Psalm 84 and Forward Motion

Life moves on, even if you don’t. Sometimes, we stand still, and life becomes a blur speeding past us. We were created to move; forward motion is what our bodies and souls long for.

Sometimes it’s easier to just stand still. Motion takes hard work; frequently, forward motion requires you to actually fight against forces that would rather pull you backwards. It is no task for a weak heart.

A few weeks ago, I opened up Psalm 84. Drinking in the words, I was struck by the Psalmist’s pursuit of forward motion. The opening verses read,

“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.”


From the very start, the Psalmist is in full on pursuit. Just as important as whether or not we’re moving forward is what we’re moving TOWARD. If we’re chasing the things of this world, it’s going to be like we’re on a treadmill, never really moving forward, just trying to not be pulled further backward.

If we chase the things of GOD, our forward motion has great purpose and significance. It will make all the difference in our life, the lives that touch ours. We will be kingdom shakers, forward movers, desperate pursuers.

Later on in the psalm, it is written,

“Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
   whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.”

Merriam-Webster’s definition of ‘pilgrimage’ is ‘a journey to a holy place; a journey to a special or unusual place’.

Blessed are those who put their strength in the Lord, and then set their hearts on journeying toward him. How beautiful! I think that Psalm 84 has significant things to say about the forward motion in the life of a saved soul.

In a commentary on this psalm, Matthew Henry wrote,

“Those are truly happy who go forth, and go on, in the exercises of religion, not in their own strength (for then the work is sure to miscarry), but in the strength of the grace of Jesus Christ, from whom all our sufficiency is. David wished to return to God’s tabernacles again, that there he might strengthen himself in the Lord his God for service and suffering. They are such as have a love for holy ordinances: In whose heart are the ways of them, that is, who, having placed their happiness in God as their end, rejoice in all the ways that lead to him, all those means by which their graces are strengthened and their communion with him kept up. They not only walk in these ways, but they have them in their hearts, they lay them near their hearts; no care or concern, no pleasure or delight, lies nearer than this.”

Although nowhere in scripture is this confirmed, it is widely believed that King David penned Psalm 84 as part of the psalms he is responsible for due to clear cut parallels between this psalm and others he wrote. If this highly esteemed theory holds true, David penned this when he was longing to return to the Jerusalem he had been exiled from by his son Absalom. He was craving being able to run toward this city, the holy city, the city of God.

Oh, that we would crave this forward motion as much as David did! God does not dwell in a city anymore, but in the hearts of his people. What greater opportunity to pursue him constantly and consistently!

We weren’t created to be stagnant, we weren’t created to stand still. We were designed to pursue, to chase, to seek. Forward motion is in the very fiber of our being.

Chase God, move toward the things of his kingdom. Keep going. The pursuit and forward motion will all be worth it, no matter the struggle.

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