The place we have to start to overcome discouragement is by reflecting on the goodness of God toward us in past days (vv. 1-3). This is part of the problem, of course, because it is the unfavorable contrast between these past experiences of God's mercies and the lack of them now that has caused us to become discouraged. Yet it is part of the solution too, since it is because God is good that we have hope of recovering what we've lost.

Have you ever been discouraged? Not just about life—perhaps because things have not gone very well for you recently, which is the case time and again for many of us—but about your spiritual life? Or perhaps I could be even more specific: Have you ever been discouraged because the life you are living now does not seem to be as real or as joyful as your life was after you first became a Christian?

We cannot associate the worship of God with our particular church structure, as they seem to have done. But we misunderstand these writers if we suppose that all they were thinking about was the building. Actually, their true delight was in God, which is why, in spite of the earlier open passionate pining for God’s house, the psalm ends with blessing for the person who simply trusts God. It is a way of saying that in the final analysis this is what truly matters and what life is about.

However, at this point there is a three-part outline that can move us forward. It is the three blessings or beatitudes found in verses 4, 5 and 12. They make a progression. The first is for those who live and work in the temple. The second is for those who are on their way to it, for pilgrims. The third, which we will look at in tomorrow's study, is for those who cannot get to the temple but who place their faith in God.

Have you found rest in God, or are you still wandering and restless, as so many persons are? God offers you peace. Even the swallow found “a nest for herself where she may have her young—a place near your altar.”