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The Psalm of the Janitors

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice
The Truth Network Radio
January 7, 2022 7:00 am

The Psalm of the Janitors

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice

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January 7, 2022 7:00 am

They were the caretakers of the House of God. They were the Sons of Korah, gatekeepers of the Temple, and they were blessed by their duties. But did the real blessing come from the Temple or from the God who inhabited it?

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They were the caretakers of the house of God. They were the sons of Koran gatekeepers of the temple and they were blessed by their duties, but did the real blessing come from the temple or from the God who inhabited it. Welcome to the Bible study our radio and Internet broadcast with Dr. James Boyce preparing you to think and act biblically. Even the birds of the air found shelter in the eaves of the temple, as did the men who cared for and the pilgrims who visited let's join Dr. Boyce as he examines Psalm 84 and discovers why the sons of Caracas say better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere I go would be very difficult to point to any Saul in the Psalter that has bought beautiful and profound and poignant by all RX why these particular poems are chosen, rather than others, and yet some stand out above the rest and Psalm 84 is certainly an outstanding Saul for its high-end uplifting sentiments. The sheer beauty of its images and it's moving aspirations it's perhaps unequal Charles Haddon Spurgeon who have so much work on the songs called in one of the choicest of the collection compared it with some of the others. She said if the 23rd Psalm is the most popular 103rd, the most joyful in the 119th most experimental in the 51st, the most plaintive of this is one of the most sweet of all the Psalms of peace. Psalm 84 essay Psalm of longing. It's a Psalm of longing for God's house and it's written according to the title by the sons of very important to see why it's so important in the moment, but it's worth pointing out that we have a number of these forms of Koran and they Psalter.

There are four of them in this third of the five books which were in now Psalms 8040 587 and 88, becoming more of them and then we've already seen a number of them in book Psalms 42 to 49 may begin with a story clientele and is going to seem initially unrelated to our exposition of the Psalm is not as you'll soon see one of my predecessors here at 10 Presbyterian Church years ago was Donald Ray Barnhouse April Harris to remember him. He tells a story from his days in seminary. My days in seminary were long ago and he was one of my predecessors on his days were even longer ago than that, but I can relate to it because the kind of things he explains what I saw as well.

That was a student in seminary and his data didn't take anything very seriously, always making fun of spiritual things. I do a lot of like that somewhat unusual, I guess, in his day.

In this particular student was present with Donald Ray Barnhouse said a prayer meeting on one occasion and that leader of the prayer meeting asked everybody was present together. Bible verse and it meant a lot to them and they went around different people gave different verses of the student never took anything seriously, said first Chronicles 2618.

Nobody knew that verse on those pots while everybody looked it up in their Bibles while they were looking it up just as they were finding it. The student blurted out.

He quoted it so rapidly. The words almost ran together when like this part of our westward for the causeway into a bar bar. Everybody was just a little bit puzzled in the Plaza student Senate.

You believe in the inspiration of the Bible find some inspiration on that verse well student. Fortunately dropped out of seminary didn't go into the ministry nowadays. Unfortunately, they do go into the ministry, but has always remembered that you got well understand how that would stick in your mind and years later, in the course of his ministry he was reading in the first Chronicles and he came across the verse came back to MN. He thought about.

I just study this passage of this verse to see what that is all about. When we look at the context. First of all, and he discovered that those chapters and first Chronicles have to do with the assigning of the sons of Levi the priest to various duties in the temple. Aron was of this tribe and his sons are divided into 24 groups to maintain the sacrifices of the altar. So that's what's described in the 24th chapter of first Chronicles Aron had cousins names were Asif Heyman and Jennifer and they were divided into similar groups to take care of the music particularly says that they accompanied the music that was signed in God's house by harps of liars and symbols/let's talk about in the 25th chapter of this next chapter, for which the strange verse been lifted was a record of the assignments given to 1/3 branch of the tribe of Levi and those were the sons of Cora.

