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August 13, 2022 8:00 am
Welcome to through the songs we give ministry of the truthful teaching God's people.
God's word over time will study all 150 Psalms with pastor Don Greene from truth Community Church in Cincinnati, Ohio were so glad you're with us. Let's open to the Psalms right now as we join our teacher in the truthful to the light to be able to return to our study of the Psalms in our song for this evening is Psalm 84, I invite you to turn their with me. Psalm 84's is returning there. We all know something about the, the nature of longing for someone who isn't with us. Don't wait, especially the older we get in life. They were separated by a loved one through a trip for someone's gone away, moved away, moved to do another part of the country, even the. The absence we feel when a loved one has passed on into eternity. We all know that sense of longing for presence that can't be fulfilled in and there's just that sense of desire.
Wanting to be there wanting to be with that person. Whatever the cost of that may be will hear in Psalm 74 what we find is the psalmist longing in an even greater way for a higher presence.
The presence of the Lord himself.
Let's read the Psalm and then unpack it as we go through verse by verse here this evening. Psalm 84 verse one. How lovely are your dwelling places, O Lord of hosts, my soul longed and even yearned for the courts of the Lord, my heart and my flesh sing for joy to the living God, the bird also is found a house in the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, even your altars, O Lord of hosts, my King and my God. How blessed are those who dwell in your house, they are ever praising you Salah. How blessed is the man whose strength is in you and whose heart are the highways to Zion passing through the Valley of Baca.
They make it a spring. The early rain also covers it with blessings.
They go from strength to strength. Every one of them appears before God in Zion, O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer. Give the ear old God of Jacob Salah behold our shield of God and look upon the face of your anointed for a day in your courts is better than a thousand outside. I would rather stand at the threshold of the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness for the Lord God is a sun and shield the Lord gives grace and glory no good thing does he withhold from those who walk up rightly, O Lord of hosts. How blessed is the man who trusts in you. There's something very refreshing about this song in that it is not a Psalm of complaint. It is not a Psalm longing for for vindication against enemies. It's not a Psalm looking for strength in trial. This is a Psalm of a love song. You could even say a love song from the psalmist to the God of his salvation, the God of the covenant, the God of Israel. It's a song that is attributed to the sons of Cora we see in the in's inscription in these descendents of Levi were the gatekeepers and the musicians in the temple at Jerusalem.
You can see that in first Chronicles 26, among other places, these men were set apart for the worship of God.
They were set apart for the service at the temple and therefore they had a particular place of of access, you might say a particular closeness to the worship of God and the psalmist here is longing for that.
He seems to be as will go through and will see this.
It seems as though he is separated from it. Why we don't know, but he doesn't have that privilege of access that they do right now and he misses it he misses it. The worship of God.
The presence of God was precious to him.
It was something that he desired and and when it couldn't be fulfilled. He had that sense of longing and separation that led him to these prayers of adoration.
This prayer of of worship to God.
Now just to give a little bit of an overview of the couple of the themes of the of the song before we dive into it. You see him addressing God as the Lord of hosts four different times in the Psalm look at verse one with me.
How lovely are your dwelling places, O Lord of hosts. Verse three even your altars, O Lord of hosts, my King and my God. Verse 80 Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer, and in the concluding verse verse 12 oh Lord of hosts. How blessed is the man who trusts in you know hosts is a term that identifies God's angelic armies and Lord of hosts, therefore, is identifying God as is sovereign over all the powers in heaven, and over all the powers on earth. He is supreme over all. As you contemplate that and you contemplate the belonging nature of worship that he has is it you're seeing him express not only God's sovereignty and his rule over the unseen unseen realms of everything in creation. He is also the Lord the master the God over the inner desires of his heart he is in he is stating forth that the God you are, that the highest aspirations. You're the Lord in the master over every desire of my heart. You are my highest good and that is a wonderful place to be in this in this purity of worship. This purity of devotion. This purity of focus grabs our attention as as we start you know were blessed to have a God that welcomes our prayer to tells us to cast all our anxieties upon him because he cares for us in first Peter chapter 5 and we love him for that and we we depend upon that and we go and we ask him for daily bread. We ask him to forgive our sins, we ask him to deliver us from evil, and there is that sense of dependence that we bring in our prayer lives, especially as were going through difficult trials in life that is our privilege as believers. I don't want to diminish that or marginalize that or make that sound is anything less than the obedient kind of prayer that our Lord himself called us to. But I bet that's not what tonight's text is about. That's not what were talking about tonight.
