84:0We do not know who wrote Psalm 84. Some Bible students think that it was the same person that wrote Psalms 42 and 43. We call that person ‘the psalmist.’ The psalmist is far from the Temple in Jerusalem. He wants to be one of the people that visit the Temple. We call these people ‘pilgrims.’ Even if he could be for one day in the temple courts, that would be better than a thousand days anywhere else!
Korah was the name of a group that made music for the temple.
Journey to Zion
84:0The psalm is in 4 parts:
– Verses 1-4 tell us that many people love the temple, including the psalmist.
– Verses 5-7 tell us about pilgrims to Zion.
– Verses 8-9 The psalmist prays for the king.
– Verses 10-12 tell us about God.
This is for the music leader.
He must use Gittith.
It is a psalm for Korah.
1 Lord of Many Armies,
people love your temple very much!
2 I want very much to go to the place where the Lord lives.
I want it so much that it is making me feel weak!
All that I am and all that I feel is crying out to the Living God!
3 Even the sparrow has found a home
and the swallow has found a nest.
There she may keep her babies.
They are in places near your altars,
Lord of Many Armies.
You are my king and my God.
84:3The psalmist says in verse 3 that small birds can live in the temple. But the psalmist is far away, verse 2. If it is the same psalmist as in Psalms 42 and 43, then he is hundreds of kilometres away! When he thinks about it, it makes him feel weak.
4 The people that live in your house are very happy.
They can always tell you how great you are.
5 The people that you make strong are very happy.
They want to come to you in Zion.
6 As they pass through a dry valley,
it seems to become a place with wells of water in it.
The autumn rains cover the valley with pools.
7 The people become stronger as they go,
until each one appears before God in Zion.
84:7In verses 5-7, he tells us about the pilgrims to Jerusalem. They may come on long journeys, but they really want to come to Zion. The ‘dry valley’ in verse 4 is ‘Baca Valley’ in Hebrew. The Baca is a tree that lives in dry places. We do not know where this Baca Valley was. But the dry place did not stop the pilgrims. They found water there, maybe the autumn rains. Christians have always believed that this verse means: when life is difficult, God will send help.
8 Lord God of Many Armies,
hear the words that I am praying!
God of Jacob, listen to me!
9 God, look at our shield!
And look kindly at the face of your king.
84:9In verse 3, the psalmist calls God his or her king. But in verses 8 and 9 the psalmist prays for another king. It is the king of Israel that lives in Jerusalem. He calls this king ‘a shield.’ The king stops other countries hurting his people. The word is not ‘king’, but is ‘messiah’ in Hebrew. It means ‘anointed.’ ‘Anointed’ means ‘oil poured on.’ This is how they made kings long ago. All the Kings of Israel were messiahs, but Jesus is the Great Messiah! He is our king – if we trust in him. Then we will be very happy, verse 12.
10 One day in your temple courts
is better than a thousand days somewhere else.
I would rather stand at the door of God's house
than sit in the houses of wicked people.
11 For the Lord God is a sun and a shield.
He gives grace and glory to people.
He gives good things to people that do what is right.
84:11Verse 11 does not say that God is the sun, but a sun. This means that God is like a sun. He is not the sun that we see in the sky!
12 Lord of Many Armies,
everybody is very happy that trusts in you!