Psalm 84 & Korah
I was reading through Psalm 84 today which wasn’t new because I have read this book and chapter many times. It’s a beautiful chapter. But today I also read a commentary about it and they highlighted some things that I never knew before. It’s interesting to me because I am reading through a book called Sons of Encouragement by Francine Rivers, and in the book she’s writing it from the perspective of Aaron in the book of Exodus-Numbers. And if you’re not familiar with this particular story definitely go and read about Aaron and Moses and all the amazing miracles, signs, and wonders God did in Egypt through them.
I’m going to jump into the story where the Israelites are already in the wilderness, following Moses and they begin to question his authority. We’re going to be talking about a man named Korah.
The story of Korah is found in Numbers 16. Korah led a revolt against Moses; he died, along with all his co-conspirators, when God caused “the earth to open her mouth and swallow him and all that appertained to them” (Numbers 16:31-33).
I always thought this story was interesting because this group of men questioned God’s anointed and God punished them for trying to rebel.
So what does this story have to do with Psalm 84? I’ll share here what my commentary says.
“The title of this psalm is To the Chief Musician. On an instrument of Gath. A Psalm of the sons of Korah. These sons of Korah were Levites, from the family of Kohath. By David’s time it seems they served in the musical aspect of the temple worship (2 Chronicles 20:19).
Korah led a rebellion of 250 community leaders against Moses during the wilderness days of the Exodus (Numbers 16). God judged Korah and his leaders and they all died, but the sons of Korah remained (Numbers 26:9-11). Perhaps they were so grateful for this mercy that they became notable in Israel for praising God.
Charles Spurgeon said Psalm 84 was entitled “to be called The Pearl of Psalms. If the twenty-third be the most popular, the one-hundred-and-third the most joyful, the one-hundred-and-nineteenth the most deeply experiential, the fifty-first the most plaintive, this is one of the most sweet of the Psalms of Peace.””
I thought that was beautiful. The fact that there was this man who wrote this beautiful Psalm even when he came from this line of men who rebelled. God can use anyone! He is always drawing us closer to Himself.
as I continued reading through this commentary and the Psalm I also found some other things that really stuck out to me.
If you read the Psalm you can compare what I am highlighting here but in the Psalm he says
“Longing for the house of God.
”How lovely is Your tabernacle,
O LORD of hosts!
My soul longs, yes, even faints
For the courts of the LORD;
My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.”
One or more of the sons of Korah composed this psalm in the days of the tabernacle. It is also possible that the author referred to the temple in a historic, quaint way. The affection is clear; he loved the house of God, whether it was in a tent or a permanent building. He considered it beautiful, lovely.
i. “How lovely is more exactly ‘How dear’ or ‘How beloved’; it is the language of love poetry.” (Kidner)
ii. “He does not tell us how lovely they were, because he could not. His expressions show us that his feelings were inexpressible.” (Spurgeon)“
This man or men loved God. They loved His house. Their souls longed for Him. Their hearts and flesh cried out for the Living God.
The Psalm continues on to say that even the sparrow found his home.
”Even the sparrow has found a home,
And the swallow a nest for herself,
Where she may lay her young—
Even Your altars, O LORD of hosts,
My King and my God.
Blessed are those who dwell in Your house;
They will still be praising You. Selah”
They think the Psalmist saw the birds making a nest in the house of the Lord and saying how it is such a great place to rest. Rest in His presence.
My commentary says this.
“Boice offered that the sparrow is an example of a bird of small significance and the swallow is a picture of restlessness. Likewise, the insignificant can find his place in the house of God, and the restless man can find his rest (nest) there – near God’s altar.”
We can find true rest in the presence of God. True peace. True contentment.
The Psalm continues to say,
”Blessed is the man whose strength is in You,
Whose heart is set on pilgrimage.
As they pass through the Valley of Baca,
They make it a spring;
The rain also covers it with pools.
They go from strength to strength;
Each one appears before God in Zion.”
The commentary continues to say,
“Blessed is the man whose strength is in You: The man who finds his strength in God is also the one whose heart is set on pilgrimage. He does not rely on self or the world for strength, but considers himself a visitor, a traveler, a pilgrim in this world. His true strength and treasure are in the world to come.
i. This strength and heart of a pilgrim are displayed by the love for the house of God. There he meets with God, along with other pilgrims, and they gain strength in God together as they meet.
ii. The love and longing for the house of God are not meant as an escape from the world, but as a preparation for life in the world.
iii. Strength is in You: “If he cannot be at Zion, he can be with God; if he cannot enjoy sweetness he can find strength.” (Kidner)”
Our true strength comes from the Lord.
In the Psalm it continues to say “As they pass through the valley of Baca” and what’s interesting is the meaning of the name Baca. “Baca is a “noun derived from a verb which signifies to ‘weep’.” (Horne) Horne went on to explain, “This present world is to us this valley of weeping; in our passage through it we are refreshed by the streams of divine grace, flowing down from the great fountain of consolation.”
I thought that was interesting. As they pass through the Valley of Weeping they find God’s strength.
“For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand.
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
Than dwell in the tents of wickedness.
For the LORD God is a sun and shield;
The LORD will give grace and glory;
No good thing will He withhold
From those who walk uprightly.
O LORD of hosts,
Blessed is the man who trusts in You!”
I always loved this part of the scripture. It’s such a powerful statement. He longed to be in God’s house and if he couldn’t get in he would be okay even to just be a door keeper so he can see God’s glory in the temple. To lay on the threshold. How powerful is that?
“I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God: This was another expression of the psalmist’s love and longing regarding the house of God. Living a luxurious life in the fancy tents of wickedness meant nothing to him; he would rather humbly serve in God’s house.
Doorkeeper: “As the Korahites were, to whom this psalm was committed; and for whose encouragement this might be spoken. A doorkeeper is first in, last out.” (Trapp)
iv. “There may be a reference to the Korahites’ function of door keepers, in that touchingly beautiful choice of the psalmist’s, rather to lie on the threshold of the Temple than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.” (Maclaren)”
”For the LORD God is a sun and shield“
The Psalmist is speaking of the glory and goodness of God. The God of blessing. He is our sun and our shield. They enjoy the source of blessing (sun) and and defense (shield).
”The LORD will give grace and glory“ The connection between God’s grace and His glory was later on the mind of the Apostle Paul: We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God (Romans 5:1-2).“
The Psalm continues to say “No good thing will He withhold:”
This is a promise from God for those who walk with Him in righteousness and uprightness.
You will receive the goodness of God!! What a great promise to cling to.
The Psalm ends with this, “Blessed is the man who trusts in You”.
Trust God. We are blessed when we fully trust in Him because goodness comes from Him. His plan is always better. His will is better. Yes, we may not always understand the will of God, but we can trust that He has a reason for everything that He does, everything that He allows, and everything He doesn’t allow. Blessed are you who trusts God. Keep walking.
I pray this was encouraging to you today.
Written by Olivia Mancini