It was a song sung by some of the Israelite people in the Old Testament as they were on their way to Jerusalem to worship the Lord in the Temple.
Question – “When you think about the church where you worship, what thoughts come to your mind – and do you sense great anticipation as you contemplate worshipping again with your Church?” The Psalmist who wrote this psalm or song obviously looked forward with great anticipating to worshipping the Lord in the Temple as he sang, “I long, yes I faint with longing to enter the courts of the Lord.” This Psalmist reminds us that we ought to have a passionate longing to gather together with our fellow Christians to worship the Lord. The highlight of every week ought to be that time when we come together to fellowship, sing, serve, pray, hear the Word of God and minister together. We ought to be so thankful for the church that God has given us that we are constantly praying for our church body, our church leaders, our Church ministries and for those we want to come to know Jesus and become connected with our Church family. The Church of Jesus Christ ought to be a place we long for.
The Church of Jesus Christ also ought to be a fellowship that we live with. The Psalmist wrote: “Even the sparrow finds a home there, and the swallow builds her nest and raises her young – at a place near Your altar, O Lord Almighty, my King and my God.” In studying old church buildings, we would find that sparrows, swallows and all kinds of birds like to make their home in those buildings. Why is that? Perhaps it’s because most church buildings are only used once or twice a week and the other inhabitants of the building aren’t disturbed as much by the humans who worship in them. Now, although a church facility is a great place to meet with God and with people (especially future spouses for those unmarried), I don’t think that the Lord wants us to live in our church buildings. The Bible does teach, however, that Christians are to live together or share their lives together so that they can receive strength, encouragement and help from one another. One translation of Acts 2:42 say that the early Christians were “like family to one another.” Just as families share their lives with one another, Christians are to share their lives with other Christians. We’re to share our experiences with one another. Proverbs 27:17 reads, “People learn from one another, just as iron sharpens iron.” We’re to share our homes with other Christians. First Peter 4:9 records “Open your homes to each other.” We’re to share our talents and resources with one other. Paul wrote in Romans 12:4-5: “Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are all parts of His one body, and each of us has different work to do. And since we are all one body in Christ, we belong to each other, and each of us needs all the others.” Finally, we are to even share our problems with one another. Paul wrote in Galatians 6:2 “Share each other’s troubles and problems.” So, our church should not only be a place of worship that we long for, it should also be a fellowship we live with.
Thirdly, our church should be a body that brings us strength, encouragement and help for our lives. The Psalmist wrote in Psalm 84:5-7: “Happy are those who are strong in the Lord, who set their minds on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem (the Old Testament place of worship). When they walk through the Valley of Weeping, it will become a place of refreshing springs, where pools of blessing collect after the rains! They will continue to grow stronger, and each of them will appear before God” . . . We should be grateful that our church is available to encourage us, strengthen us, help us make it through difficult valleys and lead us to encounter, experience and live for the Lord.
As you pray today: 1) Thank God for your church, and tell Him what there is about your church that you are most grateful for; 2) Ask the Lord to show you how you can be a greater servant in the ministry of your church; and 3) Today invite someone to your church so that they can encounter God.