“My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the LORD; my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God. . . . For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly” (Psalm 84:2, 11).
Psalm 84 is a hymn celebrating Zion as the place where God’s people meet with their covenant Lord. The writer(s) celebrate the awesome privilege of being a welcome guest in God’s presence. Indeed, what a joy!
In the Bible, being in the presence of God is both terrifying and glorious. Think of Isaiah in the sixth chapter of his prophecy. Think of the priests being unable to serve in the temple due to the glory of God (1 Kings 8:11). Think of the last eight chapters in Ezekiel.
When we take all of Scripture into account, we know that we are welcome in God’s presence solely on the basis of what Christ has done for us (Jn. 14:6). He is the one who covers us in his robes of righteousness (Is. 61:10; Mt. 22:11-14; Lk. 15:22). We participate in “the great exchange” where Christ takes our guilt and we receive his righteousness (2 Cor. 5:21). This is what makes the good news so good. May we never lose sight of the fact that Jesus welcomes sinners (Lk. 15:2)!
Father, because of what Jesus has done for us, we can approach you in confidence and not in fear (Heb. 4:16). Please continue to impress upon our hearts the joy and freedom to be found in your beloved Son. And may we live out of that joy.