August 4 Morning Verse of The Day

84:1 Believers love to be near their God. Dwelling place is literally “tabernacles,” which is a plural of amplification: the great tabernacle (Allen P. Ross).

84:2 The courts refers to the outer precincts of the temple where worshipers gathered.[1]

84:1 your dwelling place. The temple, the place which God chose to reveal His presence to the people (Deut. 12; 1 Kin. 8).

84:2 living God. The true object of the psalmist’s devotion is not the temple building itself, but the God who revealed Himself there. Israel was often tempted to forget God and rely on the external trappings of religion (Jer. 7).[2]

84:1 your dwelling places The psalmist praises the temple as an emblem of God’s presence.

O Yahweh of hosts Refers to God as the commander of heavenly armies. The Hebrew text here uses the phrase yhwh tseva’oth. See note on 24:10.

84:2 for the courtyards of The psalmist desires God’s courts so that he might praise God.

My heart and flesh sing for joy Other psalms speak highly of the temple (e.g., 138:2), but the psalmist’s focus on the joy of the worship experience at the Jerusalem temple is a special feature of Psa 84.[3]

84:1 lovely are Your dwelling places. The temple worship center was “lovely” because it enabled the OT saint to come into the presence of God (cf. Pss 27; 42:1, 2; 61:4; 63:1, 2). Lord of hosts! “Hosts” represent God’s angelic armies, thus God’s omnipotence over all powers in heaven and on earth (cf. vv. 3, 8, 12).

84:2 longed … yearned … sing for. The psalmist is consumed with his happy, but intense desire to worship God in the temple.[4]

84:1, 2 Tabernacle is used here as a poetic term for the temple that was built by Solomon. longs … faints: For a similar expression of a psalmist’s desire for the Lord’s presence, see 42:1, 2. the living God: All other “gods” are nonentities; but He who created the universe, who chose Israel as His people, and who provided salvation for the world, lives forever in great glory.[5]

84:1, 2 What place can be compared in loveliness to the dwelling place of God! It is a place of unparalleled beauty, unique splendor and unutterable glory. But let us be clear on this point. The place is used, by a figure of speech known as metonymy, for the Person who lives there. And so when the psalmist says, “My soul longs, yes, even faints for the courts of the Lord,” he was really yearning to be with the Lord Himself. He says as much in the next sentence, “… my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.”[6]

84:1–2. The psalm breaks out with praise for the dwelling place (cf. 74:7; 76:2; 132:5, 7) of the Lord Almighty (cf. 84:3, 8, 12; lit., “Yahweh of hosts,” i.e., armies). For this place (the temple with its courts; cf. v. 10) the psalmist’s heart and … flesh (body) longed. To yearn for the temple meant to long for the living God Himself (cf. 42:2). In that day people could approach God through the temple priests. The psalmist’s faith was thus in the living, powerful Lord God.[7]

1. How lovely is more exactly ‘How dear’ or ‘How beloved’; it is the language of love poetry. Psalms 42:4; 43:4 give a glimpse of the delight which a dedicated servant of the temple found in his role—a joy quite foreign to the uncommitted (cf. Amos 8:5!). The Christian equivalent is ‘love of the brethren’, who are individually and collectively God’s temple (1 Cor. 3:16; 6:19).

Oh, my spirit longs and faints

For the converse of Thy saints.

2. ‘I pine, I faint with longing’ (neb) is a good translation of the first line, which makes the subsequent expression, sing for joy (or an equivalent, as found in almost every modern version) distinctly inappropriate. The word in question indicates a loud cry, not necessarily a joyful one (cf. 17:1; Lam. 2:19), and av, rv were wise to translate it ‘cry out’.

The living God, just as in 42:2, is the true object of this longing, which is not simply an attachment to a place, however hallowed. That can become an escape (1 Kgs 19:9) or a fetish (Acts 7:48, 54), whereas the rest of this psalm will show how constructive is a preoccupation with God himself.[8]

1–2. Though the latter part of this rapturous Psalm evidently belongs to the church, and is the language of the church concerning Christ; yet I do not see wherefore the former part may not be supposed to be the language of Christ. It is well known that our Lord spent whole nights in prayer to God; and the holy nature of the man Christ Jesus, we may well suppose, longed for the everlasting and uninterrupted enjoyment of God above. I beg the Reader to mark the vehemency of expression in these verses. Oh! for such holy longings of soul! Oh! for more of the spirit of Jesus![9]

84:1 lovely. This word signifies love and devotion, as in Deuteronomy 33:12 (NIV: “beloved”).

your dwelling place. The noun is plural, perhaps because the temple contains many compartments, or it is a plural that emphasizes its importance. Psalm 43:3 uses a duplicate term.

Lord Almighty. Literally, “Lord of Hosts,” which the NIV consistently renders “Lord Almighty” (see the sidebar “Names of God in Psalm 84”). This title is associated with the ark, the symbol of God’s presence.

84:2 yearns. Genesis 31:30 uses this verb to describe Jacob’s longing to return to his father’s household.

courts of the Lord. These were the court of the priests and the court of Israel, where the congregation stood during worship. Herod’s temple also had a court of women.

my heart and my flesh. That is, “my whole being.”

the living God. See Psalm 42:2.[10]

How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord Almighty! My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God (vv. 1–2). The word ‘lovely’ normally means ‘loved’, but perhaps both ideas are involved: ‘How loved and lovely is your dwelling place!’ The term ‘dwelling place’ is commonly used of the tabernacle, but here the plural is used (lit. ‘your dwelling places’). This aligns with the same usage in Psalm 43:3. Perhaps the plural has in mind the various parts of the temple. In this psalm a variety of other terms are used to refer to the building in question: ‘courts of the Lord’ (v. 2); ‘your house’ (v. 4); ‘your courts’; and ‘the house of my God’ (v. 10). It is best to take the references as being to the temple. The psalmist is spiritually hungry for the presence of God, so that his intense desire makes him grow pale and it consumes him. His whole being (‘heart’ and ‘flesh’) sings for joy to the living God (cf. the same term in Ps. 42:2), who is also the mighty Lord of hosts.[11]

[1] Warstler, K. R. (2017). Psalms. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 892). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

[2] Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2005). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (p. 811). Orlando, FL; Lake Mary, FL: Ligonier Ministries.

[3] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Ps 84:1–2). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[4] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Ps 84:1–2). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[5] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson’s new illustrated Bible commentary (p. 704). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.

[6] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 677). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[7] Ross, A. P. (1985). Psalms. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 1, p. 855). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[8] Kidner, D. (1975). Psalms 73–150: An Introduction and Commentary (Vol. 16, p. 334). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

[9] Hawker, R. (2013). Poor Man’s Old Testament Commentary: Job–Psalms (Vol. 4, p. 435). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[10] Bullock, C. H. (2017). Psalms 73–150. (M. L. Strauss & J. H. Walton, Eds.) (Vol. 2, p. 93). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books: A Division of Baker Publishing Group.

[11] Harman, A. (2011). Psalms: A Mentor Commentary (Vol. 1–2, pp. 629–630). Ross-shire, Great Britain: Mentor.

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