They were called Koran sites and these men were chosen to be the gatekeepers or the doorkeepers of the temple: janitors was her job recommended very kindly for their work as chapter says, these were very capable man.

Men who had the strength to do the work section 8 of that chapter goes on to tell where each of them is going to serve and it's in this context of our verse occur. Some of them were stationed of the North to the East of the South on the west of the temple. Now the work part bar. The course just a Hebrew word is one of those words doesn't occur anywhere else. And so translators came to translate the King James Bible, which is where that verse came from.

They didn't know how to translate it, so they just put it in his part bar. Turns out the part bar is actually the name for the colonnade of the temple and so that's the way the verse is translated in some of the more modern versions with new international version says, for example, as per the court to the West.

That's the colonnade were for the road into the court itself and some of what the chapter is teaching is that God took pains to appoint specific men to be the gatekeepers of the janitors at the temple, and that he honor them for the service out here is where the story has bearing on the Saul because Islam was written by sons of Cora's by the appointed gatekeepers of the temple. This is the Psalm of the janitors.

What it tells us is that they delighted in their work. They long to do that kind of work because they counted it a great privilege to be present at the house of God not read the Psalm and that light. We can see the Psalm differently. If you approach it this way. And remember this the janitors writing. How lovely is your dwelling place all Lord Almighty.

My soul yearns even.

Thanks for the courts of the Lord by heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. Even the Spyro around the home and the swallow a nest for her younger place near your altar. All Lord Almighty, my King and my God. Blessed are those who dwell in your house. They are ever praising you better is one day in your courts and the files and elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked. Years later, Barnhouse wrote about that he said I find God. Many times, with a cynical twist of the binder that followed tossed a seemingly nonsensical verse in the midst of a prayer meeting minute for confusion, but the Lord meant it to me good as I learned later that I probed into the depths of God's word, the God is interested in the simplest tasks of the simplest persons interested you. Whatever your task may be. Now as I have read over the Psalm without a mind. It seems to me that it strips away a lot of the scholarly barnacles that get in the way for understanding and reduce serious study and commentaries about the scholar throw out all sorts of things which, if you follow them often lead you away from the meeting of the Psalm rather than toward it seems to me that that is what has happened with the Psalm you approach it as a Psalm of the janitors eliminates a number of things. For one thing, this is not a Psalm of the pilgrims making their way up to Jerusalem and some of the scholars that of the Psalm to do that Psalms of Ascent. It's not an allegory which swallows a list Spyro verse three represent the Psalm is start even less. The children of the psalmist. He is somehow commending to God. Scholars of said that this is not even a Psalm of a person who is separated from the temple and is longing to get back to it. As David was on several occasions, other Psalm say that it's not out of all this is all the people who worked in the temple and were talking this way because I really did appreciate their work, they are expressing how intensely their very souls yearn and even think for God. Sometimes people that are associated with Christian Morgan jaded and sort of cynical about major cities people didn't.

They are serving there because they want to tell this also throws light on the most beautiful image of the Saul's image of the Spyro seven swallows as I say, people have read all kinds of meaning in the back, but it's probably best taken as a simple observation there were these men worked in the temple. They did it day after day week after week, and they notice the bird's nest around the temple courts and they saw themselves more or less represented in the birds. They said yes that's it look birds have a home we have a home as well. The commentators we pulled one of the great Lutheran commentator says a statement is not to be thought of as a kind of allegory in which the birds represent the writer or any worshiper poet simply saw the birds at the temple and his point is that as the birds made their home at the temple and were secure there were no fear of their enemies so child of God can make his home in God and be secure in him as I say I think that's a simple observation on the part of those who wrote the Psalm, but when you look at these birds in the light of all of Scripture. It does have sort of political overtones. Example, if you look at the Spyro sparrows were such tiny little things that were so many other they become in the Bible almost a symbol or an image for something that's virtually worthless may recall that Jesus referred to them. On one occasion he said to that you could buy two for repenting. That's what is recorded as saying in Matthew 11, Luke.

