Psalm 84 - My King and my God

INTRODUCTION: This Psalm is designated by an inscription to be accompanied by an instrument for a song of worship by the sons of Korah, and ten other Psalms have similar inscriptions. After King David was secure in Jerusalem he brought the ark of God to a tent he pitched in Zion, and he appointed the sons of Korah for their service before the LORD. There is no clear record of when each of the eleven Psalms designated for the sons of Korah was written. Solomon did not erect the temple building until after his father David had died, so some of the content of those eleven Psalms may have first applied to the tent at Zion, and they continue to have special meaning even today about desiring to be in the presence of the LORD who is the living God.

NOTE: All Bible passages are from the 1769 King James Version (AV).

A - DAVID APPOINTED THE SONS OF KORAH FOR SERVICE IN THE HOUSE OF THE LORD

1 Chronicles 6 "31 And these are they whom David set over the service of song in the house of the LORD, after that the ark had rest. 32 And they ministered before the dwelling place of the tabernacle of the congregation with singing, until Solomon had built the house of the LORD in Jerusalem: and then they waited on their office according to their order. 33 And these are they that waited with their children. Of the sons of the Kohathites: Heman a singer, the son of Joel, the son of Shemuel, 34 The son of Elkanah, the son of Jeroham, the son of Eliel, the son of Toah, 35 The son of Zuph, the son of Elkanah, the son of Mahath, the son of Amasai, 36 The son of Elkanah, the son of Joel, the son of Azariah, the son of Zephaniah, 37 The son of Tahath, the son of Assir, the son of Ebiasaph, the son of Korah,"

1 Kings 6 "37 In the fourth year was the foundation of the house of the LORD laid, in the month Zif: 38 And in the eleventh year, in the month Bul, which is the eighth month, was the house finished throughout all the parts thereof, and according to all the fashion of it. So was he seven years in building it."

2 Chronicles 5 "2 Then Solomon assembled the elders of Israel, and all the heads of the tribes, the chief of the fathers of the children of Israel, unto Jerusalem, to bring up the ark of the covenant of the LORD out of the city of David, which is Zion. 3 Wherefore all the men of Israel assembled themselves unto the king in the feast which was in the seventh month. 4 And all the elders of Israel came; and the Levites took up the ark. 5 And they brought up the ark, and the tabernacle of the congregation, and all the holy vessels that were in the tabernacle, these did the priests and the Levites bring up."

1 Kings 11 "9 And the LORD was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned from the LORD God of Israel, which had appeared unto him twice, 10 And had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods: but he kept not that which the LORD commanded. 11 Wherefore the LORD said unto Solomon, Forasmuch as this is done of thee, and thou hast not kept my covenant and my statutes, which I have commanded thee, I will surely rend the kingdom from thee, and will give it to thy servant. 12 Notwithstanding in thy days I will not do it for David thy father's sake: but I will rend it out of the hand of thy son. 13 Howbeit I will not rend away all the kingdom; but will give one tribe to thy son for David my servant's sake, and for Jerusalem's sake which I have chosen."

1 Kings 11 "42 And the time that Solomon reigned in Jerusalem over all Israel was forty years. 43 And Solomon slept with his fathers, and was buried in the city of David his father: and Rehoboam his son reigned in his stead."

1 Kings 12 "25 Then Jeroboam built Shechem in mount Ephraim, and dwelt therein; and went out from thence, and built Penuel. 26 And Jeroboam said in his heart, Now shall the kingdom return to the house of David: 27 If this people go up to do sacrifice in the house of the LORD at Jerusalem, then shall the heart of this people turn again unto their lord, even unto Rehoboam king of Judah, and they shall kill me, and go again to Rehoboam king of Judah. 28 Whereupon the king took counsel, and made two calves of gold, and said unto them, It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem: behold thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. 29 And he set the one in Bethel, and the other put he in Dan. 30 And this thing became a sin: for the people went to worship before the one, even unto Dan."

COMMENTS: The sons of Korah began their service before the LORD in the city of David after King David had placed the ark of God in the tent he had prepared for it, and this was after David had secured his position in Jerusalem by defeating some key enemies of Israel. . Since David reigned in Jerusalem for thirty-three years, there would have been a significant length of that time for worship at the "house of the LORD" where the "ark had rest." After Solomon became king, there was an additional eleven years before the ark of God was moved from Zion to the newly constructed temple in Jerusalem. Solomon reigned as king for twenty nine more years after the temple was completed, but he set up in Jerusalem places of worship for false gods in deference to his many wives. Soon after his son Rehoboam succeeded him, ten tribes separated to be a northern kingdom as the judgment brought about by the LORD. Jeroboam became the first king over ten tribes in the north, but soon he decided not to follow the message given to him by a prophet of God; and he established worship of false gods because he was afraid in his own reasoning that the people might return to worship in Jerusalem.


B - PRAISE FOR THE LORD OF HOSTS WHO IS THE LIVING GOD

Psalm 84 "1 {To the chief Musician upon Gittith, A Psalm for the sons of Korah.} How amiable are thy tabernacles, O LORD of hosts! 2 My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the LORD: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God."

COMMENTS: The tent King David pitched in Zion for the ark of God became the center for worship and praise for those who knew and trusted in the Spirit of the Living God until the temple built by Solomon was completed. The psalmist wrote that the place of the LORD of hosts had the quality of a warmth of pleasant affection, with an inherent peacefulness about it. The psalmist's thoughts about the tent and the courts of the LORD caused emotions to a point of feeling faint, while at the same time crying aloud with joyful longing to be in the presence of the living God! David had a relationship in his heart with the living God from early in his life, and this had given him the confidence to face Goliath by himself as a young man with no position of leadership at that time. 1 Samuel 17 "36 Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defied the armies of the living God." David knew he served the "living God," not false gods created from the vain imagination of man. It is possible that all eleven Psalms for the Sons of Korah were written during the reign of King David. Psalm 84 relates well to the ark of God in the tent David had prepared in Zion, the city of David.


