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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 84

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

Verses 1-12

Psalms 84

Blessedness of Sanctuary Worship

Scripture v. 1-12:

Verse 1 reads, "How amiable (lovely) are thy tabernacles, O Lord of hosts!" ft is most generally believed that this was written after David was driven from his home and city by his own son, Absalom. His life half been mostly spent near the Tabernacle of the Lord of hosts. But, lo, in his old age his own son turned traitor against him and he fled his home to save his life. As he left the city it is said,

"He went up by the ascent of Olivet, and wept as he went up, and had his head covered, and he went barefoot: and all the people that were with him covered every man his head, and they went up, weeping as they went." 1 Samuel 15:30.

And then in lonely exile away from home he poured forth his love and longing to be once again in the house of God back home. How sweet are memories of happy hours spent in the house of God!

The term "tabernacles" seems to indicate that every part of the house of God was sacred to him, even in memory. He had formerly vowed, "One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life," Psalms 27:4. But now he had come to the place in life he could not even enter the house of the Lord. He had excellent reasons for still loving the house of God, although an exile from it. And so do we.

We should cherish the House of God because it is there most men are saved. We should love the House of God because it is the appointed place of Holy Fellowship. It is the place of social prayer and praise together. It is the appointed place for instruction and exhortation in the Lord. It is the place the Lord promised to be with His people always. On the basis of this, "Let us consider one another to provoke unto love and good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another; and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching," Hebrews 10:24-25; 2 Chronicles 7:15-16.

Verse 2 reads, " My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the Lord: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God." The intense pining of David’s soul affected his entire being physically and affectionately. The intensity of the original language indicates that he was almost to the point of fainting through exhaustion, so deep was his yearning after the courts of the Lord. Yet, it was really the LORD more than the mere furnishings of the temple that he desired. Religious ordinances and forms are meaningless unless God is present in the power of His Spirit.

This man "after God’s own heart" often thirsted for personal fellowship with Him. Of this Psalms 42:1-2 reads, "As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?" See also Psalms 63:1.

Verses 3, 4 read, "Yea, the sparrow hath found an house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, even thine altars, O Lord of hosts, my fling, and my God. Blessed are they that dwell in thy house: they will be still praising thee."

David recalled the sparrows and swallows that built their nests near the altars of the Lord. Perhaps he had watched them as he had gone in and out of the tabernacle of the Lord in former years. It seems that he now envied them. He would have been happy only to have looked upon the tabernacle of the Lord as people went in and out once again. But he was an exile from home, from the tabernacle, God’s meeting place with men.

David then declared that those who "dwelt" in the Lord’s house would still be praising thee. It seems that he longed only to have the experience of the priests and scribes who remained in the house of the Lord when he had fled for his life. This indicates that David longed for intimate fellowship with God the rest of the days of his life. He longed to be a "pillar in the temple of God, and go no more out," Revelation 3:12. David in exile, in old age, longed not for his own home, not his kingdom, but FOR THE HOUSE OF THE LORD. O, Blessed are those who come down to old age with this longing, for they shall soon depart "to dwell in the house of the Lord forever," Psalms 23:6.

Verses 4-6 pronounce blessings on certain people. "Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee; in whose heart are the ways of them." This refers to those who do love and rejoice in God even though they are not officials in the house of God. Yet they love and respect those who are officials in the house of the Lord. Verse 6 adds, "Who passing through the valley of Baca make it a well; the rain also filleth the pools." The word "Baca", means "to weep." The meaning is that those are blessed, who, by faith and endurance, try to make the dreary spots of life a source of spiritual victory in gaining patience.

The "pure in heart" should be able to see God anywhere. He who worships God rightly today carries his own Holy of Holies with him and communes with God wherever he may pause to rest or worship. With the fires of God’s love burning within his soul one never need complain of the cold. He may "stir up the gift" (the fire) within him at any time. To such as stay near God the valley of "Baca* (weeping) may be turned into a well of "artesan flow", springing up into eternal life, (2 Timothy 1:6; John 4:14).

Verse 7 reads, "They go from strength to strength, every one of them in Zion appeareth before God." In spite of the toils of the way as men go up to Zion, they are preserved and everyone that starts to Zion arrives, Philippians 1:7. Here is assurance of protection from the moment of salvation until one has passed through the gates into the city of God. One enters this way, this true way to Zion, the city of God by faith in Jesus Christ, John 14:6; John 3:18; John 8:24. And when one has entered the narrow way by faith he shall never perish along the road to the HOUSE OF THE LORD, 2 Corinthians 5:1; 1 John 3:1-3.

Verses 8, 9 read, "O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayers give ear, O God to Jacob ... Behold, O God our shield, and look upon the face of thine anointed."

The prayer of David is addressed to the "Master" of the hosts of the God of heaven, even Jesus Christ. It is made to the God of Jacob, "He doeth, according to His will in the army of heaven, and the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay His hand, or say unto Him, what doest Thou?" Daniel 4:35. God is covenanted with the seed of Jacob. David recognized this in his prayer. Isaiah 45:19 reads, "I said not unto the seed of Jacob, Seek ye me in vain." He had pledged His mercy to them when they called upon Him. David called. He further addressed God as "our shield." He trusted in God’s protecting care and thus claimed the promise God had made to Abraham, "Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield," Genesis 15:1. The Psalmist further appealed to God to "look upon the face" of His anointed. David was God’s anointed king. He desired only that God would look upon him, have favor upon him, that he might return for the joys and fellowship of Sanctuary worship back home.

Verse 10 testifies, "For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness." The Psalmist here states that one day spent in God’s house is better than a thousand spent elsewhere. He contends that he had rather be an occupant of the "lowliest" office in the house of God than to dwell in ease among the heathen. This is a noble desire.

Verse 11 reads, "For the Lord God is a sun and shield: the Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly." God is here declared to be a "sun." Like the sun he imparts life, produces fruitfulness, and dispenses light, without which man would be in blackness of sin, without light, and spiritual fruitfulness. God is also called a shield, an armor or protection of His people from enemies. ft is declared that He will give grace and glory and withhold no good thing from them that walk uprightly. If it is good for them, He in His goodness, who knoweth our frame will not withhold it, Philippians 4:19. his ours to walk uprightly, Galatians 5:25; Ephesians 5:16-17.

Verse 12 concludes, "O Lord of hosts, blessed is the man that trusteth in thee." The Master of the heavenlies is here addressed. The Psalmist declared that "blessed" or "spiritually prosperous" was the man that trusteth in the Lord. And David longed to trust Him and be in His very presence, back home in the sanctuary of God once more.

Does some "exile from home," from fellowship with God, read this message? Have sin and disappointments of life led you afar from God and the blessedness once you knew, "When first you met the Lord?" then, like David, pray for restoration to God’s fellowship with God’s people in God’s sanctuary. Forgiveness is promised to you if only you will confess to the Lord. Likely Christian friends will also forgive you and restore you to their fellowship when they know the longings of your heart again, 1 John 1:9.

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Psalms 84". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/psalms-84.html. 1985.
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