Tonight we lay aside our our needs are dependence the things that we are concerned about the burdens on our heart and we come back to that which is central we come back to that which is sovereign over our hearts that which is supreme in our affections, and it is not the fixing of our earthly problems.
It is not the setting aside of of earthly difficulties for the true believer in Christ the ultimate good. The ultimate affection the ultimate priority is the Lord God of hosts himself heaven and earth can pass away, but his word does not pass away. Heaven and earth can pass away our lives can and will pass away, but enduring through all of that is the surpassing value the surpassing worth of the God of Scripture for us in the New Testament era revealed and known to us as the Lord Jesus Christ, the one who gave himself on Calvary for sins and Psalm 84 reminds us, helps us to cultivate a sense that he is our highest good.
He is our highest affection as the psalmist said in Psalm 73. The nearness of God is my good fact, let's just look over that by way of by way of just a little bit of a cross-reference and a reminder of what's been said in other parts of the Psalter. This surpassing desire and Psalm 73. Of course, is the opening Psalm of book 3 in the Psalter and therefore sets the tone for the books that follow. Psalm 73 through Psalm 89 in all of book 3 of the Psalter and without. I need to be careful here not to preach on Psalm 73 one Psalm 84 is my text that would be rather silly but but we see set forth in close proximity to this song the surpassing affection, love and devotion that the true believer gives to his God. Look at verse 25 of Psalm 73 whom have I in heaven, but you and besides you, I desire nothing on earth my flesh in my heart may fail but God is the strength of my heart my portion forever. For behold, those who are far from you will perish. You have destroyed all those who were unfaithful to you but as for me, the nearness of God is my good.
I have made the Lord God, my refuge, that I may tell of all your works.
As for me, the world may go other directions. The world may have other affections, the world may consume themselves with passing matters related to this world and love love sin love self-love all manner of unworthy objects what the Psalms call us to do is to recognize the surpassing the infinite worth of God himself.
The infinite worth of our Lord Jesus Christ and to set our affection on him, on the one who is unchanging. On the one who loved our soul like no other and to return to him the love that he first gave us. We love because he first loved us first John 419 and so we see as we come to the Psalm we see as we see it setting in its place in the Psalter we see that it is calling the believer in expressing for the believer, the ultimate affection of his heart and in that way challenges us to examine what it is we love challenges us to take a close look at what it is that we get upset about what we get angry about what it is that that we abuse other people over and to call us away from all of that grime and all of that all of that corruption that's in the world and in our hearts and call us to the highest place in our affections could ever reside in that is on the Lord God himself on our Lord Jesus Christ and so we see God being being exalted is sovereign over the desire even of the human heart that always fascinates me to think about. Think about it in this way you know we we know God is the creator of of the heavens and the earth.
We know him and that exalted way. We know him in the in Scripture portrays him as sovereign over every realm of creation in this great macro sense, we look up at the skies, and we see his exalted Majesty on full display for anyone that will stop and look and ponder any sovereign in that majestic realm and yet his glory and his majesty and his sovereignty is also meant to reign over the inner sanctum of your heart that through trials and tribulations through change and death and sickness and live through joy and sorrow, adversity and pleasure through all of that, the anchoring, surpassing affection of your heart would be in the God who first loved your soul. Psalm 84 points us in that direction and points us to the loftiest thing that the human heart could ever dwell on now, what can we say about the one who so loves the Lord God like that.
Well, what we find.
Also, in addition to this theme of the Lord of hosts. You also see the theme of of blessed used three times in the Psalm Psalm 84 going back to the real text for this evening. Psalm 84 verse four. How Blessed are those who dwell in your house, they are ever praising you. Verse five. How Blessed is the man whose strength is in you, in whose heart are the highways to Zion. Verse 12 oh Lord of hosts.
How Blessed is the man who trusts in you and this this idea of blessedness is is more than just the temporary emotion of of happiness.
