In “preaching study” posts, I share study & reflection as I prepare the Sunday message . I welcome interaction in this process, so feel free to share your thoughts. All Scripture quotes are from the NRSV unless otherwise noted. Thanks!
Psalm 84 is the third and final installment of my sermons from the psalms during the month of May. Here are just a few observations before I get back to packing for our move in a couple of weeks.
With the insertion of “Selah” (a poetic or musical term that most believe indicates a rest of some sort), the psalmist makes the outline pretty straightforward. I’ve identified them with the three “blessedness” or “beatitude” phrases that occur in the psalm, one in each of the segments marked by the selah’s. In the first section, it’s in the last line (v4), in the second section, it’s in the first line (v5), and in the third section, it’s in the last line (v12), which is also the last line of the psalm, of course.
vv1-4 – The blessedness of living in God’s house
vv5-8 – The blessedness of finding one’s strength in God
vv9-12 – The blessedness of trusting in God
The psalm is permeated by a sense of God’s dwelling/house/court (6 instances of these terms). The psalmist is interested in the “place” of God. Why is that? How does that prominent interest shed light on our reading of the other themes of the psalm: God’s provision, God’s strength, and the utter joy of knowing God.
Most of us know Psalm 84, if for no other reason, than because of the modern worship song “Better Is One Day,” based on portions of this psalm. It touches the passionate within us in verses 1-2, and 10, used in that song, and evokes our own sense of longing for God.