1 How lovely is your dwelling place,
O Lord of Heaven’s Armies.
2 I long, yes, I faint with longing
to enter the courts of the Lord.
With my whole being, body and soul,
I will shout joyfully to the living God.
3 Even the sparrow finds a home,
and the swallow builds her nest and raises her young
at a place near your altar,
O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, my King and my God!
4 What joy for those who can live in your house,
always singing your praises.
There are some things that leave an indelible mark, deep down into our souls. For me, one instance I remember staying at Simpson College on Silver Ave. in San Francisco in June 1986. The dorms were empty and I had a whole floor to myself. The campus was gorgeous; the roses were in full bloom.
I found a little “mom and pop” corner market nearby which had an awesome deli. Here I could buy cold cuts, some excellent braunschweiger, and freshly baked sourdough bread. I returned to my room to build my sandwich.
I remember that the windows were open and there was a beautiful breeze. Food, warm sun, flowers in bloom and the Holy Spirit are just about ready to ‘intersect’ in my life. It would be a holy collision.
It was simply a moment that I captured and savored. Everything seemed to coincide, it was magical in the best sense of the word. It was beautiful, that is all I can say. That time in that dorm room has become a crystalline moment that I will never forget. Right there, it seemed I fell in love, not with a girl, but with a moment in time and place.
That nostalgia lays thick on the shoulders of the writer of Psalm 84. He remembers and savors those powerful memories of his visit to the temple. He was given something at that particular moment that would follow him for the rest of his life.
The beauty of that experience was inviolable and true and could never be duplicated. This treasure was his. As he aged he could tell his grandchildren, “I walked with God.” And really mean it.
I personally believe God gives us these holy moments, wrapped in wonder and awe. When the Holy Spirit deeply touches in this way you will never, ever be the same.
The psalmist has the same hunger. These moments in the temple which are so blessed have also ‘ruined’ him. Often special times of God’s presence will result in a ‘sanctified’ dissatisfaction with the present status quo.
But when we finally make our way to Jesus, life takes on a special and curious wonder. When the rain finally comes to the barren desert, an explosion of life bursts out. In much the same way, our lives are ‘watered’ by Jesus. Things get very green and lush as we live in the Spirit. All of this is in contrast to our dry and desperate life without His presence.
I want to become hungry for His presence. I so want to be in the center of wherever He is at. I admit that His grace and love has spoiled me. But the love of Jesus does this. Normal life seems to be nothing more than a boring journey into ‘black & white’, but somehow He turns it all into stunning color.
The psalmist practically begs to be returned to the temple. He wants to be there, more than anything else. It is now his true home. He will not be satisfied with anything less.
I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord.
Apart from you, I have nothing good.”