LORD Almighty – Blessed is the One Who Trusts

The LORD Almighty promises to bless those who trust in Him. Psalm 84 has brought me encouragement, hope and help in suffering on many occasions. As a result, this psalm ranks among my favorites. The last verse creates a summary.

“LORD Almighty, blessed is the one who trusts in you.”
Psalm 84:12

LORD Almighty, is Yahweh Sabaoth, the LORD of Hosts — the God of armies or powers. This name declares God’s sovereignty over every army, both spiritual and natural. It was the name used when hope for deliverance through any other means vanished.

Each one of us, at one time or another, will have no one or nothing sufficient to hold to, except for God. This short psalm continues to acknowledging the LORD Almighty from beginning to end. The writer declares Him worthy of adoration and praise.

Wooden Doorway

When we, like the psalmist, put God first, sustain an awareness of Him through thick and thin, ups and downs, good times and bad, it is then that we discover Him to be truly sovereign over all — seeing us through to the finish.

LORD Almighty

Whether the psalm speaks of the exiles returning or the annual pilgrimage of worshipers to the temple is uncertain. No matter the occasion, these God-seekers possess one provoking attribute — a hunger for God alone.

“How lovely is your dwelling place,
LORD Almighty!
My soul yearns, even faints,
for the courts of the LORD;
my heart and my flesh cry out
for the living God.”
Psalm 84:1,2

Every part of their being hungers for one thing, or rather One Person, the LORD. Long before Jesus’ words echoed across the Judean countryside, these pilgrims walked the talk,

“. . . Love the Lord your God
with all your heart
and with all your soul and with all your mind.”
Matthew 22:37

Doorway Grand Entrance

They passionately longed to dwell with God forever, praising Him. Is that my longing? Is that the underlying hunger of my own heart? Does such a passionate desire drive me deeper into a personal relationship with God, not just when everything else fails but constantly declaring Him to be

“. . . my King and my God.”
Psalm 84:3

God my Strength

Along the trek between where they were to where they needed to go loomed a dreaded valley, the Valley of Baka. Baka means “weeping.”

Sound familiar? Smooth pavement may be our expectations, but rocky trails, steep climbs and deep valleys also crisscross our paths from where we are to where we need and want to go — God’s Presence.

Unwelcome but necessary; for them and us.

“As they pass through the Valley of Baka,
they make it a place of springs;
the autumn rains also cover it with pools.”
Psalms 84:6

In the valley, when weeping is all we know, we dig deep. We dig deep into the barren places, the drought-stricken hidden places of our souls, and find God present. The Living Water meets us, sustains us, refreshes us, and moves us closer to Himself.

Palace Entrance

These springs and pools of relief, that we discover in the LORD Almighty, dot our personal pathway. They become significant places of refreshing for all future travelers that follow behind us.

Oh how often God uses someone’s experience of venturing through a dark valley to bring life and light to others following the same path. The victory of one becomes the victory of many. The strength God offers to one becomes strength and hope for multiple others.

Strength to Strength

In the Valley of Weeping, little strength turns to great fortitude, weak strength becomes tenacious and strong. The strength of one creates a life link for others every bit as significant as a fresh pool of water in a wasteland.

“They go from strength to strength,
till each appears before God in Zion.”
Psalm 84:7

The Amplified Bible says, “They go from strength to strength, increasing in victorious power.” Isn’t that what we all desire? I pray that increased victorious power would be the aspiration of us all. Unfortunately, we want it without the weeping, without the valley, without the struggle.

Just like the pilgrims of old, we too must be willing to walk the difficult path. In the midst of the struggle, the LORD God Almighty draws close. The Passion Translation says that in the valley God gives, “them a brook of blessing filled with the rain of outpouring.”

Entrance Fountain

My heart cries out, “God if a valley is what it takes, lead me through the valley. If a valley will reveal your sovereignty, then prepare me for the valley. May I not miss it! May I not choose an easier way, a quick fix!”

