The lockdown longings of the Lord’s people in England in November 2020 were eloquently put into words by the sons of Korah many centuries ago:
“How amiable are thy tabernacles, O LORD of hosts! My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the LORD: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God. Yea, the sparrow hath found an house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, even thine altars, O LORD of hosts, my King, and my God. Blessed are they that dwell in thy house: they will be still praising thee. Selah.” (Psalm 84:1-4)
What a heartfelt longing! Men of God earnestly desiring to be in the unique, central and special place where God dwelt among His covenant people Israel. And so today, lockdown serves to heighten our own longings to be where He is, “in the midst” (Matt 18:20).
Like the Psalmist, we can, of course, know the precious and abiding company of our omnipresent Lord day by day in the home, the office, the School or wherever. But, as of old, when God dwelt between the cherubim in the “place where God chose to set His name”, so today the Lord uniquely and specifically manifests His presence and takes up His habitation “in the midst”, when and where His people are gathered together physically “in His name” to corporately worship and serve Him. That’s what we should long for, and pine for, and faint for during lockdown.
The Treasury of David commentary on Psalm 84 puts it like this:
“[The Psalmist] had a holy love-sickness upon him, and was wasted with an inward consumption because he was debarred the worship of the Lord in the appointed place…The psalmist declared that he could not remain silent in his desires, but began to cry out for God and his house; he wept, he sighed, he pleaded for the privilege. Some need to be whipped to church, while here is David crying for it. He needed no clatter of bells from the belfry to ring him in, he carried his bell in his own bosom: holy appetite is a better call to worship than a full chime.”
O Lord, make our lockdown longings soon to cease!
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