Sermon – Pilgrim’s Progress (Psalms 84:1 – 84:12) – Cornerstone Church Kingston
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Pilgrim's Progress

Tom Sweatman, Psalms 84:1 - 84:12, 10 October 2021

This week we take a break from our series in the book of Proverbs and Tom takes a look at Psalm 84:1-12. This psalm challenges us to consider if God is at the centre of our lives.


Psalms 84:1 - 84:12

84:1   How lovely is your dwelling place,
    O LORD of hosts!
  My soul longs, yes, faints
    for the courts of the LORD;
  my heart and flesh sing for joy
    to the living God.
  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.
  Blessed are those who dwell in your house,
    ever singing your praise! Selah
  Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
    in whose heart are the highways to Zion.
  As they go through the Valley of Baca
    they make it a place of springs;
    the early rain also covers it with pools.
  They go from strength to strength;
    each one appears before God in Zion.
  O LORD God of hosts, hear my prayer;
    give ear, O God of Jacob! Selah
  Behold our shield, O God;
    look on the face of your anointed!
10   For a day in your courts is better
    than a thousand elsewhere.
  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 bestows favor and honor.
  No good thing does he withhold
    from those who walk uprightly.
12   O LORD of hosts,
    blessed is the one who trusts in you!

(ESV)


Transcript (Auto-generated)

This transcript has been automatically generated, and therefore may not be 100% accurate.

And if you have a Bible, please open it to Psalm 84 We're taking a a short break from our series in Proverbs this morning. Pete was meant to be preaching. Him and Ann actually have COVID at the moment. But they're doing okay, they're feeling a bit rough.

They're on the mend, thankfully, but it just means obviously they're in isolation, so couldn't be here today. So Tom is going to be preaching this sort of 1 off in Psalm 84. And we're going to be reading the whole chapter from verse 1. How lovely is your dwelling place? Lord, Almighty.

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. Blesser to those who dwell in your house.

They are ever praising you. Blessed are those whose strength is in you, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage as they pass through the valley of Bakr, and make it a place of they make it a place of springs. The autumn rains also cover it with pools. They go from strength to strength till each appears before God in Zion. Hear my prayer, Lord God Almighty.

Listen to me, God of Jacob. Look on our shield, oh, God. Look with favor on your anointed 1. Better is 1 day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.

For the Lord God is a sun and shield, the Lord bestows favor and honor No good thing does he withhold from those whose way of life is blameless. Lord Almighty. Blessed is the 1 who trusts in you. And I'm 1 of the pastors here. And as Ben said, we are taking a bit of a break this morning.

And we're going to be doing this 1 off here in Psalm 84, and actually next week is going to look a little bit different as well. We're having a thanksgiving service. For the babies that have been born. I think we're doing 6 6 next Sunday, and then 6 in a Sunday in November. So praise the Lord for that.

Very exciting. And so next week is going to look a bit different as well. And in the week after, Lord willing, we're going to be back in in our proverbs, in our proverbs series. So, Psalm 84, keep it open in front of you and let me let me lead us in a prayer as we look at it together. Father we want to thank you for these wonderful words which you have penned and preserved for us.

We thank you for the gift of the Holy Spirit who has made a home in each and every of your children. And we thank you and ask that that same Holy Spirit would speak these words, write them upon our hearts afresh this morning. Father, we pray that you would help us to delight in you as our supreme and chief joy. Lord forgive us that we can so often give our affections and our attention to things which don't satisfy to things which are not you. And sadly and sinfully, we turn away from you so often.

And we ask that you would come with fresh new morning, new day, mercy's for us today, and put yourself back at the center of our Christianity. Help us to delight in you as these writers did and help us to learn the lessons in Jesus' name. Our men. Our men. And just to say, as well, welcome to if you're still joining us online.

It's great to have you tuning in and hope you're able to follow and listen along. Last week or a few weeks ago now, some of the elders here at the church went up to an event that was being hosted and run by commission. Which is 1 of the networks to which we belong. And the subject of the evening was why leaders fail. Why do spiritual leaders fail?

And in the talk, the man who was giving it gave 8 key reasons, not all the reasons, but 8 key reasons, why from his research and from his understanding spiritual leaders fail. And 1 of the main ones, I think it was the first 1, was a was a failure to worship. When leaders fail to worship God and when they give up, practices like reading the bible and prayer, then eventually they will they will fail. And The illustration he gave there or 1 of the points that he made under that point was that if a if a leader, if a Christian leader gives up, reading the bible and praying in public, it's not gonna be very long before people start noticing. So if the elders of this church gave up, as of next week, the public reading of the bible and prayer, you would notice fairly quickly that something was wrong.