He says you can get five for two pennies. They were such worthless things that the boys in the city of Jerusalem would catch them and then would Solomon very very poor people maybe would buy them, offer them up at the altar, and so forth. It is a symbol for something that is hardly worth anything at all.

Here are these janitors looking at the sparrows saying that courts of God have room even for those who, in the eyes of the world are considered almost worthless questions the whole lot of that way by the world pay any attention to Christians where they stand, what they do, who they are when they contribute, or would be glad to get rid of them for collection.

Don't get on with all the important things, but God sees them know when television stations carry the news when the newspapers reported report what's going on in some little church somewhere report what's happening in Washington and Moscow some great national disaster. Something like that airplane crash that that's the sort of thing makes the news about what happening in the little churches and yet is God looks down on the city's seasonal sparrows is people gathering together to worship and praise his name.

Bible says is present in the midst of my rejoices and what they're doing and if these people say is the author of the 84th Psalm says my soul yearns for God. God says that's wonderful. I'm going to meet people like that and be with them. I'm in a satisfy that yearning of their heart. Just this week I was out in Johnstown Pennsylvania drove out there and Friday back. I had a reformed theology conference out there.

I was unable to get there. The last time I was invited to land, hepatitis did make. This was the return visits. I got there this little town up in the mountains on mostly is known for is that it had a great flood.

There in 1889 and had a number of floods since here's this little church the way you can even see it from the road sign out there you go back in, find the church there is little church is one story seeks about 200 people to hundred people were there Friday night and all day Saturday meeting today as well to learn about God. God's there, since sparrows are gathered, God cares about the sparrows you know what Jesus had a sudden anything but. But one of them falls to the ground without the knowledge of the heavenly father are not you worth more than many sparrows.

You got the swallows swallows are a symbol for restlessness, they flip back and forth in the air from point-to-point and never seem to rest but then at the time of the year one is right for them to make. They settled on the building nest and they rest peacefully that little mast have a symbol there parts and women flitting around the place to place restlessness in this age trying to find satisfaction here in trying to find they are not finding it anywhere.

Some people like whole life pursuit about trying to find peace, rest somewhere in the Psalm tells us the swallows flit around in the sky restlessly from point-to-point founder next year. The altar of God is what it's like today. You know, Alexander McLaren said there's only one being in this whole world that doesn't fit into the world that he is the end and that is man, the chief of the foremost of all all others perfectly correspond to what we now call their environment. We don't live because were not resting in God. St. Augustine said it. It works far better known than those of Alexander McLaren. He said you have made this yourself in our hearts are restless until they rest the in Augustine was a very wise Manny looked out in life he knew what people were like what you would like. Although we live so long ago restless you say until he actually rest in God's us a question of the strongest year you would rest in God is a place for you and not important enough to know this place, even for the sparrows. He plays for the sparrows is a place for you, as a number of ways of outlining the Psalm or parts of it can be done by the seal as notice or couple of those that probably means your to pause at that point so you can break it up that way you can break it up according to the stanzas of the new international version. If you do that you have six parts.

I've avoided that because I think when handled.

It is a far better way of getting into this particular Psalm, but at this point it really is an outline that emerges in you notice it by noticing the three blessings are Beatitudes that are found in verses four, five and 12 and make a progression reverse for pronounces a blessing on those who live and work in the temple that is the price second verse five is for those who don't live in the temple, but are on their way to as the programs and finally, at the very end of the song is a blessing as it can't get the temple but nevertheless place their faith in God's look at those first of all, those who dwell in God's house.

Verse four we ought to be prepared for this particular blessing now because all Psalm has been about it.