We talked about this in the context of the sermon on the Mount in the Beatitudes many months ago, the idea of blessed means that that the person who is blessed in a biblical sense is it's not that it's not a primarily a subjective sense of happiness as much as it is a declaration and objective declaration that he is on the receiving end of divine favor of divine grace is an objective declaration that that man is in a position of having been blessed by God. Now when you are in a position of having been blessed by God that may often spill over into feelings of well-being and happiness and contentedness. But the one who has been saved by the Lord Jesus Christ is blessed whether he feels it or not, right, and so we want to have that sense in mind that that this idea of blessing is is that I am on the receiving end of favor from God, the one who Psalm 84 describes and in its immediate context. Psalm 84 is expressing the blessedness of the believer who journeys to the temple to worship the Lord. As you know, the Jews in the Old Testament are often scattered about and from time to time they would gather and they would go to Jerusalem for the appointed times of worship, they would come from a distance and gather in Jerusalem at the temple for worship in this Psalm pictures the sense of being away and moving in the direction of Jerusalem to join in the appointed place of worship. Let's see what let's see what it has to say force in its context. Verse by verse.
First of all, if you're taking notes this evening. We can see we see the psalmist expressing a longing for God's presence a longing for God's presence and I've assigned the title for tonight's message longing for your presence indicating that this is the second person you're indicating a vertical aspect. The prayer it's an address to God as we see in the first two verses as it opens up. How lovely are your dwelling places, oh Lord of hosts, my soul longed and even yearned for the courts of the Lord, my heart and my flesh sing for joy to the living God. Now God manifested his presence at the temple in the Old Testament after Solomon completed its construction and what the psalmist is expressing here is this when he says how lovely are your dwelling places, my soul yearned for the courts of the Lord, the courts being the area where the worshipers met in the Temple precinct proper.
But understand this beloved what sanctified the temple. What made the temple president Merrick made the temple precious I should say was, not the building was not the structures were not the stones which were raised up in order to make it a building. He's not longing for physical material. Obviously he is longing for the God who revealed himself in the temple. The temple was the place where God's presence was manifested and he longed for that glory.
He longed for that appointed worship that God had called his people to and so that's what he's after and what we see is that all of his faculties. All of his being all of his inner man is is swept up in this expressive desire. Look at verse two with me my soul long even yearned for the courts of the Lord, my heart and my flesh sing for joy to the living God is indicating that that his whole man is swept up in this desire for worship this desire for the presence of God and its mindful isn't it of the what Jesus expressed as the greatest commandment to love the Lord your God with all of your heart, soul, strength in mind, this inspired song is another way of expressing that in in different words, soul, heart and flesh joined together unified in an undivided desire to be in the presence of God and trip him and so what is expressing here is how beloved God's presence is to him. You know something of that. Don't choose a believer you know something of that.
It is known for taste of that in your Christian experience for taste of looking forward to being with God's people in worship on Sunday morning for taste of of of the word of God either in private or in public. Being illuminated to you by the Holy Spirit and in your your soul just wrapped up with the recognition that the God's truth is coming with power to your heart unveiling Christ to you, making him known.
Making him sweet, don't you know, this longing also in another way, in a higher way as well. Isn't it true in your better moments. Isn't it true that when you're thinking rightly that the greatest aspiration of your heart. The thing that you really long for as a believer is one day be at home with him in heaven, not in a physical temple on earth, but in the heavenly temple, where Christ is and to be with him and to be be with his manifest presence there in heaven where he now dwells when you're thinking rightly isn't that the thing that you most want. Don't you don't you have a sense within your heart that that that's where home truly is. Isn't that where the longings go man or a woman beaten down by the trials of life, the physical afflictions of life suffering in relationships, having been betrayed by friends and there's just this ground, this is all God, I just want to be with you because I know being in your presence like that will make all these other things go away and I just long to be where you are in that perfection of bliss for which Christ purchased my soul in which he is appointed to be the fulfillment of my eternal destiny longing for his presence. Well this Old Testament. St. didn't have the full benefit of all of the New Testament things that we know didn't have the fullness of the revelation of the coming of Christ and all the glories of heaven, but we see him in in the realm that in the dispensation given to him, longing for God in that same way you see beloved one of the marks of you is a true believer is that you have affections that transcend this world. That's one of the marks of a true believer is that we love things that we can't see we long for things that are not yet.
And when you see from this perspective, you start to realize how much loftier true Christianity true biblical Christianity is then than some kind of legalistic set of rules about what you should or shouldn't do in life mean come on things that are destined to perish with the using Paul said in Colossians chapter 2 well look when when you understand something of the nature of of your sin, you understand something of the nature of of of your sinful nature and your sinful choices. You realize that you were an object of wrath from God, you realize that you would send and fallen short of his glory that there was nothing good in you that in that miserable condition Christ loves you.
