Hear my prayer, O LORD God Almighty;
listen to me, O God of Jacob.

Look upon our shield, O God;
look with favor on your anointed one.
Psalm 84:8-9

I love the way the Psalmist throws a prayer into his Psalm. He has been writing (singing, actually) about how wonderful God’s dwelling place is and how He blesses those who walk His path. Then the Psalmist turns and directs a quick prayer to God. I want my life to reflect that. (What I really want is for my life to reflect this entire Psalm.) I want to be one who longs for His presence, who experiences His peace, who ever praises Him, and in the midst of it all, who turns my heart toward Him and whisper a prayer. “Hear my prayer, O Lord. Look upon our strength, O God. Look with favor upon your anointed one.”

The prayer seems to reflect a secret intimacy between the author and God. The Psalmist doesn’t dwell on his request or pray a long flowing prayer. He is in the midst of singing to the Lord about His wonderful fellowship, and He simply pauses to address God directly. It’s that pause and looking at God and asking for His blessing that carries the sense of intimacy for me. I’m reminded of conversations with my husband in which we are talking along about one subject, interrupt ourselves for a quick request, then move back to the original subject. No, my husband and I aren’t typically singing praises to one another (although we’ve been known to do that – try it some time, you’ll like it!), but the passage is reminiscent of a shared intimacy that allows for conversations to be interrupted and continued. Of course, the intimacy factor is ramped up in the Psalm because of the subject matter here.

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.

Psalm 84:10

The Psalmist returns to the theme he started with in verse 1. How lovely is God’s dwelling place! It is so lovely, that the Psalmist would rather spend one day with God than a thousand elsewhere. Lord, if I only have one day, let me spend it with you. Is that your heart’s cry?

Then the Psalmist goes a step further. The word translated “doorkeeper” is only used once in the Old Testament, and that usage is here in this verse. That makes providing a true definition difficult. It comes from a root word that used more commonly, however, and the root word can be translated “threshold.” The Psalmist may be saying that he would rather live one day in the thresholds of God’s courts – notice that’s just outside the temple – just outside, but very near the presence of God – the Psalmist would rather live there than inside the tents of the wicked. Again, it begs the question: Is that your heart’s cry? I so want it to be mine.

For the LORD God is a sun and shield;
the LORD bestows favor and honor;
no good thing does he withhold
from those whose walk is blameless.

O LORD Almighty,
blessed is the man who trusts in you.

Psalm 84:11-12

The Psalmist ends speaking adoration and truth. The Lord is a sun and shield. He will enlighten and protect. He will bestow favor and honor. He will withhold no good thing. Truly, the person who trusts in this Lord is blessed.

Wow! What a Psalm! I said at the beginning of our meditation and I’ll repeat it here – it is a perfect psalm for calming frayed nerves, soothing weary souls, and bolstering waning faith. We live in a rapid-paced world (is that the understatement of the century?) and we have an enemy who seeks to defeat our faith at every opportunity. Psalm 84 is a place we can go to combat both those enemies of our soul. Its twelve verses whisper volumes to my spirit.

Comments are closed.

© copyright 2009-2013, Data Designs Publishing and Sandra J. Hovatter