Speaking Of Life 3039 | The Songs of Home
Did you have a trip your family took while you were growing up? Maybe to visit relatives across the country? Or maybe back to a parent’s hometown? Or that one resort or beach town you visited every year without fail?
You develop a certain routine. You might stop at the same hamburger joint, like Melvin’s in Elizabethtown on the way to White Lake, North Carolina. You may fill your car with gas at the same Scotchman service station because you know they have the cheapest prices. You get a feel for the landmarks—the DuPont Plant, the Smithfield pork processing plant, the bridge across the mighty Cape Fear River, and the bait shop right before you enter the FFA Camp at White Lake. If your kids are young, you might pass the time by playing “I-spy” or singing songs. Our kids still remember that Susan and I would count the cows in the fields on our side of the car riding through the country.
The Israelites had similar travel customs and traditions. Israelites wore a groove between their homes and the temple, making the trip several times during their lives, and they would often sing psalms as they made their pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Psalm 84 was one they traditionally sang.
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.
Psalm 84:10 (ESV)
This song might be sung several times along the way, ringing the theme that they were headed to God’s courts. With rising joy as they approached the familiar destination, they would reiterate their central story as God’s people.
Stop for a second and think about this: The Son of God probably sang this song as a kid. Joseph and Mary most likely sang this song as they traveled to the temple to have him dedicated when he was twelve. Some of the first sounds he would remember on earth were these hopeful words over and over:
Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, at your altars, O Lord of hosts, my King and my God.
Psalm 84:3 (ESV)
These were songs of comfort and longing, songs of home.
We still sing these songs and similar songs as we tell these stories today, as we are on our own pilgrimage. We are not all the way home yet, we are not fully at rest; we are still on the journey.
Jesus journeyed. He knew the fatigue and boredom that would occasionally arise, but he also knew the excitement of traveling with family. And that’s the key. We are the family of God, still on that journey. The blessing is that Jesus journeys with us; he walks with us and he sings with us the songs of his home.
I’m Greg Williams, Speaking of Life.