What is the meaning of Psalm 84?
The context of Psalm 84 is praise to the Lord and the desire to dwell in the Temple and worship the Lord forever. The dwelling place of God is the Temple in Jerusalem according to this Psalm (Psalm 84:1-2).
Psalm 84:3-4 reiterates that everything in creation has a home. But the person who can dwell in the Temple, the house of the Lord, is blessed. These people get to praise the Lord in his house. While the psalmist speaks of the Temple as the house of the Lord, we may also interpret the house of the Lord as heaven.
Those who trust in the Lord find their strength in him (Psalm 84:5-7). Through poetic language, the psalmist talks about the blessing we receive from God, standing before his presence and being strengthened in him.
This Psalm is almost a prayer as the congregation sings to God, their shield. They ask for God to look on them as his anointed people. We can always cry out to God for his presence with us (Psalm 84:8-9).
Every believer yearns to be in God’s presence. A day in the courts of the Lord is better than a thousand elsewhere (Psalm 84:10). The courts of the Lord still refer to the Temple in Jerusalem, but there is a heavenly Temple as well where God dwells.
The psalmist expresses the desire to be a lowly doorkeeper in the Lord’s house then to be associated with the tents of wickedness. He calls the Lord a sun and shield. The Lord always gives us great benefits. He is the son that warms us and lights our way, the shield who protects us (Psalm 84:11).
The Lord is the king who bestows honor and favor to his people. He gives every good thing to his people. He hides nothing from us. When we live a righteous life we receive every blessing from the Lord (Psalm 84:11).
The psalmist finishes out the Psalm by summing it up. He calls the Lord the Lord of hosts, the one who is in charge of the angels in heaven, the heavenly host. The summation of the Psalm is that the one who trusts in the Lord is blessed by him (Psalm 84:12).
For the Christian, we can interpret this Psalm as the desire of the heart to be with God forever. We desire to sing his praises in his presence. His presence dwells in heaven and he waits for us there. Jesus is already there preparing a place for us (John 14:1). We long for his presence, to dwell with him in his holy habitation.