Nonetheless, Christ came and gave himself up for you took your burden of sin on his shoulders at the cross and endure the wrath of God on your behalf so that you might be saved. You start to recognize the loveliness of who Christ is and you love him because he is someone greater infinite, loving, merciful, gracious to you in a way that the no one on earth could ever be in the love of your heart. The affection of your heart is directed toward him in a way that is exclusive that belongs to know one else.
It's a kind of surpassing desire. We see expressed in Psalm 84 he's expressing just how lovely God's presence is to pure. This is a this is a love song to God. You could say worthy of the believers meditation today. Now he stated his desire plainly in the first two verses. He goes on to illustrated in the you know Psalms.
Of course are filled with great poetry, filled with great poetic statements but this one may be among the tops of my personal favorites. What were about to see here. Having stated his desire. Plainly he illustrates the desire he illustrates what he's talking about what it is that he wants.
And in verse three he says this he says the bird also has found a house in the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, even your altars, oh Lord of hosts, my King and my God. You know what he saying here is expressing envy is sanctified envy for the birds of the air who are able to set their nests and to build their nests somewhere in the area of the temple. He's not there and so the birds have a privilege, the birds, whose Nasser there in the Temple precinct area have a benefit that he doesn't have right now they are near this place that he longs to be. They are near the manifest presence of God and as we said he's not longing for the building. That's not what he wants but what he saying his father. These birds have a proximity to your altar that I don't enjoy right now.
I would trade places with them if I could simply saying I long to be there.
I want to be there.
I'm jealous of that so much. Do I want to be there that I'm jealous of the birds that have that privilege of being so close to your altar and it's just a poetic expression of some of the loftiest desires we could see in the Psalms anywhere he saying God I desire your presence above all else. I desire to be where you are where you are made manifest, and it is the consuming desire of his life and so he goes on, and he says in verse four. How blessed are those who dwell in your house, they are ever praising you a recognition that there were dwelling quarters for some of the temple workers there and that they had a benefit also like the birds it that their position in life required them to be right there and he says this is how blessed they are.
They have been on the receiving end of a special measure of your favor for that to be that which occupies their very life how good the birds have it that nest there how good the temple workers have it that are involved there. They have a special place of privilege to be set apart as the temple workers were for God's praise was a very high calling. He said to have a life devoted like that. God, that would be wonderful how blessed they are to be like that and to be in that position, and so he expresses this longing for the presence of God in high and lofty in poetic terms.
Secondly, we find him now describing people traveling to God's presence traveling to God's presence and what he does here as he progresses beyond the external realm of the temple beyond the external manifestation of the presence of God in those days, to the internal reality of faith is expressing and what were about to see the internal reality of faith. Look at verse five with me now. He says how blessed is the man whose strength is in you, in whose heart are the highways to Zion. CZ was talking about the temple he was talking about the dwelling places of God in the first section now he's changed his focus and he's looking at the inner man. He's looking at the man of faith and and saying something about his inner his inner nature, his inner man. His inner priorities in affections what he saying is this, saying that those who trust in the Lord have a life principle have a life vitality that transcends man to live life from a position of faith is a great blessing compared to those who worry and standalone of think about this you know when I did my series on the anxiety trap year or two ago I did a Google search on how to deal with anxiety. You do a Google search of how to deal with anxiety.
You'll get millions upon millions of hits returned back. I haven't done it recently.
The first time I did it 10 years ago was like 2 million hits. The next time that I did it a few years later, just update my research and something like 10 million hits just in general terms, it's just that simple marker simple measure of the dominating, controlling effect of anxiety and worry on the human mind on people throughout the world that there's so much on the Internet, geared to help them deal with this problem with drugs and yoga and meditative breathing in all kinds of junk like that. Well, for those of us to truly know Christ.
For those of us that know something about having a sovereign God who loved us to the point of giving himself for us at Calvary, who loved us and gave himself up for us. The one who says look my heavenly father knows when the bird of the air falls to the ground.
He feeds the birds of the year. Don't you understand that he'll care for you and feed you. Also, when you belong to him. Don't you understand that he who clothes the lilies of the field with great beauty will take care of you even more. Don't you realize that, in the words of the apostle Paul that this God who delivered you from sin who has justified you, who is declared, you righteous, who is set you on a path that leads to heaven is going to so work in every detail of your life that it will all work together for good to those who love him and are called according to his purpose.
