• Matt Beaney

#476 (8/11/21) HOW LOVELY IS YOUR DWELLING PLACE



This week’s devotionals are based on Dave Holden’s message from our New Ground Sunday. You can watch the service and the message at https://vimeo.com/638751563

‘How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts! My soul longs, indeed it faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh sing for joy to the living God. Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young,at your altars, O Lord of hosts, my King and my God. Happy are those who live in your house, ever singing your praise.’ (Psalm 84:1-5)

What brings us greatest joy and restoration? There are many good and bad sources of refreshing. However, it’s only God who can give us what our hearts truly need because it’s Him that we need and not just what He gives!


Can we truly say, from experience, “How lovely is your dwelling place”. Can we say that “My soul longs, indeed it faints for your courts”? In another Psalm, we read these inspirational words,

‘One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.’ (Psalms 27:4)

Is our ‘one thing’ to know and be with God? All Christians love God and have a desire for Him. However, it’s not automatic that we will, therefore, go to Him to refresh our souls.


The great promise for those who will make time to be with God is, ‘Happy are those who live in your house, ever singing your praise.’ Clearly this is more that a devotional time; this is about dwelling in God’s house throughout the day. Israel, in the wilderness, had The Tabernacle. This was a movable temple. Like them, we have a moveable temple. God is in us and with us wherever we go. However, there a massive difference between proximity and intimacy! The Father wants us to genuinely dwell with Him through the day.


OVER TO YOU - PRAY AND WORSHIP OUT OF THE BIBLE

I’ve made a few comments. However, it’s more important that you engage with the text yourself. Take a moment to pray and listen to God’s voice out of today’s text.


‘How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts! My soul longs, indeed it faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh sing for joy to the living God. Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young,at your altars, O Lord of hosts, my King and my God. Happy are those who live in your house, ever singing your praise.’ (Psalm 84:1-4)

I find it helpful to use the following questions which are based upon The Lord’s Prayer (Matt. 6:9-13).


1. Praise - What does this text teach me about God? What can I praise Him for?

2. Petitions - What does this teach me about His will for me and others? What could I pray for from this text? This is a good time to pray for our non-believing. friends. It’s good to ask, Is the Holy Spirit leading me in any specific response?

3. Peace-making - Is the Holy Spirit convicting me of sin for which I need forgiveness? Do I need to forgive others?

4. Protection - Ask for God’s protection generally and for any specific areas of vulnerability. Am I believing lies regarding the truths in this text?

COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY


1. Notices

It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.



1. Let's be praying and actively preparing to invite friends to our carol service on 5th December. Please make sure this is in your diary.


2. Don't forget to come along and invite your friends to our Christmas Pudding making event on 20th November. Go to the website to book tickets.


3. We have our next gift days on the 14th, 21st November. Let's be praying for How the Father wants us to get involved.

2. Icebreaker

How has God spoken to you from the Bible this week?


3. Recap of Sunday's message - please share in your group


On Sunday, Dave Holden spoke from Psalm 84:5-7

'Blessed are those whose strength is in you, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage. As they pass through the Valley of Baka, they make it a place of springs; the autumn rains also cover it with pools. They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion.' (Psalm 84:5-7)

Dave made 4 points from this text about the kind of community that God wants us to be so that we can become fruitful in our service to Him.


i) Our strength in God

We need to learn to say 'all my strength is in you'. God is teaching us through this Covid season to rely on Him alone.


ii) Live for eternity

God is reminding us to live for eternity. This phrase, 'in whose heart are the highways to Zion' speaks of living for God and things of eternal worth.


iii) Make the valley a place of springs

People whose strength is in God and who set their hearts on God and things of eternal worth will inherit the promise: 'As they pass through the Valley of Baka, they make it a place of springs; the autumn rains also cover it with pools.' As we trust God and keep going - keep trusting and walking through the valley - we will experience the joy of the Spirit and we will bring the blessing of the Spirit to others.


iv) Strength to strength

Finally, This promise of ‘strength to strength’ is for those who apply the message of this psalm: those who love God’s presence (v.1-4), rely on God’s strength (v.5a), those who will live for eternity as pilgrims in this world (v.5b) and will keep moving forward in faith (v.6). Such people and such churches go from strength to strength!


Discussion questions

1. How has the Father taught you to say, "All my strength is in you"? (Psalm 84:5a)

2. What does it mean to 'set our hearts on pilgrimage' and how would such an approach to life be seen in us?

3. We are promised, 'As they pass through the Valley of Baka, they make it a place of springs; the autumn rains also cover it with pools.' Who are the kinds of people that inherit this promise what does it refer to?

4. If we are the kind of church that embraces the teaching of this Psalm, we are promised that we will 'go from strength to strength'. Whats does this mean for you personally and for the church?

5. How has God spoken to you from this text or Sunday’s message?

6. SIV - Do you have any encouraging stories or any plans in this regard?

7. SIV - Who are you planning to invite to the carol service on 5th December?

8. Prayer - Let's spend some time in prayer regarding this week's message and anything else that you would like to pray about.







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