Divine Grace as seen in Psalm 84
By Erik Retallick
Today I would like to start with a verse from Psalm 84:11. It reads like this: “For the Lord God is a sun and shield : the Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will be withhold from those who walk uprightly.”
We can see from this verse that God;s Divine grace is evident, even in Old Testament times, before Jesus came to live on earth and exhibited the character of His Father, being perfect in every way and also “full of Grace and Truth,” as we read in John 1:14.
Psalm 84, from which this verse referring to God’s grace and glory comes from, is a hymn which would have been sung by pilgrims on their way to Mount Zion to worship God in the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. From its literary style it is very likely that it was written by David and it describes the Joy of Worshiping God in the Temple. I have met many Christians and others who have said that it is wonderful to worship God outdoors in natural surroundings, admiring His Creation.
The problem here is that sometimes we can be so taken up with admiring Creation that we lose sight of the Creator Himself, full of grace and glory. Yes, God’s Creation is truly amazing, in all its different forms, sea, land, mountains, hills, trees, animals and flowers. If these are just reflections of the Divine Creator, how more amazing and is God Himself, who cares for us every day and lavishes His grace on us!
The wonderful sense of God’s presence in His own house, the Temple, (here in the Old Testament), His greatness and holiness, are evident in the opening exclamation by the Psalmist in verse 1. “How lovely is Your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts! My soul longs, indeed it faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh sing for joy to the living God.” He then goes on to explain that there is even room for birds as well as people to worship in God’s house. At the temple in Jerusalem, the continuous birdsong mingles with the praises being sung by the people gathered to sing and worship God.
David or whoever wrote this Psalm, then declares in verse 5, “Happy are those whose strength is in You, in whose hearts are the highways to Zion!” He goes on to explain how even traveling through dry and dark places, God’s people bring light and sustenance wherever they travel. We can see a parallel here with our own lives as followers of Jesus, on a pilgrimage through life.
As we follow Him, the Holy Spirit will lead us to those who need encouragement and hope, help and guidance in their lives. By taking time to listen to their needs, hopes and fears, we can then be in a position to help and strengthen them, whatever their needs may be.
In verse 10, the writer of Psalm 84 declares that “a day in God’s courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than live in the tents of wickedness.” Do you experience joy and happiness when you come to worship God, together with your fellow brothers and sisters who follow Jesus?
Would you rather greet people at the door and welcome them as they gather together before the time of worship at Church, or would you rather be sitting at home watching TV? If so, there may be many reasons why this is the case, and I will let you think about this for yourselves. I have been through times like this in my life, but God, by His grace has always brought me back to Himself. I believe very strongly, like the Apostle Paul, that He who has begun a good work in our lives will carry it through to completion!
I would like to end by reading the last two verses of this Psalm for your encouragement and draw your attention to the wonderful Grace of God towards us. “For the Lord God is a sun and shield; He bestows favor and honor. No good thing does the Lord withhold from those who walk uprightly. O Lord of hosts, happy is everyone who trusts in You.
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always.
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