But it might be possible for a Christian leader to give up private bible reading and private prayer, and actually to go quite a long time before anyone began to realize, or before anyone began to ask questions They could surrender all of that in private, still do what they need to do in public, and maybe able to go on for quite a while. But the point that the chap was making here was that, actually, if you look at some of the spiritual leaders who've had dramatic public failures, Often, that is just the very end of the line. And if you trace back months, years before, you see that they had surrendered. Those practices in their own life and a failure to worship preceded a a public a public fault, not always, but that is a is a pretty common pattern. And what happens, of course, and when that happens, is that the Christianity that we have in public becomes a bit of a shell.

We begin to empty out. We begin to hollow out, and we become a bit like a dodgy salesman who's got to stand up and try to flog you something every week, that he neither owns nor believes in. It becomes a show, a fake. And in the end, it just doesn't last. That was 1 of the 8 reasons why spiritual leaders fail, a failure to worship.

Now, what does that got to do with Psalm 84? Well, Psalm 84 is a is a pilgrim song. It's a song about a journey. It was written by the sons of Korra, as it says in the introduction, and they were ministers and servants and musicians in the temple. And in this psalm, they are talking about a journey going up to the house of God.

Going to Jerusalem, going to the temple, in order to worship the lord. And actually, when you look at the Old Testament law, that was something that they had to do. It was something that they were commanded to do. To go up to the temple, to celebrate, to sacrifice, to do what they needed to do. But you don't get the sense as you read this psalm, that that journey had become a mere formality, just something that they had to do.

In fact, it's quite the opposite, isn't it? The prospect of going up to be with the Lord in his place, is nothing less than a delight for them. It is delightful to be on their way to be with the Lord. Their heart and their flesh is crying out to be with the living God. This is no mere formality.

These are not people who are going through the motions of Christian leadership. But God has fallen out of their faith. God is at the center, and they're delighting at the prospect of being with him. And that I think is the challenge or 1 of the challenges that this Psalm puts to us this morning. Is is God still at the center of our Christianity?

Can we, or have we become content with a Christianity that doesn't have Christ? At its beating heart, is God disappearing out of the bottom of our Christianity. But as well as a challenge, This psalm is also full of help, and it is in some ways an invitation to those who are struggling. To come and to rediscover the joy and the delight of knowing God. This song not only describes what real Christianity is, It helps us to recover it in our own lives.

So with we're gonna have a look at it together. And we're going to work through this journey that they're on, and we're just going to draw out the applications as we go. As you'll see, it's all framed around a journey. And the first point this morning, from the first verses, is the place that we're going. And so this is a point about the destination.

And you can see, Psalm 84 begins with the destination. How lovely verse 1 is your dwelling place? Lord, almighty. My soul yearns, even faints for the courts of the Lord. Now, I'm sure you know if you've been on holiday or even been around our our own city of London and looked around, that you will have seen those blue plaques around the place, those blue plaques that are fixed on certain buildings or certain streets, and they are there to tell you that at some point, somebody notable lived there, and it's a place worth visiting.

Now, when you look at the actual street or the building, sometimes they are very impressive, and they're very grand, and you can see why someone important would have lived there, But at other times, the places, the houses, and the streets look look fairly ordinary, fairly sort of bland in some ways. And you wonder, oh, what's that? What's the history behind this place? And yet, actually, we know that the reason people go hunting for blue plaques is not because of the building, but because of the person who lived there. The person who lived there is what makes the place significant.

Now, when it comes to the temple, that was a really impressive building. Very, very impressive. You might remember that scene where the Lord Jesus is with the disciples. And the disciples say to him, as if he doesn't know, teacher, look at this building, what magnificent stone what precious gems, look at the size of the place. And, of course, they were right.

It was a very impressive building. But what made the temple worth visiting was the person who lived there. That's what the Psalm says in verse 1. How lovely is your dwelling place? Lord almighty.

My soul yearns even faints for the courts of the Lord, My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. In other words, the destination on this journey is not just a building, it's a person. It's the living God. That's who they cry out for. And what is he like?

Why is he worth desiring? Well, have a look at verse 3 and 4. 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.

