Longing for the Beauty of the Word of God.
To the chief musician upon Gittith, to be used in public worship with the accompaniment of a stringed instrument brought by David from the Philistine city of Gath, a psalm for the sons of Korah, one of the members of this family having been the author of this hymn praising the worship of the true God. V. 1. How amiable are Thy tabernacles, the places where God revealed Himself being both worthy of love and beloved by those who realize their importance, O Lord of hosts! The plural is used in speaking of Godís habitations, because David had, at this time, erected a splendid tent on Mount Zion, which harbored the Ark of the Covenant, 2 Sam. 6, 17; 7, 2. But the old Tabernacle near Gibeon was still in use, one of the high priests being on duty there with regular priests and Levites as his assistants, 1 Chron. 22, 29; 2 Chron. 1, 3-5. V. 2. My soul longeth, with intensive desire, yea, even fainteth, exhausted and almost parched with spiritual thirst, for the courts of the Lord, where the congregation assembled for worship; my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God, with jubilant rejoicing in the midst of their sorrow, at the prospect of being in the presence of the Lord once more. V. 3. Yea, the sparrow hath found an house and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, brooding them with tender care, the reference being to the fact that small birds were permitted to build their nests within the precincts of the Temple without being disturbed, even Thine altars, O Lord of hosts; my King, and my God. Even as the birds considered the precincts of the Tabernacle their home, to which they always returned with longing and delight, so the singer regards the habitations of the Lord, the great sanctuaries of the people, as his home on earth and longs to return there, to find both protection and food in his fellowship with God. V. 4. Blessed are they that dwell in Thy house, enjoying their position as members of the household of God; they will be still praising Thee, no matter what outward afflictions tend to take away their feeling of happiness. Selah. While the poet waits for the removal of the obstructions which are keeping him from visiting the Sanctuary, he carries out the thought of the blessed fellowship with God, the believerís bond of union with Jehovah. V. 5. Blessed is the man whose strength is in Thee, the might of the All-powerful being made perfect in his own weakness; in whose heart are the ways of them, in whose thoughts were not only the pilgrim routes to Jerusalem, as they led to the Sanctuary at the time of the great festivals, but also the ways of Godís commandments, the following of which would keep the faithful in communion with Jehovah; v. 6. who, passing through the Valley of Baca, the vale of tears, the picture being that of the toilsome ascent to the hill upon which Jerusalem is situated, make it a well, the divine blessing accompanying the faithful everywhere and supplying the means by which they are refreshed on their journey; the rain also filleth the pools, the reference being to the first fruitful rain after the heat and drought of summer, which quickly changes the parched fields into green meadows. V. 7. They go from strength to strength, receiving an ever greater amount the nearer they approach the Holy City, everyone of them in Zion appeareth before God, having reached his goal in safety. The prayer of the faithful, therefore, rises up to the throne of Jehovah in a mighty chorus: v. 8. O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer; give ear, with close attention, O God of Jacob! Selah. It seems, however, that the psalmist, deprived of this glorious privilege of visiting the Tabernacle of the Lord with the congregation, now sends out an all the more fervent appeal. V. 9. Behold, O God. our Shield, the great Protector of His children, and look upon the face of Thine anointed, the reference here probably being to David during one of the periods when he was forced to flee from Jerusalem. V. 10. For a day in Thy courts, spent in worshiping with the congregation, is better than a thousand, such as are spent in the ordinary pursuits of life. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, literally, ďI prefer to lie upon the threshold,Ē the smallest measure of Godís blessing, the most remote connection with the privilege of partaking in His worship being such a wonderful experience, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness, in the midst of the greatest abundance supplied from earthly sources. V. 11. For the Lord God is a Sun, shining upon the believers with heavenly light and life, and Shield, protecting them against dangers of every kind; the Lord will give grace and glory, these gifts being the rays coming down from the divine Sun: grace, as the favor of God; glory, the honor He bestows. No good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly, making the entire conduct of their life accord with the will of the Lord. V. 12. O Lord of hosts, blessed is the man that trusteth in Thee, confidently expecting from the great King of heaven all good and all perfect gifts. The application of this psalm, both to the Christianís longing for the blessings contained in the means of grace and to his eager desire for the final revelation of Godís glory, is obvious and, at the same time, most comforting.