Do you realize beloved that if you're Christian and you know this is true God. You know this is true, Christ, do you realize that to have a life that is rooted in those spiritual crews. The spiritual realities that which is real, that which is according to the way that things really are is God has made it in God is defined it for his people to live a life in that realm as opposed to the 10 million Google hits on how to deal with anxiety, none of which have any value whatsoever. None that provide any lasting help to the restless human heart.
Don't you realize that to be in the realm of those who trust in the Lord is a great great blessing. That's what this psalmist is saying in verse five how blessed is the man whose strength is in you, in whose heart are the highways to Zion now this highways to Zion Zion being a poetic reference to the city of Jerusalem. This highways design is referring to the fact that the people would make these pilgrimage to worship at the temple in Jerusalem and he's he's making a very it's almost a very subtle point, but one that's obvious once you recognize what he saying where does a trip like that start.
You have a Jew living a long way away from Jerusalem and he starts this journey. Where does that start is a weld starts when he leaves his house yet. Maybe not really starts further back, doesn't it. Where that trip starts is with a heart desire to be there heart desire for obedience, heart desire for the presence of God and he says all it's time to it's time to go. I want to be there and then you start making your plans and you you move accordingly into that into that realm those trips to worship at the temple in Jerusalem. Start first started first with that impulse in the heart that longing in the heart that you want to be there in whose heart are the highways design. I want to be there.
I want to get on the highway and go to where the temple is it's expressing this heart desire in his heart are the highways design and HEB wants to be on the highways and to get there. What we find his love for God leads to worship. It leads to obedience.
Obedience is true obedience true biblical obedience is rooted first and foremost in a love for God and biblical obedience is not too much to say biblical obedience is only fulfilled when the external action is joined together with the attitude of the heart, says God, it's a delight for me to do what you tell me to do. It is a delight for me to open your word and read it. It is a delight for me to gather together with his people and hear his word taught. It is a delight for me to speak of Christ to those who don't know him.
It is a delight for me to trust you when I can't see the outcome is a delight for me to find my comfort in you when Earth has let me down, and in all of these things these heart desires being a reflection of the prior work of grace. Those heart desires being reflective of the inner man in leading to this expression of love found in in this context the song in the worship at the temple now that trip to Jerusalem would take them through some barren land some desert lands and in Psalm 84 verse six passing through the Valley of Baco. They make it a spring.
The early rain also covers it with blessings. The commentators are not sure where this Valley of Baca may be the term Baca itself has been connected with the idea of weeping or perhaps a balsam tree. The underlying idea seems to be this that this Valley would be a desolate place as the progress the pilgrimage to Jerusalem was being made, and these pilgrims go through the desolate place on their way to Jerusalem picture at desert area.
Those of you from know something about California death Valley in the desolate desert said you drive through in eastern California that's looks like you're you've landed by mistake on the moon. Someplace rocks and sand and not much else. Well, what is expressing here. It seems to be, as I understand it anyway, is it that valleys like that are transformed transform, not necessarily physically, but they go from being a place of desolation to being a place of joy because of the pilgrimage of the joyful pilgrims on their way to Jerusalem, who are anticipating the fulfillment of their desire to be in the presence of God. All were on our way to Jerusalem were on our way to worship. There's a song in our hymnal. I don't know if we sing it, I'm not even sure ultimately how good the lyrics are sometimes hymns pop into my mind from many years ago were marching to Zion.
Beautiful, beautiful Zion were marching up for design the beautiful city of God, and that sense of joy and anticipation would transform those around them would transform the area. This is no longer a place of desolation even though outwardly it's a place of desolation. I'm joyful anticipating being in the presence of my God I can't wait to get there and suddenly the external physical desolation is transformed by the inner joy that is there something about that too, don't you know it's a pretty special thing to see. It's a great aspiration for our hearts to set our minds on when life is gone astray when life is difficult when we haven't gotten our way.
Sometimes on petty things sometimes on bigger things. Haven't you mad. Time's Christians who you knew were in those situations and yet somehow they were bubbling over with joy. They were not swept up in the difficulty of the desolation of their earthly circumstances, but instead they were consumed with their love for Christ. There was a bubbling out of them and aroma of Christ and anticipation for him a love for him.
The transcended the desert of their circumstances. I want to be a Christian like that don't you what you want to be like that.
Yeah, life is hit me hard but you know what praise be to God, I belong to Christ and that's the highest joy that I could ever have on singing while I go singing in the midst of sorrow, Christians can be like that Christians are supposed to be like that transcendent joy.