Now, apparently, and I've got a little picture of it off the internet. Apparently, when the temple was around and it looked like this, the sparrows and the swallows really would come and make their home in the temple. So they would find and make little nests for themselves in and around the eaves, and they would be flying in and out of the courtyards buzzing around, raising their young young, even raising their young in the sight of the altar. They would be flying up and around the eternal flame. The altar where the sacrifice was made, the sparrows and the swallows could build a nest in that area.

It's quite amazing, isn't it? And you might think, well, surely, god in his holiness would strike down a creature for daring to build its home in the roof of the temple. Surely, if a little swallow came near the altar, the eternal flames would consume the swallow. How dare they? Come near such a holy place.

But the Psalmist is saying, no. Even the sparrows swallows can make their home in the temple even raise their young near the altar. And the point is that if even something as small as a sparrow can find a home there, then the faithful worshipper has nothing to fear. Now by nature, we do. By nature, we cannot draw near to a Holy God.

And come into his presence. But because of that same altar, we can. Because a sacrifice has been made, because an atonement has been laid upon the altar for us, then like the sparrows and the swallows, we can draw near because of that altar. That's what the Psalm is telling us, the destination that we're going to. The place that we're going to is a person.

It is a gracious God who through a sacrifice calls us up to himself. In Revelation 21, right at the end of the Bible, there's this great scene, there's this booming voice that comes from the throne. This is Revelation 21 verse 3. This is where the whole of history is going. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, look, God's dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them.

They will pay his people, and God himself will be with them, and be their God. And so you see, all over the world, the followers of Jesus Christ, who are described by the Bible as EXI and as strangers and as foreigners in the land, as people who are on a journey to their real home, They are going not to a building but to a person. And revelation tells us that when that person returns, The great celebration of all history will not be the stuff that comes with him, as good as that will be, it'll be him. It'll be him. That is the crescendo That's the reason this revelation versus such a celebration.

The whole church is looking forward to God. To God, coming to dwell with them. Look, God's dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. That is the thing That gives heaven all of its charm and all of its beauty. It's that God our Savior.

The Lord Jesus Christ who laid his life down on the altar is there. He's there. And that's what makes it worth having. And that's what makes it worth visiting. That God is gonna dwell among his people.

There is no mere formality in this journey. God is the prize. God is what they're after. God is what they're longing for. And the Christian should feel the same way.

Firstly, then the place we're going. Secondly, is the journey that we're on. And now the Psalm goes from the destination to life on the road. That's how it goes. And you can see verse 5, says, blessed are those whose strength is in you, in whose heart are the highways to zion.

As they go through the valley of Bakr, they make it a place of springs. The early rain also covers it with pools. They go from strength to strength. Each 1 appears before God in Zion. You will have heard me tell stories like this before, but several years ago, quite a few years ago now.

Several of us from the church had a go, and it was only a go at the 3 peaks challenge. We were trying to climb the highest mountains in Scotland, England, and Wales, in just 24 hours. And it's fair fair to say, and I was not the only 1, but I was pretty ill prepared for the trip. It turned out that 1 or few 1 or 2 lazy afternoons in Box Hill were not actually adequate preparation for the journey. And so, although I feel personally that I started quite brightly.

By the time we got to the last mountain, I was very seriously flagging. I mean, if you look at verse 7, where the Psalmise talks about going from strength to strength, that would certainly not have been true of me. I wasn't the only 1 on that trip. As I got closer to the destination, I felt myself growing weaker, grumpier, and weaker, and angrier, that I'd even bothered to sign up for this trip in the first place. And yet, that sort of thing can happen, can't it?

If you think of the track runner who's got 9 and a half thousand meters behind them, They're running the 10 K race, the bell goes for the last lap. Often, they can find new strength and go from strength to strength, as the destination approaches, is something about the finish line and the destination when they're fixed upon the line, fixed upon the medal, they find fresh pools of strength in order to help them finish. And sometimes, they can actually clock their quickest laps. In their last lap as they approach the destination. That's the sort of thing that is happening here.

As they go, they go from strength to strength. It's a lovely phrase, isn't it, verse 5, blessed are those whose strength is in you, whose hearts are set. On pilgrimage. Other translations have it. Bless it are those whose strength is in you, in whose heart, are the highways to Zion to the city of God.

As I said at the beginning, this was a journey that was commanded of them. They had to do it in the law. But there is a world of difference between having to go and having your heart set on going. See, if your heart is anything like mine, There is there is always a little GPS at work in the heart. There's a place that I want to go.

