Psalm 84:1–2 (ESV) … “How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts! My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God.”
In his opening statement, the psalmist said two things: “The temple is beautiful” and “The temple is beloved by all who love the Lord.” It was the dwelling place of the Lord, His house (vv. 4, 10), the place where His glory dwelt (26:8). Although God doesn’t live today in man-made buildings (Acts 7:47–50), we still show special reverence toward edifices dedicated to Him. We can worship God anytime and anywhere, but special places and stated rituals are important in structuring our worship experience.
The important thing is that we have a heart devoted to the Lord, a spiritual “appetite” that cries out for nourishing fellowship with the Lord (42:1–4; Matt. 5:6). The psalmist cried out for God with his entire being. He envied the birds that were permitted to nest in the temple courts, near the altar, as well as the priests and Levites who lived and worked in the sacred precincts (v. 4). How easy it is for us to take for granted the privilege of worshiping “the living God” (see 115:1–8), a privilege purchased for us on the cross.