How blessed is the man whose strength is in You, in whose heart are the highways to Zion (Psalms 84:5 NASB)
David was a man whose heart was set on pilgrimage, a man on a heavenly journey. But interestingly, for a man on such a quest, he found himself banished from public worship at the Tabneracle due to the unjust and tyrannical actions of King Saul. Our voyage to our heavenly home is not without some bumps in the road.
David yearned for the courts of the Lord and the times when he would lead the processional to the house of the Lord. He was even envious of little birds who built their nests near to the temple. The commentator, Matthew Henry, observed, “he would have rather live in a bird’s nest near God’s altars than in a palace far away from them.” David declared in v. 10 (NLT), ........ “I would rather be a gatekeeper in the house of my God than live the good life in the homes of the wicked.”
David’s heart was not on the temporal but the eternal. What joy for those whose strength comes from the Lord, who have set their minds on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem (v5 NLT). As Christians it is very important where we keep our focus. If we train our eyes only on what is directly in front of us, it dims our heavenly vision. It tends to amplify our immediate, earthly struggles and takes our eyes off the prize, the Lord Jesus. It is certainly true, as some say; that we can be so heavenly minded that we are no earthly good. But it is just as true that we can be so earthly-minded we have no heavenly vision. We forget, we are just passing through.
David accepted the fact that his journey would take him through tribulations. When they walk through the Valley of Weeping, it will become a place of refreshing springs (v. 6 NLT). When we have purposed in our hearts to follow after God, our spiritual odyssey will be littered with people and circumstances that will try to impede our way. This is not the exception to the rule it is the norm. But he also knew that if we sow with tears we will reap with shouts of joy. Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning (Psalms 30:5 NLT).
Finally, David realized that short term (temporal) pain will always be justified by long term (eternal) gain. They go from strength to strength, Every one of them appears before God in Zion (Psalms 84:7 NASB). David’s mentality was that all his hardship served only to make him stronger. If we believe that all life’s reversals are designed to make our faith more enduring and allowed to bring us closer to God, it changes the whole ballgame. Our perspective determines whether our tribulations make us bitter or better. David allowed his experiences, good and bad, to lead him toward God rather than away. As Joseph, one of the patriarchs, found out, his brothers meant his ill treatment for harm, but God used it for good.
Michael W. Smith starts out his new song, Sovereign Over Us, “There is strength within the sorrow. There is beauty in our tears.” I am not totally sure how this all works, but I am completely sure it does work.
Ken Barnes, the author of “The Chicken Farm and Other Sacred Places” YWAM Publishing