And a thing that I want to achieve, and it works out what I need to do and where I need to go in order to get it, which turnings I need to which turnings I need to avoid, what I need to do next, to get what I think I want, to go to the place where I think I need to go. But in the pilgrims heart are the highways to Zion. The destination is fixed, and I'm not stopping, and I'm not turning, and I'm not home until I'm home. And when we're fixed like that, on the destination, the journey is transformed. That's what they're telling us.

Verse 6, as they pass through the valley of Bakr, they make it a place of springs. The autumn rains also cover it with pools. Now it's hard to know where this valley of backer actually was. But from the language, you can kind of pick up, you can tell that this was a dry place, It was a dusty place, it was a difficult place. And actually, it was probably a place of great suffering.

Because in the original language this was written in, the word backer is almost identical to the word for weeping, as they go through the valley of weeping. They make it a place of springs. And so this psalm is very realistic with us. There is a magnificent homecoming and a magnificent God who we will dwell with, But on the way, there will be valleys of weeping. And yet can you see how a God centered life transforms those places?

Verse 6, they make it a place of springs. And what they're trying to tell us here is that the driest, hardest, most difficult places can become a place of pools and a place of rivers and springs because of who God is. And because that's not their destination, and because they have a God who will be with them through everything. In pilgrims progress, great book written by John Bunyan, which we looked at as a church several years ago. It's it's just a it's a wonderful story, a really wonderful story about some Christian friends who are on a journey from this world, this world of suffering, and temptation, and valleys of weeping from this world, to that which is to come, to the celestial city, to the gates of heaven, to God himself.

And when you read that book, I mean, who would suspect that he managed to write that from prison. How how could he write that? When he was in the valley of weeping himself. What was the secret there? Well, I think if he was here, he would tell us that there is no secret.

That writing that book from prison helped him to fix his heart on the celestial city to come. And on the God who lived there, and when he used that book to fix his own gaze. Then that prison cell was transformed from a valley of weeping into a place of pools and a place of blessing. It's the God centered perspective, which changes the valley. In 2 Corinthians, chapter 4.

Paul says, I think I may have put it up. Therefore, we do not lose heart. Though outwardly, we are wasting away. Yet inwardly, we are being renewed day by day. And the only reason he can say that is because there is a destination in mind, glory.

Eternal glory which far outweighs everything and a God who will be with him and will strengthen him on the way. We need we need that sort of truth, don't we? All of us are going to waste away. And we are going to go going to grow weaker and weaker. We will all go through, and you may be in it right now, a valley of backer, a valley of weeping.

But this Psalm would say to us that if our heart is set on the lord, And if we see ourselves as on a pilgrimage to the world to come, then we will go from strength to strength. There is just no other sensible way to read this psalm. I mean, if it's just poetry and it's not true and it's just nice, then fine. But if it is the word of the living God, then we've got to ask the question, how does the valley of weeping become a place of springs. Is that actually possible?

Or is it just a poem? God says to us in verse 5, when we look to and find our strength in the Lord. The valley of weeping is turned into a place of springs. And so it's the same application, isn't it? This is a god centered life that we are being called to through this psalm.

The place we're going the pilgrimage that we're on, journey we're on, and then thirdly, the perspective that we need. For a day in your courts, is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God. Than to dwell in the tents of the wicked. So now, there are 2 things that this pilgrim has got to go to on the journey.

They're going to go through a valley of back or a valley of weeping, but they're also going to go past the dwelling places or the tents of the wicked. And with that, it's gonna come a temptation for every pilgrim. In Psalm 73, David is remarkably honest with us. He says, for I envied the arrogant, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. They have no struggles.

Their bodies are healthy and strong. They are free from common burdens. They're not plagued by human ills. This is what the wicked are like. Always free of care.

They go on amassing wealth, surely in vain, I have kept my heart pure. I have washed my hands in innocence. To dwell in the tents of the wicked is to set up camp in this world. And as David says, there are times when that just looks really good. There are times when the Christian says, why have I bothered keeping my heart pure?

When everybody else seems to get on just fine without him, not all the time, but lots of the time. They seemed to get on just fine without him. Why have I kept my heart pure? Maybe I should just pitch my own tent in this world. Maybe I should trade the walking stick of the journey for a tent of this world.

That's how David thought until he got a new perspective. I entered the sanctuary of God, and then I understood their final destiny. In other words, when he looked beyond this world, his perspective was changed. And that's what's happening here in Psalm 84. The sons of Korah, who wrote this Psalm, they want us to see things their way.

