Blessed is the man whose strength is in You, whose heart is set on pilgrimage. Ps 84:5.
A more literal translation of this verse would be, ‘whose heart is set on the highway.’
The literal meaning of this verse was concerning the Jews, who were required by God to appear before Him in Jerusalem three times each year (Deut 16:16). Three times a year they had to pack their bags and travel to Jerusalem. Some lived closer than others. Some had big families, some were single. Some were poor, some were rich. You can imagine that this was probably difficult for some Jews. Nevertheless, they were required to hit the highway. Some didn’t go, some went begrudgingly, but some were pumped about it; their heart was set on the highway.
The man who wrote this psalm was definitely pumped about heading to Jersusalem. Look what he says:
How lovely is Your tabernacle, O Lord of hosts! My soul longs, yes, even faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and flesh cry out for the living God!! Ps 84:1-2.
You can see how this man was pained to be away from the Lord. He would sigh greatly and groan inwardly. He would cry out, “Oh God! I only want to be in your presence!” He would wait patiently for the days when he would pack his bags and begin to travel to Jerusalem. When the day of the journey would arrive, there would be skip in his step and an plastered smile on his face. As he would travel his joy would bubble up like a spring. His strength would increase and not decrease, because the joy of the Lord was his strength. And when he would finally arrive the house of God, he would be so overwhelmed with God’s presence that he would say:
For a day in your courts is better
than a thousand elsewhere!
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
than dwell in the tents of wickedness. v. 10
I know how this man felt.
So, how does this scripture apply to us? I believe it applies to us in a spiritual way, but can apply to us in some literal ways, as well.
The difference between us and the writer of this psalm is the location of the temple of God. The location of the temple then was in Jerusalem. Now we are the temple of God.
Do you not know that you are the temple of God? 1 Cor 3:16
For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will dwell in them And walk among them. I will be their God, And they shall be My people.” 2 Cor 6:16
So we no longer have to physically travel to the temple of God, but there is a spiritual journey. The spiritual journey is traveling to the secret place in your heart. It is overcoming the distractions of this world and the busyness of your mind. It is a journey to the place of an awareness of the truth of the Word.
But it can also mean the journey to the church building. It can also mean a trip to a special meeting that may be a few hours away. I’ve heard of people in third world countries who will travel days on foot to come to a meeting where the Word is being preached, but yet I know Christians here in America who won’t even come to a special service at church because they will miss their favorite tv show… God help us.
The truth of God’s Word is that God lives within us if we are His. Let us travel the highway to that awareness. God’s presence isn’t far away. It’s right here.