C - BLESSED WITH STRENGTH ARE ALL WHO HAVE THE WAYS OF THE LORD IN THEIR HEART

Psalm 84 "3 Yea, the sparrow hath found an house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, even thine altars, O LORD of hosts, my King, and my God. 4 Blessed are they that dwell in thy house: they will be still praising thee. Selah. 5 Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee; in whose heart are the ways of them. 6 Who passing through the valley of Baca make it a well; the rain also filleth the pools. 7 They go from strength to strength, every one of them in Zion appeareth before God."

COMMENTS: Jebus had been held by the Jebusites for centuries until it was taken by King David, and given the name Jerusalem which means "teaching of peace," and that is where the ark of God found rest. The sparrows and the swallows were not disturbed as they nested near the altars, and this was a sign of tranquility observed at the house of the LORD of hosts. The psalmist also used the phrase "my King, and my God" as he expressed the special blessing of peace given those who serve at the house of the LORD, recognizing God as the everlasting king. After a pause, he said the man whose strength is in God, is also blessed through having the ways of God in his heart. The LORD will make water available in valleys that are otherwise dry, and everyone who goes to Zion as strength is provided for their journey, will appear before the presence of God. Those valleys that are named can be understood in either a literal or a symbolic sense of a journey without enough "water" to quench a physical or spiritual thirst. Another Psalm gives glory to the LORD because he is known as both king and God who hears our prayers. Psalm 5 "1 }To the chief Musician upon Nehiloth, A Psalm of David.} Give ear to my words, O LORD, consider my meditation. 2 Hearken unto the voice of my cry, my King, and my God: for unto thee will I pray."


D - AN APPEAL TO THE LORD GOD TO HEAR THE PRAYER

Psalm 84 "8 O LORD God of hosts, hear my prayer: give ear, O God of Jacob. Selah. 9 Behold, O God our shield, and look upon the face of thine anointed. 10 For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness."

COMMENTS: There is a direct appeal to the LORD God of hosts to hear and to answer the prayer that is being offered to the LORD who had chosen Jacob to be the forefather of the children of Israel. There is a pause at this point in the prayer which is being offered: which is an element that many of our own prayers might lack; as we forget we are praying to the LORD of hosts, the living God! It is essential to praise the LORD as our shield as He looks upon the face of the one He has anointed. In the immediate context of the psalm, this could be King David referring to himself because he believed a king anointed by a profit of God did not obtain that office on his own merit; and what a blessing to have the LORD look upon his face. Those who are humble before the LORD will be uplifted, and a day in the most common position in the courts of God's Kingdom is better than a thousand days unredeemed in comfortable settings in this present world. Again Psalm 5 has some very similar content. Psalm 5 "11 But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee. 12 For thou, LORD, wilt bless the righteous; with favour wilt thou compass him as with a shield."


E - THE LORD GOD GIVES GRACE AND GLORY TO THOSE WHO ARE UPRIGHT IN HIM

Psalm 84 "11 For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly. 12 O LORD of hosts, blessed is the man that trusteth in thee."

COMMENTS: The LORD God is a sun providing everlasting light of life, and a shield of protection: the LORD is the source for grace and glory for those who by faith daily walk in the ways of the LORD. The "good" things as measured by the world are temporal, and have no comparison with the eternal good things that will be given to those who are blessed as they trust in the LORD of hosts. After centuries of men ruling as kings in Israel was ending in captivity, a prophet of God wrote about the only true and living God who is an everlasting king.

Jeremiah 10 "10 But the LORD is the true God, he is the living God, and an everlasting king: at his wrath the earth shall tremble, and the nations shall not be able to abide his indignation. 11 Thus shall ye say unto them, The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth, even they shall perish from the earth, and from under these heavens. 12 He hath made the earth by his power, he hath established the world by his wisdom, and hath stretched out the heavens by his discretion. 13 When he uttereth his voice, there is a multitude of waters in the heavens, and he causeth the vapours to ascend from the ends of the earth; he maketh lightnings with rain, and bringeth forth the wind out of his treasures. 14 Every man is brutish in his knowledge: every founder is confounded by the graven image: for his molten image is falsehood, and there is no breath in them. 15 They are vanity, and the work of errors: in the time of their visitation they shall perish."

After many more centuries the promised Messiah came but was publicly rejected, though he is the Son of the living God who defeated sin and death by His resurrection. Matthew 16 "15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? 16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. 17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven." John 20 "30 And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: 31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name."

--- REFLECTIONS IN PRAYER ---

I want to praise you, the Living God, continually with a song in my heart contemplating the time when I will be forever in your presence. I enjoy the peaceful word picture where pleasant sounds and domestic activities of birds of your creation are around altars of worship to the LORD of hosts, who is my King and my God! I believe you have prepared for me as part of all of your chosen children, a place to dwell away from the cares of this world with some of the journeys through "dry and weary lands." May I more often pause in my prayers, realizing the tremendous blessing I have received in strength to follow the ways of your gift of the righteousness of Christ. I believe it is only through that righteousness imputed to me by grace and faith that I may offer up my prayers. I want to be content with the provisions I have from you in this life, and to avoid any attraction toward the "tents of the wicked." LORD, you are my sun and shield, and I am blessed to have placed my trust in the true and living God. Amen, and amen.

Published 14 December 2018