SUNDAY, 15 APRIL 2018
We all desperately need heavenly strength! A Christian supposed to always live in the strength of God, so we can walk from strength to strength. But how many times we may find that we were very exhausted with all problems in this life and then we feel very weak? Psalm 84 is the important and powerful message for all believers, so we can live in a powerful Christian life!
The Blessedness of Dwelling in the House of God
To the Chief Musician. On an instrument of Gath. A Psalm of the sons of Korah.
1 How lovely is Your tabernacle, O Lord of hosts! 2 My soul longs, yes, even faints for the courts of the Lord; My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. 3 Even the sparrow has found a home, And the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young—Even Your altars, O Lord of hosts, My King and my God. 4 Blessed are those who dwell in Your house; They will still be praising You. Selah
5 Blessed is the man whose strength is in You, whose heart is set on pilgrimage. 6 As they pass through the Valley of Baca, they make it a spring; The rain also covers it with pools. 7 They go from strength to strength; Each one appears before God in Zion. 8 O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer; Give ear, O God of Jacob! Selah
9 O God, behold our shield, and look upon the face of Your anointed. 10 For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness. 11 For the Lord God is a sun and shield; The Lord will give grace and glory; No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly. 12 O Lord of hosts, blessed is the man who trusts in You! Psalm 84:1-12 NKJV
WHERE IS OUR HOME?
The psalmist expressed his desire for the house of the Lord and he wanted to dwell in God’s house, just like the sparrow in its home and the swallow in its nest! If we want to absorb the heavenly strength, the first thing to do is build the correct home. Home is the only place where we can have a good rest, we feel secure, and we can recharge our energy at full! Home is a one-stop for everything that we need for our life in a whole. No matter how wonderful and how long holiday that we have, we always miss our home because there is no place like our home!
We are not supposed to dwell in the house of God literally, but we must have the house of God spiritually. Building our intimate relation with God is just like building a home or a nest. It is not a one-night process! We need to be serious and committed to build up our relationship with God day by day and time by time until we can really see that as our home. If we already assume our devotional time as our home base, we can do it joyfully, faithfully, and also easily, just like the sparrow that come back to its nest everyday! Dwell in God’s presence is the main source of our strength. The Old Testament called this idea as Sabbath, not only weekly but also monthly and even the year of Sabbath! In the New Testament we get the concept of Sabbath as enter into His rest, ceased from our own work so we will not fall down!
8 For if Joshua had given them rest, then He would not afterward have spoken of another day. 9 There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. 10 For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His. 11 Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience. Hebrews 4:8-11 NKJV
Having a regular and dedicated devotional time will supply us with heavenly strength. We need to come home in our spiritual home! We must be diligent to enter that rest. We must build that home seriously, so we can get our strength renewed and refreshed time by time. Blessed are those who dwell in God’s house, because they will still be praising God.
SET OUR HEART ON PILGRIMAGE
Pilgrimage is defined as a pilgrim’s journey, a journey to a place of particular interest or significance. Pilgrimage is also defined as life viewed as a journey. People may say that pilgrimage is happened when we have a holiday to the Holy Land (Israel). But pilgrimage is not only limited to that kind of tour! Whenever we see our life as a journey we will always keep looking forward to our real destination. The psalmist wrote: “Blessed is the man whose strength is in You, whose heart is set on pilgrimage.” We need to set our heart on pilgrimage mode.
When people take a tour to the Holy Land, usually they will get a pastor as the tour leader because people would like to get full advantage in knowing what the Bible had said about the place that they are going to see and visit, what had happened there, and get the tangible experiences with the event that already happened in the Bible. People will start to talk about the Holy Bible and discuss it because they start to set their heart on pilgrimage. It is good to see and to do, however we need to understand that we need to set our heart on pilgrimage, not only when doing the tour to the Holy Land but every day in our life!
1 If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. Colossians 3:1-4 NKJV
We must set our mind on things above! That’s the thing that must be done by all believers who already raised with Christ! We need to pursue God’s favour and not the acceptance from this world! Peter and John said to the Sanhedrin: “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.” Ac.4:19-20. Peter and John always seek for God’s favour even though they were in risk to be put in the jail! Peter and John gave example for us how they set their heart on things above. They put it as priority above everything in their life. When we set our heart on the pilgrimage we will be hidden in Christ and the Lord will fight for us Ex.14:14. We will not be exhausted because it is always God who stands and fights for us. “Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,” says the Lord of hosts Zech.4:6. When we set our heart on the pilgrimage, God Himself will prepare the best way for us. The psalmist wrote how God was able to fill in the valley of Baca with rain, so hardly and massive to change it into pools! The Valley of Baca means a valley of weeping. It represents the moment in life when tears and weeping will dominate, and people can’t find any reason to be happy in it. Even though the Valley of Baca may be happened in the journey of our life, God promised that He is more than able to make it a spring! Moreover, our Mighty God will send out the rain to cover it with pools. How wonderful and how great the strength that God had prepared for us!
We need to always double check if our foot already in the path of pilgrimage or not. When we walk in the path of pilgrimage, God will prepare every strength that we need, He will open the way, He will be our Provider, Jehovah Jireh Gen.22:14. When Paul did the missionary journey, he always finds the new and fresh strength in the midst of trouble and persecution. Those who set their heart on pilgrimage will appears before God in Mount Zion! Just as what already written by Paul: When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory Col.3:4.
CONCLUSION: GOD IS OUR SUN AND SHIELD
The psalmist told us that God is a sun and shield, the Lord will give grace and glory! In the days of psalmist, the night always terrible and scary. In dangerous condition, people will expect that the sun will rise up quickly. But for those who have God as their strength, God will be their sun and they do not need to be afraid anymore with the darkness of night! When God become our strength, He will not withhold any good things from us, as long as we walk uprightly!
We will be able to walk from strength to strength when we have God as our sun. God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin 1Jo.1:5,7. Having God as our sun means that we need to always walk in righteousness and not walk in darkness! Walking in the darkness will make people become weak. Even our physical body is designed amazingly to walk in enough sunshine, so we can become strong.
After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, saying, “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.” Genesis 15:1 NKJV
God is our shield as well. As God promised to Abram, He also want to make a covenant with His people. We don’t need to be afraid about anything because He is our shield. He will take care of us, so our strength will never become dry. Let’s abide in Him and He in us, so we can always be strong and walk from strength to strength. AMEN.