Up to this point. Old Testament people knew that the Lord of heaven and earth doesn't dwell in the building made with hands away all explained to the Athenians looked around all their temples there in Athens. They understood that perfectly well, but nevertheless they realize it was a special blessing associated with the temple in Jerusalem. For one thing it was arranged to teach spiritual things all of the apportionments of the temple were meant to teach spiritual truth and they were arranged in such a way that they led the heart and the mind of the worshiper toward the most holy place, which was located the ark of the covenant, where God in a symbolic way was understood well. So to be there was a great blessing that to be reminded of these things, and as it were, to place themselves in the position where God could make himself particularly close to them. No, David wrote about it and 27 Psalm he wasn't a priest, he did write about how wonderful it was to go up to the temple.

He said one thing I ask of the Lord. This is what I seek, that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple was with that same feeling.

You understand that these sons of Cora write about yearning at even feigning for the courts of the Lord second blessing is pronounced on those who were making their way up to God's house on everybody was able to live in Jerusalem.

Of course, was never great city as we think of the size of cities, but most of the people were scattered throughout the countryside and small villages. Many of them on family farms was agrarian economy. These people couldn't live in Jerusalem was the priest were privileged to do what they did have the opportunity, and indeed the responsibility of making their way up to Jerusalem three times a year to the annual feast on this almost doesn't forget them either. So having said how blessed it is actually live in Jerusalem and work in the temple turns to those who are pilgrims and he says in verse five. Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage was because of that stanzas that so many of the commentators on the Psalm.

Think of it as a pilgrim, Saul is not that type pointed out, but nevertheless does talk about these programs and it pronounces two great blessings upon them. You see them as you look at it.

First of all, that they bless every area they pass through their blessing is that there are a blessing. Other people and it spells it out. They turn the Valium box. That means a valley of weeping meaning of the word in to a place of springs and secondly, that they go on from strength to strength until each appears before God in Zion is a wonderful picture of the Christian life is that we don't make our way up to an earthly city of Jerusalem, things of change.

Now the Christian era. Since the coming of Jesus Christ. But there is a temple not made with hands, in heaven and were headed toward that where like Abraham so long ago didn't look for an earthly city but rather a city with foundations built by God. That's what we're looking for. And as we make our way toward that heavenly city. We passed through many valleys of Baca many places weeping tragedies come in to our lives said things happen, people die, we lose jobs through are all kinds of disappointments but the one who was blessed by God and traveling in God and with God can actually by the grace of God turn those places. Weeping will place of springs. That is a place of refreshing and as far as going on from strength to strength.

Christians do that sweet way we go on the swing of faith is passed on from one to the other and from strength to strength, and we hope each other along the way but you know people who do I know lots of people like that once a Christians would been that to me just to be near our blessing with whom to associate this source of strength see what the Psalm is saying is that we should have that blessing each one of us were Christians and be that other people when we're around them.

They say it's good that Christian was here Grange ideas I have. Good to have them around. And when I'm discouraged. I'd much rather have them my secular boss or person works next to me in the office as a source of strength there see that I don't have is what each of us should be in verse 12 the end of this third blessing is simply for those who trust God, O Lord Almighty. Blessed is the man a trust in your I suppose that the greatest mistake we can make in looking at the Psalms are other Psalms like it is to suppose that when the writers express their passionate longing are the temple of God that all the really thinking about is the building or possibly the festivals of the car.

There were thinking about the building temple in Jerusalem did mean a lot. The Jews in this. In the festivals really were splendid times for them. It's like Easter for such an important time to make a mistake we think of all, they were thinking about is the building. What they really were thinking about was God.

And the reason they love the temple is that they met with God in the temple and that's why they love the festivals when they speak the way they do. This is why the Psalm ends with a blessing on those who simply trust God to sleep Psalms as they are right sons of Cora recognize the great blessing it is that they themselves share to be there in Jerusalem at the temple recognize the corresponding blessing of the pilgrims who can't live there make her way up to the temple regularly, but they say to themselves I know other people can't do that, whether because of old age or distance just aren't able to get up to Jerusalem, but you mustn't think because are unable to get up at the temple that there's no blessing for them. Blessing is for them minutes as real as for the others if they really trust God because the final analysis, you see, the blessing comes from knowing God, but from where you are but from knowing God in the way you see the first, immediately before this last blessing doesn't speak about the temple it expected to win to the Psalm begins by saying is wonderful to be in the temple today and was saying how wonderful it is to be in the temple, but it doesn't do that it ends by talking about God's attributes, it says for the Lord God is a son and a shield Lord bestows favor and honor no good thing is he withhold from those whose walk is blameless. This is the only place in the Bible where God is explicitly called the son.

