1. When you think of going to the following places what emotions do you feel: Home; Parents Home; Children’s Home; Wal-Mart; Bass Pro Shop; Shopping in general; Church?
2. Why do we associate certain places with particular emotions?
3. What are some places that have special emotional significance for you or your family?
4. Do you ever find yourself humming or singing a hymn on your way to church? (I must confess I do. It is not uncommon for me to be singing a hymn on my way to church.)
5. Why do you think a person would be singing a hymn on their way to worship? (Anticipation of being with God’s people and praising God together for all He has done and will do in our lives.)
Psalm 84 is classified as a Royal Psalm. It offers prayers for God’s blessings on Israel’s King with some hint of messianic fulfillment. Although not a formal classification it could be called a Psalm of Assent. It is thought that it was sung as pilgrims made their way to Jerusalem to worship at the Temple. Their excitement grew as they got closer and closer to Jerusalem.
One of the descendants of Korah wrote this Psalm. The sons of Korah were “gate keepers” at the Tabernacle and later on the Temple.
Listen for hints of their excitement!
The Passion! Read Psalm 84:1-4
1. What words or phrases describe how the psalmist felt about God’s dwelling place? (Lovely; Even birds nest there; Those who reside there are very happy.)
2. What words or phrases describe how the psalmist felt about God Himself? (Lord of Hosts; My King and my God; Praise You continually.)
3. What one emotion seems to describe how the psalmist feels about both God and His house? (The psalmist wrote “I long and yearn for the courts of the Lord; my heart and flesh cry out for the living God.”)
4. Why did the psalmist associate the presence of the Lord so closely to the Temple? (The Holy of Holies, where the Ark of the Covenant was located, was where the High Priest went in once a year to sprinkle the blood of the sacrificed lamb, and it was associated with the very presence of God! It was thought of as God’s dwelling place here on earth.)
5. Have you ever long for, yearned for, cried out for the presence of someone?
6. What role does passion play in worship?
7. How does the expectation of God’s presence impact that passion?
8. Where is God’s dwelling place here on earth now? (The hearts of the believers.(1 Cor. 3:16 “Don’t you yourselves know that you are God’s sanctuary and that the Spirit of God lives in you?”)
9. What is the role of a particular place in feeling close to God? (Of course, God is everywhere but His presence is felt more strongly when God’s people are gathered. In Matthew 18:20 Jesus says, “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there among them.” His presence is manifest in the company of two or more gathered in His name. See Heb. 10:25.)
God is everywhere simultaneously, yet He promises that when His people gather in a designated place to worship Him and seek Him, He will meet with them there and reveal Himself to them.
Selah—Most likely a musical notation meaning to pause.
The Priority! Read Psalm 84:5-7
1. How did the people described here make worship of God the highest priority? (They were on a pilgrimage to the temple to worship. The trip is characterized as having difficulties and hardships, but also as energizing to those making the journey, because they knew the joy of worship that awaited them.)
The Valley of Baca (Bay kuh) wasn’t necessarily a place but a metaphor. Baka derives from the Hebrew term meaning “to weep.” So the valley of Baca is similar to Psalm 23’s “valley of the shadow of death” (KJV).
2. What is the value of God’s presence for the psalmist?
3. How does God’s presence serve as a source of strength? (Finding strength in God is not a sign of weakness but instead is our source of happiness. God meets us in our weakness!)
4. How do we go “from strength to strength”? (As we are strengthened through one crisis our faith is stronger and in the next crisis face we should be stronger.)
5. How do strong decisions and actions encourage further strong decisions and actions? (We must be certain we are waiting on the Lord for our directions.)
The experience of worship can bend our question marks into exclamation points!
6. How does God’s presence serve as a source of strength?
The Prayer! Psalm 84:8-9
1. What is the specific prayer in verses 8-9?
2. Who is the psalmist praying for, and why? (For the King of Israel. That God would consider the King and bless him.)
3. How is a godly king/leader a shield for his people?
4. Why is it so important that God direct the king/leader?
5. How did the realization that God anoints rulers and leaders impact how the psalmist prayed?
The word “anointed” referred literally to the king of Israel, but it is also reference to Jesus, the coming Messiah. The Hebrew word translated “anointed one” is where we get our word “Messiah.”
6. Does God still anoint leaders/place them in leadership today?
7. What is our responsibility to our leaders today? (We have a God given responsibility to pray for our leaders, whether we like them or not! 1 Tim. 2:2)
The Presence! Read Psalm 84:10-12
1. Why do you suppose Psalm 84:10 is so favored and frequently repeated? (Being a “doorkeeper” in the house of the Lord was a menial task. Remember the writer of this psalm was a descendant of Korah, and they were the “gatekeepers” in the house of the Lord.)
2. The psalmist declared the joy of being in God’s presence even in an outer court. Why is being near God so valuable? (Being near God equips us to have the characteristics He has. After all, aren’t we to be like Jesus! The best way is to be near Him!)
3. Verse 11 is the only place in Scripture that “God is a sun.” In what way would you compare God to the sun for us? (Without the sun everything on earth would die. God is literally the light or life for us!)
4. How is God our shield?
5. What is the condition here for God to give grace, glory and good to His people? (Integrity.)
6. We generally know what it means to live with integrity in our daily lives but what does it mean to worship with integrity?
7. How does God’s indwelling presence help us live with integrity?
Happiness results when we put our complete trust in the Lord!
8. What modern-day illustration might convey the same trust as the psalmist expressed?
9. What makes God’s presence so compelling?
Summarize and Challenge!
· Believers are to worship God passionately in light of who He is.
· God offers strength for life to those who seek to worship Him.
· Believers are to pray for their leaders and for God’s direction as they lead.
· Believers are to respond to God’s presence with worship and praise.
I love the word synergy! It means the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. In our context, it means that there is such a connection among individuals that it is better than what each one would be individually! We are stronger spiritually together than we are individually. Pray for each other and support each other as well as our leaders!