He can’t contain himself – as it gets closer and closer, that’s all he can talk about. Friends exchange knowing glances when the occasion comes up, knowing that just the mention of it will cause a huge smile to break out on his face, and his words will trip over themselves as he gushes about what he expects and looks forward to on that day. What is this man looking forward to? It must be a pretty big event – it seems to be taking up his whole mind. Maybe his wedding, or the vacation he’s been planning for months? No, what this man is looking forward to is worshipping His God on the Sabbath.
This man is the psalmist in Psalm 84 – he starts out his song by shouting out “How amiable are thy tabernacles, O LORD of hosts!” His joy in coming to the Lord’s house can’t wait another minute – it’s been on his mind and he must express it right away. He loves to be there, loves to “behold the beauty of the LORD” (Psalm 27:4).
In fact, this man loves the house of the Lord so much, the once or twice weekly visit is not enough for him. Psalm 42 compares this longing to that of a deer for water. A deer’s most innate instinct is to find water – it can’t survive without it. This man knows that what water is to a deer, fellowship with the Lord is to him. Personal devotions during the week satisfy him somewhat, but by Saturday, he finds himself weak, needing replenishment from the preaching on Sunday.
I think we can all confess our emotions and thoughts on Saturday night and Sunday morning aren’t always quite in line with the man described here. Saturdays are full of housework and chores, piles of homework, and then maybe hanging out with our friends at night. We head to bed and fall asleep as soon as we hit the pillow. Sunday morning comes and we wake up as late as we can while still getting to church on time and looking decent. We don’t wake up with smiles on our face that today is the day we can worship our Lord in His house. But how can we make our attitudes line up with the psalmist’s?
A great place to start is consciousness. It’s easy to go through our normal Sunday activities without thinking – after all, most of us have been doing the same types of things each Sunday since we were children. It’s a comfortable routine. But I encourage you to look at it with new eyes. When we go to our respective churches each Sunday, it’s more than just a routine – we are entering in to the very house of God. The almighty, omnipotent God, Creator of heaven and earth, the One who planned your whole life before time began, allows us into His house, the place in which He dwells. This isn’t any grudging invitation either – He chose each of us specifically to come to His house. If it was up to us, we would be running the opposite way. But by His grace, we can confess with the psalmist of Psalm 65, “Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, and causest to approach unto thee, that he may dwell in thy courts.”
So tonight, when you set your alarm for the morning – probably earlier than you would like – think about where exactly you’re going tomorrow. Meditate on the words of Psalm 84. Mark the bulwarks of your church as the psalmist does in Psalm 48. Ask God to give you the same joy and longing expressed in so many Psalms, overflowing joy and thankfulness to be able to worship at His house.