Psalm 84 – A life that comes from loving God’s presence.



A life that comes from loving God’s presence.




Today the perception of old age is very different to what it used to be. It is also different to what it is in many others parts of the world. We have been conned by the media into thinking that younger is better – younger is more beautiful.


If you are over 60 or even 50 then you are past your sell by date!


For a person of 50 who has been made redundant it is very difficult to get a job. Many are obsessed with trying to stay young and good looking.

But eventually the looks fade and the years slip by and if that is where your security has been then what is there to look forward to – very little!


Psalm 84 gives a different perspective on life




This OT psalm was written by one of the sons of Korah. One of their many functions was to be the door-keepers in the Temple.


In describing “The dwelling places of God” the Psalmist is not focussing on the buildings as beautiful as they were. His concern is what the buildings represent – the presence of God.

Verse 2 is clear: My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord, my hart and my flesh cry out for the living God.


What he desires more than anything is to know God. He knows that being cut off from God is a miserable existence. Even the sparrows have nested in the Temple. How much more should the people made in God’s image long to be near to him.


Those who know and love God are the really blessed ones! It is not the strong and rich and famous who are privileged but those who know God in Jesus Christ.





It is not youth nor good looks nor wealth nor fame that make one strong but it is walking close to God.

Blessed are those whose source of strength is in you,

Who set their hearts on following your ways. [v5]


What makes a person strong – close fellowship with God. The physical world is what every one tends to focus on. That is why we have this obsession with staying young.

The apostle Paul reminds us:

… outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are

being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary

troubles are achieving for us and eternal glory that far

out weighs them all. [2.Co.4v16-17].


Those who live this kind of life – close to God – are blessed but are also a blessing to others.


ILLUST: Mrs Pill – mid 80’s – frail and physically dependent on a stick to walk BUT full of the joy of God and one always came away from visiting her having been refreshed.


The Valley of Baca was very dry and parched. The name means the Parched Valley {some think the valley of Sorrows}. Far from being redundant, those who are close to God are the ones who bring springs of water and showers of blessing to a dry and thirsty land.


Isn’t that what Jesus promised those who come to him:

“If anyone is thirsty let him come to me and drink.

Whoever believes in me as the scripture has said,

streams of living water will flow from within him.

By this he meant the holy Spirit…[Jn.7v37f]


In the physical realm as we get older we become less able to do the things that we used to do.

To most of you I am young. To my children I am old. I begin to fell old when I can no longer run faster than my sons. I used to be able to run the 100m in 10.9 secs. I can’t any more.


But the psalmist says that far from getting weaker those who know God go from strength to strength. As the body gets older and weaker the soul gets stronger and can produce real blessing toward others. This does not mean that life is easy or pain free. The valley of Baca can equally be translated “Sorrows” and life can bring many sorrows. But in spite of those sorrows the one who relies on God goes from “strength to strength”.


For the Christian ageing is not nearing the end but rather a time to look forward to the beginning of enjoying the fullness of the presence of God.

As we follow Christ and go from strength to strength we look froward more and more to being with God in heaven.

The apostle Paul longed to be in heaven “which is better by far”



GOD. [v.10-12]


Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere.

I would rather be a door keeper in the house of the lord

than to dwell in the tents of the wicked.


The task of the doorkeeper in the temple was not a very high profile job. But because it was a God-ordained task it was infinitely better than any position of importance away from God. The root of all wickedness lies in shunning fellowship with God.


But the one who trusts in God will enjoy God’s protection and God’s favour and God’s honour.

No good thing does he withold from those

whose walk is blameless [v11]


He didn’t promise life would be plain sailing or trouble free but that real strength and beauty was inner and spiritual and not outer and physical.


Ultimately real joy will be in the eternal presence of God in heaven. Here God will give us everything that is good and will take us home to glory. He will give strength for the journey even when it means going through the Parched Valley [Valley of Sorrow]. But one thing is sure we will be with him in heaven if we have walked with him in this life.


ILLUST: Old missionary couple returning from aboard after a lifetime on the mission field. On the same ship a famous movie star. Crowds to meet the movie star and no one to meet the old couple. The wife complained to her husband who responded “But my dear we are not home yet”.

Some may think, “I haven’t served God all my life he won’t accept me now – I don’t deserve it!”

No one deserves it – Jesus told a story about workers hired in the morning, at noon and in the afternoon and were all paid the same. Whether you come to God when you are 5 or 95 he treats us all the same!


God’s goodness in this life is wonderful BUT the best is yet to come.


Revelation 21:3-4 …”Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (NIV)


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