In fact, look over at first Peter chapter 1. With that thought in mind. First Peter after the book of Hebrews after the book of James.
The psalmist talking about joy in the midst of desolation. Peter talking about the spiritual reality of this to persecuted suffering believers under the hand of Nero wicked Nero in the city of Rome in the first century.
What does he say to them is praising God. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to his great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. He opens his letter with this burst of praise that is reminiscent of Ephesians chapter 1 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. He has caused us to be born again we have a living hope were going to obtain verse for an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you will be in swept up the glory were being swept up on a chariot of the fire of faith tearing us into heaven even as we read this now reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time singing as we go.
He says in verse six in this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials.
The trials are not defining the nature of your attitude are not restricting your worship. Your worship is unrestricted, your worship is well grounded, well-formed and vibrant.
Even though your distressed by various trials, even though you're passing through this desert of discouragement.
These spiritual realities rooted in the presence of God now and yet to come in the future, and that in that inheritance. It is reserved in heaven for you. Oh, beloved believer, you have every reason to rejoice, and you should should we should verse eight. Though you've not seen him, you love him see the defections the priorities here, though you do not see him now, but believe in him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your soul. You know, if you wanted to bow your head and just a brief moment of repentance over some of your sour attitudes of your be a worthy response to the magnificent trees were seeing here, you know those close to you.
Those that you've interacted with have they been on the receiving end of this kind of joyful overflow of the worshiping heart from you or if they been on the receiving end of your bitter barbs and criticisms your nagging's your complaints. Beloved, we should be living at a higher level than that. Should my when we have this presence of the living God, both now and come that's defining the very nature of our existence.
Sure, it's convicting but the Lord convicts us simply to rid us of those unworthy things and to replace it with the kind of joy that is described in first Peter chapter 1 and in Psalm 84, and in multiple other places in Scripture.
Now going back to Psalm 84 what we find is this, we find that that joy of God's people simply brings in aroma of life to everything around him.
They go from strength to strength. Every one of them appears before God in Zion. They go from strength to strength. In this way, beloved, this is the picture of it is that they have this understanding of truth.
They have the reality of true salvation as their starting point as their firm starting point. As they grow in that as as they develop. As they move closer to Jerusalem. The joy increases it a better balance.
It overflows even more.
Oh sure, the journey in those days to Jerusalem might be physically taxing, but the anticipation of temple worship, which prompted them to go on the journey to begin with. Help them to persevere and what started in that early desire all it's time for the appointed worship.
It's time for the fees. Let's get up and go there joy only increase the closer that they got because fulfillment was closer now than it ever been before.
I don't think that it's stretching the application in these New Testament times to realize that the older we get, the more joy should be abounding and increasing rather than discouragement and complaints over the limitations it later years of life bring in the health troubles it brings in some the challenges and family disappointments that it brings. Nothing goes the way you wanted to I get all of that. But when that is depressing us and turning us into sour people you know we've really missed something fundamental here we've missed something really really important. Everyone of us that are in Christ have reason for greater joy today than we did yesterday why because were one day closer to glory were one day closer to heaven. In this journey there were going through passing through it's it's just a little further down the heavenly Jerusalem is just a little further on in the more that we go the more that we walk in the more that we have the presence of God blessing us day by day, the greater our anticipation.
Second Corinthians chapter 3 verse 18.
They go from glory to glory, we grow in glory. We grow in sanctification as we move closer to the final destination is in a true when you go on a trip long planned vacation maybe or fly into a favorite destination or you're just going home to see loved ones. All of a sudden you're just a few minutes away. See the water out in front of you is the planes coming down for landing or you can smell the aroma of food in the kitchen as you start to open the door and the joy disbursing grows even more. The closer you get.
That's a sense of what the Christian life is meant to be for us as we grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ, we grow in the understanding that heaven is our home and were closer than we've ever been in. The joy magnifies when we go from one position of strength. One position of joy that we knew in our earlier days it's even greater now from strength to strength, from strength to greater strength and joy to greater joy because fulfillment is just that much closer now than it was before. This is the truth for everyone. In Christ, and I just want to go back and say you know it's really important for you and I to look at ourselves in the mirror to contemplate our lives to think about what's been animating the attitudes of our heart to think about what's been coming out of our mouths to think about what we've been doing and to let the magnitude and the glory and the joy of these things sanctify that which is been unworthy that we would not go back into those things ever again, and to let this permanently transform us to permanently sanctify this to the good of parcels right so when they arrive at the temple there going to be filled to overflowing now.
