“What joy for those whose strength comes from the Lord, who have set their minds on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. When they walk through the Valley of Weeping, it will become a place of refreshing springs. The autumn rains will clothe it with blessings. They will continue to grow stronger, and each of them will appear before God in Jerusalem.” — Psalm 84:5-7
Longing is written all over this psalm. This eager and homesick man is one of the Korahite temple singers who has been separated from the house of God and is longing to get back. In his heart and mind God is giving him such a dream of how it will be to come home.
There is something strange about the “pull of home.” When we are far away, the desire is great. The closer we get to home, the more the desire intensifies. It becomes stronger. Our pace quickens. Our intensity piques; our heart pounds. Our anticipation soars.
As our intensity and desire for “home”—His house grows, our strength grows. Verse 7 says, “They continue to grow stronger, and each of them will appear before God in Jerusalem.” How can this be?
You might be thinking, “The journey I have been on with the Lord is so strong that I have grown weary and weak.” God never called us to live on our reserves but on His resources. His resources renew every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23), they never run out (Philippians 4:19).
In studying this psalm I discovered some very precious truths about the ministry of praise and worship in our churches. These truths relate to three key positions in which the worshipper must abide:
- Dwelling in the sanctuary of God (vs.1-4)
- Drawing from the strength of God (vs. 5-8)
- Delighting in the service of God (vs. 9-12).
The characteristics that are key in being qualified to lead in worship (music directors, choirs, praise teams, musicians) are:
- A love for the House of God (vs. 1)
- A longing for the person of God (vs. 2)
- A living commitment to the rule of God (vs. 3)
- A consistent lifestyle of praise (vs. 4)
- A heart that is not satisfied with “sitting still” in a walk with Christ (vs. 5)
- A life full of the Holy Spirit that flows like a life-giving stream (vs. 6)
- A walk that is continuously getting stronger (vs. 7)
- A life marked by prayer (vs. 8a)
- A life anointed by God (vs. 9)
- A life that desires the godly and rejects that which is ungodly (vs. 10)
- A life that finds its sufficiency in God, not in self or self-promotion (vs. 11)
- A life that trusts God (vs. 12)