Christianity 201

August 25, 2011

A Hunger Deep Inside My Soul

Both on and off the blog, I get comments from people who remember particular songs and are able to find them here. Especially a couple of the older songs from the three different Psalms Alive CDs Maranatha Music produced many years ago. 

We often underestimate the power of song.  Psalm 84 has been the source of many worship songs.  We can think of a few, but imagine the themes of scripture expressed musically over the past 2,000 years; the songs that were lost over the ages, and the songs that were written for use in one local church setting that were never heard beyond that church’s walls.  Here’s “How Love is Your Dwelling Place” from Psalms Alive (Maranatha Music).

The hunger deep inside the Psalmist’s soul for God’s word, God’s law and statutes, and being in God’s temple is a recurring theme throughout the Psalms. When you read the text of the Psalm you’ll also recognize a popular worship chorus from our own generation in verse 10 (and if you grew up Pentecostal or Charismatic, one from your parent’s generation in verse 11). It’s interesting that the writer’s desire to be in God’s presence is twice expressed in language that could refer to a tabernacle or building, and how that contrasts with our world today where we see declining church attendance and even church closures.

Psalm 84

New International Version (NIV)

    For the director of music. According to gittith. Of the Sons of Korah. A psalm.

 1 How lovely is your dwelling place,
   LORD Almighty!
2 My soul yearns, even faints,
   for the courts of the LORD;
my heart and my flesh cry out
   for the living God.
3 Even the sparrow has found a home,
   and the swallow a nest for herself,
   where she may have her young—
a place near your altar,
   LORD Almighty, my King and my God.
4 Blessed are those who dwell in your house;
   they are ever praising you.

 5 Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
   whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.
6 As they pass through the Valley of Baka,
   they make it a place of springs;
   the autumn rains also cover it with pools.
7 They go from strength to strength,
   till each appears before God in Zion.

 8 Hear my prayer, LORD God Almighty;
   listen to me, God of Jacob.
9 Look on our shield, O God;
   look with favor on your anointed one.

 10 Better is one day in your courts
   than a thousand elsewhere;
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
   than dwell in the tents of the wicked.
11 For the LORD God is a sun and shield;
   the LORD bestows favor and honor;
no good thing does he withhold
   from those whose walk is blameless.

 12 LORD Almighty,
   blessed is the one who trusts in you.

Here’s a version of Better is One Day by the group Petra:

Do we regard the presence of God with the same passion?  Can we say with verse 10 that in terms of the things of this world, the presence of God in ratio to the things of this world rates at better than 1,000:1 ?