Reflections and Laments: Psalm 84
Reflection: In autumn, great joy comes when my wife bakes my favorite apple crumb pie. Anticipation builds as the ingredients are prepared and placed in the oven. Soon the sweet aroma of my favorite pie is wafting through the house, my mouth watering with great expectancy of the first warm bite! It is impossible to stop with just one piece, there must be others. Viewing Psalm 84 as a whole pie, there are three pieces to not just taste but treasure.
The first scrumptious piece is, “How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord Almighty! My soul yearns, even faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God (vv. 1-2).” Our hope and our joy must be found in the living God who dwells among us, not in the circumstances in which we find ourselves.
The second scrumptious piece is, “As they pass through the Valley of Baca they make it a place of springs; the autumn rains also cover it with pools (v.6).” This valley represents sorrow and trial. A literal parched valley of difficulty that many traveled through to get to Jerusalem. But the psalmist shows that in these times of difficulty, those who lean into the Lord live hope which brings life.
The third scrumptious piece is, “Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked (v. 10).” We all face choices in life…God…or the world. Choosing God brings joy and life no matter the circumstances. Choosing the world disappoints.
These are unique days in our lives. Most are requested to self-quarantine, others put their lives on the line daily to care for those in need. If we listen to the world around us, we should be depressed and fearful. But for those who lean into the Lord, we have another perspective. One of hope and life. Let us treasure not three pieces, but the whole pie of the truth of God.
Prayer: Father, it is with great humility and hope that we approach your throne. Jesus, we praise you and thank you for all You have done to make this possible for each one of us. Lord guide our steps, our thoughts and our hopes during the days ahead. Help us to recognize the leading and empowerment of Your Holy Spirit in our lives. May Your word always be our daily source of sustenance and truth. We praise You and worship You and ask all of this in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit…Amen.
Kent Eby, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Mission at Bethel University.