Lent | 3.14.12

Psalm 84
Ezra 6:1-16
Mark 11:15-19

Read Psalm 84.

I have loved this joyful, passionate psalm for years, but have never considered it in light of Lent, in light of Christ’s death and resurrection. As I ponder the context in which it was written, and contrast that with our lives post-crucifixion and resurrection, gratitude and conviction rise up in me.

The Israelites made the pilgrimage to the house of the Lord a few times a year, where Yahweh dwelt. At this time, the temple had not yet been erected and they were journeying to Zion to the tabernacle. The journey was not easy or smooth, but there was jubilation as the people caravanned, anticipating the joy of being near God’s courts. David was longing for this in Psalm 84.

When I consider the joy and comfort of this passage, the lovely dwelling place of God, the sun and shield that He is, the provision and glory of God, and the joy found in nearness to him, I am grateful.

Jesus left the glorious dwelling of nearness and oneness with His Father to come to earth and dwell amongst the wicked, so that we could dwell in the courts of the Lord for eternity. His act of leaving His home to be made flesh, to walk on this earth for
33 years, and to be the atoning sacrifice—once and for all—gives us continual access to the altar of God.

I am grateful for the cross. The temple veil that created a barrier between humans and the Holy of Holies was literally torn in two at the point of Christ’s crucifixion. This joyful dwelling in the courts of the Lord that happened with a priest interceding was transformed because of Good Friday. We are now able to approach God through Christ, every day, at every hour.

Reading about the Psalmist’s longing also causes me to feel conviction. This psalm causes me to ask myself: Do I truly treasure dwelling near to God? Do I desire nearness to God? Does my “soul long and faint for the courts of the Lord?” Does my “heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God”? Would I rather be a “doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked”?

As we consider the profound mystery of this season, may we be stirred towards gratitude and conviction. May our hearts sing for joy to the living God who blesses those who trust in Him.

Julie Hunt
Assistant Professor, Social Work

You can download the full Lent and Holy Week Devotional Guide at:http://www.belmont.edu/religion/files/lent-devotional-2012-final.pdf

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