows and swallows, that do not own common sense like humans, are used as an example of God’s provision and protection to the worried. Man should fear God who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell rather than fear of humans who can only kill the physical body (Matthew 10:28).)
Sparrows find homes that can be used to breed and nurture their children. The swallows even know how and where to put their children, that is on the altar.
Why in the Altar? The Altar of Burnt Sacrifice is the place where the Israelites offered sacrifices of atonement (Leviticus 1: 7-8). Example: Adonia, who exalted himself to be the king, due to his fear of being killed by Solomon then left and held the horns of the Altar. Solomon forgave him and did not kill him after he heard about it (1 Kings 1: 50-53).
Application: Christ sacrifice is the ultimate foundation of forgiveness needed for the building the body of Christ (cp. 1 Corinthians 3:11). Thus we must throw away anything that stumbles others and be willing to apologize to them. Does not it often happen, after we ask God to forgive us but we still say mean words to others? Use every opportunity to be at peace as long as there is still the Altar! After we are forgiven by the Lord, we should care for our marriage and family.
Proverbs 26:2 explains further, “Like a flitting sparrow, like a flying swallow, so a curse without cause shall not alight.” It means, do not let our fallen nature provokes a curse. Remember, Jesus has received all curses of sin on the cross - becomes the sacrifice on the Altar of Burnt Offering. We must throw away 'old leaven' and party with the 'new yeast', that is a party with purity and truth, not a party with the yeast of malice and wickedness (1 Corinthians 5:7-8). Such party starts the final party - a wedding of Heavenly Bridegroom and His Bride written in Revelation 19-22.
As you know, the Court was the place where the sacrificial animals slaughtered. Can you imagine? That place definitely smelled rancid blood and had noisy atmosphere as well because there were a lot of things going on. Far different from the atmosphere in the Holy Place where all quiet, no fuss and all neat. However, without the crowd at the Court, there could be no quietness and peace happened in the Holy Place. With the death of Jesus on the cross, veil of the temple was torn in two (Matthew 27:51) so that there is no longer a barrier. That is the whole manifestation of the house of God.
  • Blessed are those who dwell in Your house; They will still be praising you.” (verse 5 )
In the house of God (the church) we experience joy by constantly praising Him (The gold Lampstand). But we must be watchful to the hustle bustle outside the church building.
Let us make the house of God (the material building) as a spur to read and meditate the Word of God diligently. In doing so, Satan cannot stop us by the roadside and steal the seed of the Word. Let us be frank, we, more often than not, forget the Word on our way home. And we become easy prey for Satan’s temptation.
Application: let us continually praise God as a manifestation of dwelling in the house of the living God.

II.    The Holy Place (verse 6-9)
  • Blessed is the man whose strength is in You, whose heart is set on Pilgrimage
Man likes to go on a pilgrimage to places considered sacred according to their religion. Those places are always packed with pilgrims from around the world.
What about our desire to come to the house of the Lord? Do we have a desire to be punctual arriving at the church, not out of coercive rules? We can set up any church regulations to make the ministers do their work. But it is simply because fear of being excluded from the church. And all is vain work for it does not come from their heart desire. If there is a desire to go to the church, no matter what or who hinders us, we will ask God to give us a way out.
We will break through all kinds of difficulties to come to the house of the Lord. That way we please Him and our ministry consecration is acceptable to Him. Do not forget, God keeps record of our faithfulness, our wholeheartedness, our desire to Him. And He sends His angel to serve those who receive salvation (Hebrews 1:14).


someone who is longing for his/her sweetheart can not be hindered by anyone and anything to see each other.
The desire to meet the Lord must start in the Court. Do not easily judge others. Let us learn from Apostle Paul who considered himself the chief of sinners (1 Timothy 1:15). May our worship is not determined by our surrounding: our pastor, our church, our deacons and so on. If the externals are good we can serve the Lord wholeheartedly; conversely, if things turn ugly, we are reluctant to serve Him. Remember who we are! We are only worthless dust! Ask Him to give us desire to worship Him, and to know His love. So we are made able to live under His guidance.
It is easy to call Jesus as our Heavenly Bridegroom. But, do we, as His Bride, have the desire to be united with Him? If we truly believe in Jesus Christ, how can we get bored to go to church to meet Him? If we do not desire to meet the Heavenly Bridegroom, another 'groom' awaits us, that is Satan.“As they pass through the Valley of Baca, they make it a spring….” (verse 7)
Undeniably, many of us come to church with loads of burdens. It is as if we live in a valley of tears. Therefore, we must have a desire to meet Jesus Himself-and Him only. You can not come to a pastor or a preacher and choose any sermon that caters for your need. And if it does not, you will go to another pastor or preacher. As a matter of fact, God changes the valley of tears into a fountain of life in the New Jerusalem.

  • “They go from strength to strength; each one appears before God in Zion.” (verse 8)
The Power of God's people appear as they walk before God in Zion.
Application: for you fellow members of the congregation, who are weak, do not quote only certain Bible verses to give you motivation and solution for your problem. Instead, make the verses as the living Word in your life.

  • “O lord God of hosts, hear my prayer; Give ear, O God of Jacob!” (verse 9)
This prayer is related to the Altar of Burnt Incense located in the holy place. It is just one more step to enter the Most Holy Place to face the throne of God's incredible grace.
Do not bring others to church to meet pastors, worship leaders, music players and so on. Because as humans we have weaknesses. We have shortcomings. All of us have a 'bad record' that can be accessed by others. Invite them to meet the Almighty and Eternal God.

III.    The Most Holy Place (verses 10-13)
  • “For the Lord God is a sun and shield.” (verse 12 )
This is God’s promise to those who come to Him. He is the sun and the shield of the people because He does not withhold anything good from people living unimpeachable.
  • “O Lord of hosts blessed is the man who trusts in You!” (verse 13)
We are blessed because we believe in God, the Creator of the universe.
Now we have understood the essence of worship in the temple of God. It is not merely a habitual gathering without any desire to understand His Word. And with a forgiving heart we may have peace and joy to serve the Lord who has provided everything we need on the altar. Amen.

Translator : Samuel Sirait, M.Th.
Editor        : Wahyuni Hadi


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