Do you ever have a deep, intense craving? I often find myself drooling over the cartons of Blue Bell Ice Cream at my local grocery store. (If you aren’t familiar with Blue Bell, it may be because this creamy, decadent indulgence is only available in 20 states. But it’s worth moving to Texas for!)
No other kind of frozen treat will do. No other brand of ice cream will suffice. It must be Blue Bell and it must be a lot of Blue Bell.
In Psalm 84, the psalmist expresses a yearning that can only be satisfied by the presence of God. Nothing and no one else will satiate the deep longing of his soul. He is so desperate to be with God, he would trade 1,000 days of being anywhere else for just one day of being with the LORD.
In his book “Reflections on the Psalms,” C.S. Lewis calls this an “appetite for God.” Do we have an appetite for God that can only be satisfied in His presence?
According to biblical scholars, this psalm may have been sung by pilgrims on their way to the temple. Any Jews that lived outside Jerusalem made pilgrimages to the temple three times a year – for Passover, Feast of Tabernacles, and Pentecost. The temple symbolized God’s presence. These pilgrimages into the presence of God were considered rare and special. During the journey they anticipated the blessing and joy of once again being close to Yahweh.
You and I don’t have to travel long distances or wait for months to enter His presence. As believers we can enjoy constant communion with our holy God. His presence is a place of safety and security. Like the sparrow who built a nest near the altar, the LORD Almighty welcomes and protects the lowly and weak.
As I studied this psalm, I was impacted by the transforming power of God’s presence. Just this one chapter alone shows us at least three ways His nearness satisfies our longings.
- When we are vulnerable, He makes us safe and secure.
- When we are weak, He fills us with His strength.
- When we have need, He provides in abundance.
I particularly love verse 7:
They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion.
Our lives are a pilgrimage to heaven where we will finally see our Savior face-to-face. Meanwhile, He brings us “from strength to strength,” giving us what we need to take that next step of obedience, whetting our appetites for the full and glorious revelation of His presence.
What does your soul yearn for? Have you tasted the sweet presence of God? Do you long for more?