Thirdly, we saw an longing for God's presence. We see him traveling for God's presence to God's presence. Finally, point number three worshiping in God's presence worshiping in God's presence upon arrival the pilgrims turn to prayer verse 80 Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer give Vero God of Jacob there now and in worship, and they are turning to prayer in response in here in this Jewish context in this Old Testament context they pray for God's blessing upon their king. This isn't quite as evident in her first superficial reading. But in verse nine it says behold our shield of God and look upon the face of your anointed the shield and the anointed are a reference to the king, Israel's king and beloved. It's hard for us in this 21st-century mindset where we've grown up assuming democratic institutions and the politics of our days. It's hard for us to fully identify with this, but to the faithful Jews. Their king was a symbol of God's reign on earth. The well-being of the king affected all the people of the nation and so as so much. The psalmist is asking the king who was there shield who was their earthly defender as the leader of their armies who who was God's anointed leader to them. The psalmist is asking God to look upon him with favor to look upon him, and to bless him, behold our shield of God and look upon the face of your anointed because the favor of God in worship. The favor of God with his people was superior to every other possible blessing, but it verse 10 says for giving the ground for his prior prayer for God's blessing on the king and there through the king upon all the people he says in verse 10 for a day in your courts is better than a thousand outside.
I would rather stand at the threshold of the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness. What's he saying remember his longing for God's presence is longing for temple worship is longing for to be with the people of God in worship and what he saying here is a total abandonment of earthly motivations.
He says it's better for me. I prefer to be on the threshold of the temple, then to share ill-gotten gains with the wicked.
I would rather simply be on the threshold of your presence than to have everything that the wicked have to offer in this life. Why would you say that you know that the truth of the matter is the truth of the matter is that this is one of the surest distinguishing marks of a redeemed heart versus that which is unredeemed. Perhaps someone just living in an a in a delusion, self-deception have a sense it, that and I'm speaking very metaphorically here always try to be careful what I'm saying that things like what I'm about to say. I would rather dwell in the. The most remote corner of heaven than to have the greatest palace on earth. The true believer understands that the true believer identifies with that of course there would be no other way to think about life to be in the corner of heaven would be to be in his presence, even if it seemed remote even as seem to be a humble corner that you were assigned again.
I'm speaking very metaphorically here but to compare that to being an unbeliever lost and condemned in a mortal life in the highest palace. There is no comparison give me the corner of heaven over the mansions of Bill Gates any day, any day see this as defining priorities. This is defining affections and when you're affections are clear in your heart, then life starts to make some measure of sense and you go from strength to strength with the ability to view this life to hold this life to hold your position to hold your affections to hold the people that you love hold them with a little bit of a loose hand, I can let this go. I can let this person go.
I can let this opportunity go.
I can let this job go and not be dislodged from my position of joy and confidence and faith.
Why because I have a permanent possession that no one can take away and in that certainty in that foundation.
I have my place to stand and so for those of you that are facing no immediate change in your life. It's just around the corner, here's your stability.
Here's that which anchors your heart even when everything else is going to change.
It seems like you're losing everything earthly in a sense, I understand that but understand that in an alternate sense. Nothing's changed or not losing and not losing your Christ and not losing your hope you're not you losing the love the one who gave himself for you on the cross. All that goes with you. You carry all of that with you because you're in the hand of a Christ who will never let you go and so what we see here is this in verse 11. Why is it better to have these heavenly riches. Why is it better to have the presence of God in everything the world has to offer. Why why why what is it that the world can't see. That's just so clear and obvious to us. Verse 11 for the Lord God is a sun and shield the Lord gives grace and glory no good thing does he withhold from those who walk up rightly.
This is a great God. He is the son of our life.
He is our shield and defense. He doesn't withhold anyone who walks with him in humble obedience to the humble believer in Christ today. There is nothing being withheld from you that would be for your good. God is so completely sovereign and so completely wise and so completely loving over every detail of your life you can have a perfect confidence that even though you don't understand he is acting as your defense, your provider, your Redeemer and your friend in the midst of it all.
That's a blessed place to be. As the psalmist says as he closes in verse 12, the Lord of hosts.
How blessed is the man who trusts in you. What was seen here is this the Lord is transcendent. The sun and shield, and yet he is good to his people.