They want us to know that really truly The lowest form of service in the House of God is better than all the riches in every tent. In the world. They want us not just to know but to feel deeply. That a single day, a single hour, a moment in the presence of the living God is better than a thousand days in the courts of this world. And you know, as I've been thinking about that this week, I've I've been asking myself, Tom, do you really believe that?

Do you actually believe that? Really believe that, that 1 day in the presence of your God, would be better than a thousand in the courts of this world. Do you believe that? Was it just something you're gonna say? And something you're gonna call people to.

Do you actually live do you believe it? Or in reality to the things of this world, have more pull and more influence over my heart than the living God. That's why I that's why I need verse 11. I need to see Why it is better to be a doorkeeper in the house of God than to dwell in the tents of the wicked because verse 11, the Lord is a sun and shield. The Lord bestows favor and honor No good thing, does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless?

That is the perspective that I need. What could the world offer me which would be better than the favor of the living God. There is no 1 richer than a Christian. Right? There is no 1 richer than a Christian.

And that is what this Psalm is trying to rub in with all kinds of different language. You know, think of the sparrow and the swallow. You know, think think of us. You've seen them, haven't you? You've been to the temple.

You've seen the sparrow and the swallow. If they can come, so can you? Think of the feeling of the sun upon your face. You've all had it. You know what it's like, it cheers you, it gives energy.

God is like that to to his people. Think of the battle shield. You need that. Don't you? To protect you?

God is that for his people. It's almost as if he's saying, right. I've done the sparrow, the swallow, the shield, the sun. What else can I use? What else can I call?

To try to I don't know. But what I do know is that God will not hold a single thing, a single good thing He won't withhold it from those whose walk is blameless. And who are they? Or the blameless are those who have been through the altar and are now in Christ. As Ephesians chapter 1 says, amazing chapter.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ or in the words of this Psalm, he will withhold nothing good from those who walk his blameless. The God of this Psalm is the same God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. And he has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in Christ. As Paul says elsewhere, if that is true, And if God did not even spare his own son, but freely gave him up for us all, will he not also along with him graciously give us all things? And the answer is yes, he will.

If he's given his son to you, if he's given you every blessing in his son, will he not graciously give you all that is needed for you? Will he withhold anything good from you? No. It's in you. It's in his son.

It's for you. And so how does the valley of weeping become a place of springs? How do we fight the temptation to set up a tent in this world? We do it by looking to Christ, and by knowing that no good thing does God withhold. From those who are in him.

And so it's the same application really. It's a God centered trust and a god centered perspective that we're being called to. Fourthly, briefly, lastly. The requests that we make, the requests we make. The place we're going, the journey we're on, The perspective that we need, the requests that we make.

Have a look at verse 8 and 9. Hear my prayer, Lord God, Almighty. Listen to me, God of Jacob. Look on our shield, Oh God. Look with favor on your anointed 1.

And the reality of this arm is that if we are going to share the vision of this psalm. If we are going to value what it values, see what it sees, treasure who it treasures, then we need to pray. Because certainly, in my own life, the God centered perspective is not 1 that I gravitate to. I gravitate towards a self centered perspective, and so I need to pray. And yet, the strange thing about this prayer is that it's actually not, in the first case, for us pilgrims, but for the greatest pilgrim of all.

Look on our shield, Oh, God. Look with favor on your anointed 1. The prayer is for him. Now, we've already been introduced. To the Lord Jesus Christ in this Psalm, through the altar, we've seen hints of his own teaching in the sparrow and the swallow But in the language of the Old Testament, this anointed 1 is a reference ultimately to God's Messiah.

To the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the great pilgrim of this Psalm. He is the 1 who came from heaven, and he came on a journey. He is the man of sorrows who went through the valley of weeping. He is the 1 who walked past the tempt the tents of the wicked and was tempted by Satan to make his home there.

He came as a pilgrim on a journey with a destination in mind which was the glory he shared with the father before the world began. That's where he was going. And yet to get there, he would have to go through the altar of the cross, to lay his life down. For our sins so that we could go there in him. This psalm is ultimately about the great pilgrim.

And therefore, as we journey on, he should be at the center of our prayers too. You see, 1 of the key ways to tell if God is beginning to disappear from your Christianity is how you pray. Now, of course, God is our father. We can bring all our needs to him. He loves to hear them.