Great image, so way of saying he's a son because his light shines upon us, and he brightens our days and illuminates our path that he provides warmth and nourishment likable that last sentence no good thing is he withhold from Moses walk is blameless is a very close equivalent to a verse. Most of us know and appreciate. Romans 828 we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him and also our shield from our foes, and as it says is the only possible source of real favor.

True honor we get to the end of the Psalm of the bottom line is simply this, that we should learn to seek God desire God. We should learn to do that in the company of these people that is in the church. Also, by looking to have a say in the company of his people in the church not because you can't see God in nature. You can see certain things about God in nature. Many people talk about that but you find out about God in nature is very limited is no real promise in the Bible which are going to find out about God in nature, but the reason the company of the people of God are two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them is what the Scripture says so we come together for that week come together for a number of things we come together because we enjoy one another's fellowship but all were simple people. We don't always enjoy that a whole lot sometimes it's difficult they continue meeting together and even more difficult to continue working together for common and so mentally that's not why we got the reason we come together is because God is here.

You don't know God you're saying well I think maybe I like to know something about God, the company of the people of God. People are meeting together praying and saying, Lord, meet with us again when you begin a service that's the way we begin and we pray that God will be here to bless us to teach us about himself.

Come join the company of people like that. Got a far better chance of finding out about God coming to know God in a personal way, earning the trust of the love in there than anywhere else, but I also say seeking not only in the company of his people. That is in the church seek him in heaven because ultimately that's where he is to be found as a way of saying we don't look to other people, but rather we look up look up we pray we don't pray to one another. When we make our request is not that the saints we make our requests to God in the name of Jesus Christ was opened the way into his presence. We say Lord make your self known to us. You are teaching us something of yourself, and because you're teaching us our hearts. Even our souls yearn to know you. Alexander McLaren said if we want rest of this class.

God is ours.

We desire a home of warm safe shoulder for every wind that blows and inaccessible to enemies this like the swallows nestle under the eaves of the temple state God or hope. Prayer father were thankful for this great Psalm one that is meant so much to your people down through the ages and which in its own way, has been the gates of paradise for many in whose hearts and minds you have awakened our yearning for yourself. Thank you that we have the privilege of learning about you here. We thank you for the company of your people that have been an encouragement to us in our pilgrimage and we thank you for those that you are bringing. You have come to know yourself. We asked that together we might be strengthened in Jesus Christ and the knowledge of yourself and your ways.

Unlike pilgrims go on from strength to strength being a blessing to those about until the day we settle down for good around the throne of your grace. The presence of Jesus Christ our Savior. Thank you for listening to this message from the Bible study our listener supported ministry of the alliance of confessing Evangelicals. The alliance is a coalition of pastors, scholars and churchmen who hold to the historic creeds and confessions of the reformed faith and who proclaim biblical doctrine in order to foster a reformed awakening in today's church. To learn more about the alliance visit alliance and while you're there, visit our online store reformed resources. You can find messages and books from Dr. Boyce and other outstanding teachers and theologians, or ask for a free reformed resources catalog by calling 1-800-488-1888. Please take the time to write to us and share how the Bible study our has impacted you. We love to hear from you and pray for you. Our address is 600 Eden Rd., Lancaster, PA 17601. Please consider giving financially to help keep the Bible study our impacting people for decades to come. You can do over the phone at 1-800-488-1888 or send a check to 600 Eden Rd., Lancaster, PA 176014 Canadian gifts mail those to 237 Hills Dr., Scarborough, ON.

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