1-4 | Praise for God’s Temple and longing to worship in it
5-7 | Those who worship God are blessed
8-12 | God is called upon to hear prayers and bless our worship
Three times the phrase “How blessed…” is used in this psalm.
Psalms 84:4 NASB How blessed are those who dwell in Your house! They are ever praising You. Selah.
Psalms 84:5 NASB How blessed is the man whose strength is in You, In whose heart are the highways to Zion!
Psalms 84:12 NASB O LORD of hosts, How blessed is the man who trusts in You!
The Hebrew word for blessed is אֶשֶׁר (‘esher; eh’-sher — H835), which means happiness or bliss1. It is always used in reference to people but not to God and usually in a poetic style, such as here or in Proverbs. Here are the different ways it is translated in the NASB2.
Blessed (41) – Deuteronomy 33:29; I Kings 10:8; II Chronicles 9:7; Psalms 1:1; 2:12; 32:1,2; 33:12; 34:8; 40:4; 41:1; 65:4; 84:4,5,12; 89:15; 94:12; 106:3; 112:1; 119:1,2; 127:5; 128:1; 137:8,9; 144:15; 146:5; Proverbs 3:13; 8:32,34; 16:20; 20:7; 28:14; Ecclesiastes 10:17; Isaiah 30:18; 32:20; 56:2; Daniel 12:12
Happy (4) – Job 5:17; Psalms 128:2; Proverbs 14:21; 29:18
In this psalm there are three things that make a person blessed.
- v4 – To be present and active in worship of God.
- v5 – To depend on God for strength and continually desire to return to worship
- v12 – To trust in the Lord, the Lord of hosts (He who promises victory)
All of these still apply to those who worship God today. We might not need to go to the temple and worship (Jesus was the final sacrifice, dying once for all) but we can worship God weekly in our church. The writer of Hebrews encourages this kind of attitude.
Hebrews 10:23-25 NASB Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; 24 and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, 25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.
Notice how these three verses match up with the three references to those who are blessed in Psalm 84, in reverse order.
- Verse 23 matches with Psalm 84:12 in that God’s kept His promised victory over sin.
- Verse 24 matches with Psalm 84:5 in that we are to be actively doing things to give glory to God and thus worship Him.
- Verse 25 matches with Psalm 84:4 in that we are to be ever present in worship and encourage others to be present as well.
Everyone who worships God is happy and blessed, no matter what is happening in the world around them.
Lord God in heaven, we long to be in Your presence and to worship because You are worthy of our praise. Stir in us a desire to worship You through the things we say and do and to return in celebration with others to lift up Your name. We know that we have victory through the death and resurrection of Your Son Jesus and we can rest assured that You can do anything, nothing is impossible with You. May Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
1 – Strong, James. Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible: With Dictionaries of the Hebrew and Greek Words of the Original with References to the English Words. e-Sword, 1890.
Zhodiates, Spiro, Warren Baker, and Gene Carpenter. The Complete Word Study Bible and Dictionary. e-Sword, 1993.
2 – New American Standard(r) Updated Edition Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible with Hebrew-Aramaic and Greek Dictionaries. The Lockman Foundation; e-Sword, 1998.
Meyers, Rick. E-Sword, the Sword of the Lord with an Electronic Edge. Franklin, TN: e-Sword, 2013.