A Journey of Hope
Like a marathoner set your heart on one thing—finishing the good journey of enjoying God's presence.
Today I'd like to look at Psalm 84. Someone once called the book of Psalms "the soul's medicine chest," and I think that's a good description. When my soul is sick and needy, I turn to the Psalms. This particular psalm describes a journey of hope. The Christian life as a journey is the controlling metaphor in perhaps the most famous book written on the Christian life, Pilgrim's Progress. John Bunyan's hero, aptly named Christian, makes his way to the Celestial City. That's also the idea behind the song Amazing Grace: "Through many dangers, toils, and snares I have already come. 'Tis grace that brought me safe thus far and grace will lead me home."
The idea of life as a journey or pilgrimage is a solid metaphor for our life as Christ-followers in this world. But for the one who wrote Psalm 84 it was more than a metaphor. This psalm is about a real pilgrimage. It's set in the glory days of Israel; perhaps when King Solomon ruled. Every year crowds would flock to Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles. They'd make the journey from all over Israel to the Holy City to worship at the Temple. Their homes might have been a long way from God's house, but they journeyed none the less. Psalm 84 expresses the heartbeat of one unnamed pilgrim as he journeys to Jerusalem:
How lovely is your dwelling place,
My soul yearns, even faints,
for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out
for the living God.
Even the sparrow has found a home,
and the swallow a nest for herself,
where she may have her young— a place near your altar,
Lord Almighty, my King and my God.
Blessed are those who dwell in your house;
they are ever praising you.
Blessed are those whose ...
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Mark Mitchell is pastor of Central Peninsula Church in Foster City, California.