I love this next verse in the Passion,

“Your wrap-around presence is our defense.”
Psalm 84:9

Now if only, we can maintain that imagery in the midst of our tears. The LORD Almighty wrapping His Presence around us, protecting, shielding and comforting. Yes, Lord, wrap us in Your Presence.

God’s Presence

Any problems we face and all sacrifices made dims in God’s Presence. Just one moment with Him makes the journey worth it. Everything else fades behind us; the struggle seems all but forgotten.

“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.”
Psalm 84:10

If you could choose anywhere to be, where would you go? What type of escape from work or responsibility floats through your thoughts with the notion?

Ancient Doorway

For those whose souls, hearts and flesh yearn for the living God, only one thought permeates theirs. “One day” with God, even if it is only from a distant “court”, surpasses all other desires. Even assuming the lowest position in God’s Presence, as a doorkeeper, outweighs the highest comforts the world could ever offer.

Why?

Grace and Favor

When one comes to know Him and experience Him in a personal way, He is both all one longs for and all one needs. The pilgrimage becomes worth it; the blessing of His Presence fully satisfying.

“For the Lord God is a Sun and Shield;
the Lord bestows [present] grace and favor
and [future] glory
(honor, splendor and heavenly bliss)!
No good thing will He withhold
from those who walk uprightly.
Psalm 84:11

Our relationship with the LORD Almighty isn’t ‘pie in the sky when we die.’ He releases the outpouring of His blessings to us continually, here and now.

The blessings of knowing God and being loved by Him endure beyond time. They can be summed up only one way, “No good thing will He withhold!”

Palace Stairway

What a promise! Now, I look back at my life remembering valleys of tears I feared I’d never escape and the toil of digging deep. Decades later, I continue to hunger for one thing — that moment in His Presence — sensing His voice.

LORD Almighty, blessed is the one
who trusts in you.”
Psalm 84:12

The LORD Almighty remains worthy of our trust. Yes, “blessed is the one who trusts, leaning and believing on You, committing and confidently looking to You and that without fear or misgiving.” (AMP)

A Good Appetite is a Sign of Health – Blessed is the One Psalms 1

Most people prefer either sweet or salty food. Combine sweet with a good dash of chocolate and you will discover the pinnacle of my personal food preference. A good appetite is a sure sign of physical health; an unceasing appetite for the word of God and His presence are attributes of good spiritual health as well.

While reading Psalms 1, I began to evaluate how “healthy” my appetite presently is.

“Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the LORD,
and who meditates on his law day and night.”
Psalm 1:1-3

The Progression

The progression, or rather digression, within these verses is quite obvious:

  • walk in step
  • stand in the way
  • sit in the company

Allow me to form this progression more fully. If I’m not careful, I can find myself walking “in step” with others down the “chocolate-covered-delicacy” aisle in the grocery store (which of course I could find in a power outage blindfolded)! Although temptation is building, there is no serious problem yet.

It is when I actually stop and “stand” in front of those mouth-watering goodies, that I begin to feel compelled by some indefinable inner force to reach for my chosen “yummies”. Temptation has reached a whole new level!

I convince myself to plunk those goodies into the shopping cart, pay the price and stash them into the pantry for “company”. But what happens next is predictable!  You and I both know that inevitably I will end up sitting “in the company” of those sweet treats, devouring their scrumptious, though unhealthy, goodness.

The cycle is complete! I have stepped, stood and sat. The process is repetitively familiar especially at moments of fatigue and stress!

Danger Zone

Unfortunately, a far more serious cycle is the rhythm I notice in these verses!

“…does not walk in step with the wicked…”

Generally, I’m not overly tempted to “walk in step with the wicked.” In my work place, I meet face to face people being charged with serious crimes. I am reminded of the historic events of World War II where inconceivable wickedness was unleashed in unprecedented measures. Walking the soil of Cambodia, where unspeakable atrocities were openly committed, was a life-changing experience for me.