He protects them. He provides all that they need and and and how how do we access that how is what what Linksys to that what joins us to that no merit of our own. No works or rituals could ever merit that psalmist says look in verse 12, where is this joy this provision.
This care this soul satisfying love to be found. O Lord of hosts. How blessed is the man who trusts in you.
It is faith in this God that Linksys to all of these blessings. It's a free gift. A gift of grace a gift of love from a gracious father to his unworthy children just the last word of New Testament application here. I've already said a lot of these things but you know what somethings were saying two or three or four times. Even in a single hour. Those of us who know Christ were in an even superior position to what the psalmist perceived his position to be. Oh, I'm not saying that he was not saved, not not far to the contrary, we just have more revelation upon which to base our faith. Faith in Christ links us to his righteousness, faith in Christ joins us with his salvation we are brought into a perfect union with him where everything that belongs to Christ is now shared with us that is how great the fullness of God is. We live in the reality of a greater fullness. That is been given to us in the Lord Jesus Christ in his coming in his redemption in his ascension and his intercession for us in high we have we have so so much. The tongue can't describe it. There are words there are human words outside of Scripture to begin to speak of the majesty of the glory that is our position in Christ you know your said, I think you're still in Psalm 84 I was turning away to something else, let me just point one thing out to you. Here's were about to close at the end of verse 11, Psalm 84. The psalmist as he was riding some let's say a thousand years in rough terms before the coming of Christ said this no good thing does God withhold from those who walk up rightly you want to know how full that statement was. He was speaking beyond what he could've known at the time, as the Spirit gave him utterance in Romans chapter 8 verse 32. It says this says God did not spare his own son, but delivered him over for us all, how will he not also with him freely give us all things, the great good one is the Lord Jesus Christ. There is no greater good than him. There is no one better than him. There is no one who transcends him. He is the highest the ultimate the great good incarnate himself and God did not withhold him from he sent him. Christ gave himself for us freely gladly in love gave himself the ultimate good. In Christ, and God did not hold him back from us. He gave them over for our salvation and you can go further, go further than that. What we have. Also is New Testament believers. Every one of us in Christ have the presence of Christ dwelling within us in the person of the Holy Spirit. We don't need a temple will need an earthly temple anymore to know the presence of God. The presence of God is come to us in the Holy Spirit. Christ came, he sent the Spirit in the spirit indwells every believer.
Romans 89. Beloved, do you see the magnitude of your salvation you see the greatness of what God has done and and and and and we have even more as I been saying our ultimate worship is not a temple on earth it's a temple in heaven, where the Lord God himself is the light which illumines everything around it will worship in heaven, not for time not to better days long feast in Jerusalem will worship forever and that temple where Christ dwells with him face-to-face. No wonder Scripture tells us to set our desires.
There Colossians 3. Don't set your mind on the things of the earth. Set your mind on the things of heaven, where Christ is, oh, beloved, I understand that you may go through times of unfulfilled desire. I know that you may be in those times right now in life. It seems has was fun and you've lost when you're looking at it from an earthly perspective.
Let me encourage you to go back when you go home tonight if that's you go back to Psalm 84, in light of the coming of Christ, because Psalm 84 encourages you to look to your Christ to know that God has withheld no good thing from you. If you have Christ, God hasn't withheld anything from you and then from that renewed heart. Psalm 84 has led us to trust your God trust your Christ to fulfill and to finish that great work which he is begun in you, but bow together in prayer. Oh great God of highest praise. We thank you for our Christ, we thank you for the unfathomable incalculable grace that you have shown to us. It truly is amazing. Lord we views that adjutant so many times that we start to run out of adjectives that give us a fresh expression to the wonder that is in our hearts as we contemplate your goodness to us. So father rather than looking for for mere human words he could never do what's in our hearts. Justice we just appeal to your knowledge. Father, we appeal to you. Who knows all things look into our hearts. Father, though they are tainted with corruption. With Peter we say look at our hearts and know that we love know that we trust you know that we thank you for this wonderful blessing that is ours to be in Christ, to be known by him to belong to him and have a destiny that is wrapped up with him. Indeed, so, so certain is it that we can say that we have died in our lives are hidden with Christ in God. That is wondrous.
That is great. Our father, we thank you for this name. Amen. Will friend thank you for joining us on through the Psalms. If you would like to follow my weekly messages from truth community church go to truth Community Church.org and look for the link titled pulpit podcast again.
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