Hearing about a good restaurant is insufficient. At some point, you have to try it for yourself. You can’t make a judgment concerning if a movie is good or not until you have seen it yourself. And it’s one thing to hear about the presence of God, and it’s a completely different thing to experience it yourself.
Don’t settle for anything less than the presence of God.
The writer of Psalm 84 knows that truth too well. As you study the psalm, here’s what you find out.
- Your soul yearns the most for what you value the greatest (Ps. 84:1-2). The psalmist says that his very soul is longing and fainting for the presence of God. He wants to dwell where God dwells. If you truly value God supremely, you will yearn for His presence more than anything else.
- The presence of God needs to be your primary residence rather than a vacation home (Ps. 84:3-4). The psalmist says that the birds want to raise their families right at the altars of God. Too many of us wander to and from the presence of God rather than dwelling there. Dwell with God – don’t just vacation with Him!
- Ensure that the hardest times of your life drive you closer to God rather than further away (Ps. 84:5-7). The psalmist went through the Valley of Baca (“suffering”) and found his strength in God – his heart was the highway to Zion! Everyone goes through suffering, but use it to find strength in the presence of God instead of questioning if He is near. Push in not push out!
- God is never too busy to hear the prayers of His children (Ps. 84:8-9). I love that the psalmist asks for the LORD God of hosts to hear his prayer. That term implies that God is the commander of the angelic army, and he still has faith that God isn’t too busy to hear his prayers. God wants you to be near more than you want to be near. Pray to Him!
- 1 day in the presence of God is better than 1,000 days in the presence of sin (Ps. 84:10-12). I would rather be a doorkeeper in God’s house than be a master in my house. Let me dwell near the presence of God for just one day and it is far better than allowing my sinful heart run after every desire for 1,000 days. Once you’ve experienced the presence of God, everything else pales in comparison.
Don’t settle for lesser pursuits. Don’t linger in pointless presences. Seek the LORD of hosts – His dwelling places are lovely!
Travis Agnew serves as the Lead Pastor of Rocky Creek Church in Greenville, SC. His most recent book is Just (About) Married.