My main temptation is neither to “walk in” or even skirt around such serious issues. Blatant wickedness should and must cause everything in me to rise up and say, “Enough!”

“…or stand in the way that sinners take…”

Now “sinner” is far more inclusive!

 “for all have sinned and
fall short of the glory of God”
Romans 3:23

Like it or not, I am one of “all”. Paul puts it so well,

“I do not understand what I do.
For what I want to do I do not do,
but what I hate I do.”
Romans 7:15

Tolerance toward our own or other’s sinful bahaviour, is actually a form of “standing”. In fact, this word “stand” literally means to “delay or hold back from doing something.” Christ has made the way; we can immediately turn to Him, repent and begin moving forward. There is no place for sin in our spiritual shopping cart!

Personal Pitfall

There have been individuals and groups throughout history who have been so entirely consumed with evil that only a thunderclap of the hand of God is sufficient to turn them from it. Disdain for such wickedness has a way of mellowing to tolerance, and finally to blind consent.

Stand “in the way that sinners take” long enough and one becomes acclimatized to sin. How deeply does abortion, euthanasia, human trafficking burn upon my heart? Do I feel its sting as strongly now as ten or twenty years ago?

Sitting is my real problem! A personal pitfall! This term holds the context of “a dwelling place or abiding in a given location.”

“…or sit in the company of mockers…”

Mockers are those “who make what is good and holy the object of their ridicule“: “defiant, cynical, free-thinkers”; “their character is proud, self-sufficiency”. That description covers most of the culture we live in! A literal translation for the word is “pests”.

Have you ever sat down for a wonderfully prepared and planned picnic only to have pesty flies, mosquitoes and wasps show up and spoil the whole affair?

I am uncomfortable with “mockers”. Usually I make attempts to steer conversation toward a healthy path, try to insert the positive, or silently wait for opportunity to escape the situation. Unfortunately, far too often for far too long I “sit”!  Why?

I never sat in the company of revelers,
never made merry with them;
I sat alone because your hand was on me
and you had filled me with indignation.”
Jeremiah 15:17

Jeremiah had it right! He chose to sit alone rather than with negative talkers and mockers. How? His priorities and focus what set in the right place — toward God.

The Appetite Solution

The psalmist gives the solution:

Blessed is the one …
whose delight is in the law of the LORD,
and who mediates on his law
day and night…”
Psalm 1:2

My delight and desire, like my appetite, is where I find pleasure and will chose to sit.

Whatever I am hungry for, I will crave; cravings seek to be satisfied. If my “delight” is toward God, I will set His word, His desires, His perspective above my own and those of others. It will matter far more to me what He thinks than the judgments of those around me. Alone with Him will actually become the best place to be!

“Who stands fast?” Dietrich Bonhoeffer asked.
“Only the man … the responsible man,
who tries to make his whole life
an answer to the question
and call of God.”

There are many heroic men and women who have influenced generations with courage, stepping in time to a heavenly calling, standing perilously for righteousness at the cost of their lives and with steadfast voice spoke living truth. Such courage and bravery doesn’t come from walking, sitting and standing contrary to God!

The ways of the world may taste good for the moment, but the repercussions go far beyond.

The Promise

Listen to the promise within these few verses:

“That person is like a tree
planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither
— whatever they do prospers.”
Psalm 1:3

Now that is something worth chewing on! I may crave the sweet, but it is fruit that satisfies my need!

The image is of perpetual beauty and productivity. “Prosper” describes the Holy Spirit’s affect on persons making them powerful and mighty; pushing forward and breaking out; or rushing forward in battle.

A consistent appetite for the word of God by sitting with the truths of scripture, standing in His Presence, and walking along His path, reaps undeniable generational and eternal spiritual benefits.

Bravo to a healthy appetite!

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Further Reading:

The Word of God – Cutting a Straight Line!

The Bible – The Most Powerful Book in the World