He loves to answer. But a good question to ask is how central is Christ in your prayer life. Is he just a way of getting the things that we think we need? A way of increasing the comforts in this life that we live? Or is he the subject and the theme and the delight of my prayer?

That's what we see in verse 9. Look with favor Lord upon the Lord Jesus Christ. Give glory to the Lord Jesus Christ, protect us in the Lord Jesus Christ, give me strength through the Lord Jesus Christ. Lead me home in the Lord Jesus Christ. The pilgrims prayer life is taken up with Christ.

Christ is their delight. Christ is the 1 in their prayers. They want to talk about, they want to talk to. To live a God centered life. We need God centered prayers.

Which is the theme of this entire song. Let me sum up with this. Here's a quote from an article that I read this week. The article is called when God became heaven for me. The critical question for our generation and for every generation is this.

If you could have heaven with no sickness, and with all the friends that you ever had on earth, and all the foods that you ever liked, and all the leisure activities you ever enjoyed. And all the natural beauties you ever saw, and all the physical pleasures you ever tasted. And no human conflict or any natural disasters, could you be satisfied with heaven? If Christ were not there? That was the question that turned heaven on its head for me.

Could I be content in a heaven without Christ. And he finishes by saying, that God is not just the only way to heaven. He is what makes heaven worth wanting. I wonder as we finish this morning whether you share that perspective. If everything that you loved was there, but Christ was not.

Would you be content? But what he's really asking is, How central is God to your Christianity. You see, if you had said to the sons of Chorus, could you be content in a temple without the living God? Let's say, it looked as glorious as it does, You could have the best job in the place, all the reverence and honor that were due to you. Let's say you could have it all, but the living God was not there.

Could you be content in a temple without the living God? You know how they would answer. And in fact, is us too, and we we we feel we we look at a psalm like this, and we hear a message like this, and we feel persuaded that it's true. We we sense it to be true deeply, and yet we just don't taste it for ourselves. If this is like the difference between reading about chocolate and actually tasting it.

You know, we nut we we read about it. We know that it's true and sweet in theory. But we we just don't taste it. Then 1 of the things that we must do is turn these statements into prayers. Verse 1, help me to see o God almighty how lovely is your dwelling place?

Causes my soul to yearn and even faint for the courts of the Lord. Lord God, I I don't feel that. My soul doesn't yearn for you in that way, make it so make it so for me. My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. God, it's been a long time when I felt since I felt like that.

It's been a long time since I prayed like that, restore it to me, Lord. Help me to cry out for you like that to see you like that. Those are the sorts of prayers which God delights to answer on behalf of his pilgrims. Let's bow our heads and pray. And maybe right now, just quietly, you would like to, with that psalm in your mind, turn some of those statements into requests.

For your own heart. Lord God, we pray that you would forgive us, forgive me, that very often my own heart is just simply not in tune with this sum and that the things that I cry out for and long for are really the things of this life for myself, for my own glory for my own name for the things this world can give. That's really the destination that I wanna get to. That's really what I'm crying out for and longing for the things of this life. And all we pray that you would have mercy on me, have mercy on all of us for when we simply do not share the perspective of this psalm for when your beauty and your majesty has just lost its shine on us.

Where we don't see you to be the great joy and satisfaction of our souls, the thing that we were made to know and to worship. Forgive us Lord. And we thank you that there is grace for us this morning through the Lord Jesus. We thank you that Lord Jesus Christ, you our great pilgrim, that you came into the valleys in order to save us, that you laid your life down on the altar, that you died for our sins and have risen again and that through you, we can now come to the dwelling place of the Lord Almighty. We thank you for your grace to us, and we do ask you lord as this Psalm says that you would look with favor upon the your anointed.

Look with favor upon the Lord Jesus, bring him honor and glory in this world and in our lives, help us to be taken up with him. We pray for anyone here who really feels either the pull of the tents of the wicked. Or feels themself to be in a dry, suffering valley. And lord, we pray that in your grace you would raise up their eyes to you. That they would see the destination to come.

They would see you in all your beauty and trustworthiness. And that they would find strength in you. Lord God, Almighty, blessed is the 1 who trusts in you. Help us to trust in you we pray as we make our way forward to the great dwelling place. And we ask all of these things in Jesus' name.

Amen.


Preached by Tom Sweatman
Tom Sweatman photo

Tom is an Assistant Pastor at Cornerstone and lives in Kingston with his wife Laura and their two children.

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