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August 5: Longing for God. Psalm 84

Sermon Summary

Psalm 84 speaks to the blessedness of communion with God. In the first apart of this psalm the writer speaks eloquently to his hearts desire to be with God in worship and fellowship. The psalmist describes the intense desire to enjoy the presence of God among the people of God. From the content of the Psalms it appears that he is outside the city of Jerusalem and separated from the temple, and thus he prays that he might be returned to the courts, the dwelling place of God's glory, so that he might enjoy the favor and honor of the Lord in worship.

Quotes

Ralph Waldo Emerson
That which dominates our imagination and our thoughts will determine our life and character. Therefore it behooves us to be careful what we are worshiping, for what we are worshiping we are becoming.

Henry Scougal
He who loveth mean and sordid things doth thereby become base and vile; but a noble and well-placed affection doth advance and improve the spirit unto a conformity with the perfections which it loves.

Saint Augustine
How sweet all at once it was for me to be rid of those fruitless joys which I had once feared to lose!...You drove them from me, you who are the true, the sovereign joy. You drove them from me and took their place, you who are sweeter than all pleasure.

Richard Sibbes
Affections therefore are lawful, yea, necessary in God’s children. All actions in God’s worship are esteemed according to the affections that they are done with. We are as we love, not as we know. What is the life of a Christian but the performance of things with courage, delight, and joy? And therefore the strongest Christians have strongest affections. For religion doth not harden the heart, but mollifies [softens] it; and regeneration doth not take affections away but restores them sanctified and pure.

Thomas Boston
When the people of God reach heaven, they will see Jesus Christ, God and man, with their bodily eyes, as He will never lay aside the human nature. They will behold that glorious blessed body, which is personally united to the divine nature, and exalted above principalities and powers and every name that is named. There we shall see, with our eyes, that very body which was born of Mary at Bethlehem, and crucified at Jerusalem between two thieves: the blessed head that was crowned with thorns; the face that was spit upon; the hands and feet that were nailed to the cross; all shining with inconceivable glory.

Fellowship Starters

Consider the intensity of your own desires to fellowship with God. What distractions and hindrances are in yoru life that cause worship to boring or obligatory?

How does your understanding of God either promote or restrict your desire to commune with him?

The psalmist says in verse 5, "Those whose hearts are highways to Zion are blessed." How is this true in your life?

In what ways do you lead yourself and/or your family in preparing for worship among the people of God?

How would you rate the intensity of your desire for God? What other things do you find yourself "longing" for? What distraction might be removed to nurture a desire for God?

How can you encourage a brother or sister in developing greater longings for God?