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A Meditation On Psalm 84

This psalm is attributed to the sons of Korah. Their forebear was a rebellious man and he lost his life because he despised God's word. The earth opened her mouth and swallowed him up, along with his companions who also rebelled against the plain word of God. Numbers 16 records the story. His sons were wiser men and they lived to serve in God's house. This lovely psalm show us how greatly they valued that privilege.

How amiable are thy tabernacles, O LORD of hosts!

My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the LORD;

My heart and my flesh cry out unto the living God.

Yea, the sparrow hath found her an house,

And the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young,

Even thine altars, O LORD of hosts,

My King, and my God.

Blessed are they that dwell in thy house:

They will be still praising thee. (Selah)

These singers of the tribe of Levi delighted in the house of the Lord, but it was not the grandeur of Solomon's Temple that they adored; they were taken up with the God of the house. Within each of us there is a capacity for knowing and loving the God who has created us and redeemed us. To worship Him is the most fulfilling activity in which anyone can engage. The sons of Korah introduce us to some of the experiences through which they passed until they ultimately reached their goal, and their feet were standing within His gates.

The psalms are poetic and as we read we catch something of the emotion in the poet's heart. There is no thought we suggest of the sparrows and swallows nesting in God's altars because His house had been neglected. Rather the picture is of the house used and delighted in and even the birds of the heaven happily making their nesting places there. But alas, the psalmists themselves are far away. They longed to be in God's house, gathered around His altars, and that strong desire drew from them the lovely beatitude, 'Blessed are they that dwell in thy house: they will be still praising thee'.

Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee;

In whose heart are the high ways to Zion.

Passing through the valley of Weeping they make it a place of springs;

Yea, the early rain covereth it with blessings.

They go from strength to strength,

Every one of them appeareth before God in Zion.

O LORD God of hosts, hear my prayer:

Give ear, O God of Jacob. (Selah)

In the second stanza we are told of some of the experiences of those from among the tribes of Israel who travelled up to God's house to celebrate the feasts of Jehovah three times in a year. They loved the high ways to Zion where they mingled with other pilgrims. Great fellowship they had together as God led them from strength to strength, ever spurred on by the anticipation of the joy of appearing before God in Zion.

Behold, O God our shield,

And look upon the face of thine anointed.

For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand.

I had rather be a door-keeper in the house of my God,

Than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.

For the LORD God is a sun and a shield:

The LORD will give grace and glory:

No good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.

O LORD of hosts,

Blessed is the man that trusteth in thee.

In this final stanza we capture something of the joy of the sons of Korah as they arrived in Jerusalem. They were good days for Israel when Solomon was on the throne. Halcyon days indeed! There was prosperity in the land and the worship of God provided rich spiritual experience, and there was nothing to be compared to a day in His courts. These sons of Korah valued their rich heritage in the service of the Lord, and their duty, among other things, of keeping the door of His house was no menial task to them.

'The LORD God is a sun and a shield'; a sun that brings life and light, a shield that protects. 'A sun to supply with all good and a shield to protect from all evil' as Matthew Henry tersely puts it. 'The LORD will give grace and glory'. How well blessed they were. Grace now and glory hereafter, and meantime no good thing withheld provided they walked uprightly.

Our Anointed also is in God's presence for us, and through Him we enjoy the riches of God's grace and the glory associated with service in His house. But of that we shall know more, for there is laid up for us an eternal weight of glory. The very contemplation of it causes us to exclaim, along with Korah's sons, 'O LORD of hosts, blessed is the man that trusteth in thee'.