“How lovely is your dwelling place,
O Lord of hosts!
2 My soul longs, yes, faints
for the courts of the Lord;
my heart and flesh sing for joy
to the living God.
3 Even the sparrow finds a home,
and the swallow a nest for herself,
where she may lay her young,
at your altars, O Lord of hosts,
my King and my God.
4 Blessed are those who dwell in your house,
ever singing your praise! Selah”
How excited are you to go to church on Sunday morning? Do you eagerly jump out of bed, rush to get dressed and anxiously wolf down breakfast so you are sure not to be a moment late? Are you waiting by the door in anxious anticipation of leaving for the services?
I have to be honest. That is not a picture of me on most Sundays. While I love attending worship in God’s house with other believers, as a busy pastor’s wife, mom and volunteer, I often have other tasks on my mind and heart.
We don’t know for certain the author of this Psalm, but we believe it is David, and it probably was written during the time he was forced outside the city of Jerusalem due to his son Absalom’s rebellion. David was a grieving man. He grieved his son’s rebellion and grieved not being in his home and able to worship God in the holy city.
This is a Psalm of worship. I am humbled as I read David’s words, and reminded of the value of worship. Verse 1 tells us, “How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts.” Some commentaries say this is a reference to the Shechinah, or dwelling place of God, which is surrounded by cherubim, God’s holy angels. There are several courts where the people came, and then the tabernacle itself consisted of the most holy of holy places where God himself dwelt.
David showed just how much he longed to be in God’s house, worshiping in God’s presence. Even birds find their home, and God’s house is our home as believers in Christ.
It’s easy to get caught up in life’s busy schedules and forget the privilege of worship in God’s house. Here are two ways I have found help bring meaning back to worship for me:
- We get everything ready for Sunday mornings the night before. Clothes are laid out, items we need are in the car. The less we rush around on Sunday morning, the more I am able to focus on why I am going to church.
- When I sit down to worship, I take a few minutes to notice my surroundings – the altar, the stained glass and the banners. What color are the paraments and why? I remind myself I am in God’s presence for a reason today. I want to worship Him, receive from Him and surround myself with a community of fellow believers.
Gracious God, thank you for the amazing privilege I have of worshiping you in freedom and truth. Help me never take it for granted. Amen.