(If an exile, he is not a rebel)
Psalm 84:2 My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the LORD: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God.
Spurgeon Treasury Of David
Verse 2. My soul longeth, it pines, and faints to meet with the saints in the Lord’s house. The desire was deep and insatiable—the very soul of the man was yearning for his God. Yea, even fainteth; as though it could not long hold out, but was exhausted with delay. He had a holy lovesickness upon him, and was wasted with an inward consumption because he was debarred the worship of the Lord in the appointed place.
For the courts of the Lord. To stand once again in those areas which were dedicated to holy adoration was the soul longing of the psalmist. True subjects love the courts of their king. My heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God. It was God himself that he pined for, the only living and true God. His whole nature entered into his longing. Even the clay cold flesh grew warm through the intense action of his fervent spirit.
Seldom, indeed, does the flesh incline in the right direction, but in the matter of Sabbath services our weary body sometimes comes to the assistance of our longing heart, for it desires the physical rest as much as the soul desires the spiritual repose.
The psalmist declared that he could not remain silent in his desires, but began to cry out for God and his house; he wept, he sighed, he pleaded for the privilege. Some need to be whipped to church, while here is David crying for it. He needed no clatter of bells from the belfry to ring him in, he carried his bell in his own bosom: holy appetite is a better call to worship than a full chime.
Verse 3. Yea, the sparrow hath found an house. He envied the sparrows which lived around the house of God, and picked up the stray crumbs in the courts thereof; he only wished that he, too, could frequent the solemn assemblies and bear away a little of the heavenly food. And the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young. He envied also the swallows whose nests were built under the eaves of the priest’s houses, who there found a place for their young, as well as for themselves.
We rejoice not only in our personal religious opportunities, but in the great blessing of taking our children with us to the sanctuary. The church of God is a house for us and a nest for our little ones.
Even thine altars, O Lord of hosts. To the very altars these free birds drew near, none could restrain them nor would have wished to do so, and David wished to come and go as freely as they did. Mark how he repeats the blessed name of Jehovah of Hosts; he found in it a sweetness which helped him to bear his inward hunger. Probably David himself was with the host, and, therefore, he dwelt with emphasis upon the title which taught him that the Lord was in the tented field as well as within the holy curtains.
My King and my God. Here he utters his loyalty from afar. If he may not tread the courts, yet he loves the King. If an exile, he is not a rebel. When we cannot occupy a seat in God’s house, he shall have a seat in our memories and a throne in our hearts. The double “my” is very precious; he lays hold upon his God with both his hands, as one resolved not to let him go till the favour requested be at length accorded.
Verse 4. Blessed are they that dwell in thy house. Those he esteems to be highly favoured who are constantly engaged in divine worship—the canons residentiary, yea, the pew openers, the menials who sweep and dust. To come and go is refreshing, but to abide in the place of prayer must be heaven below. To be the guests of God, enjoying the hospitalities of heaven, set apart for holy work, screened from a noisy world, and familiar with sacred things—why this is surely the choicest heritage a son of man can possess.
They will be still praising thee. So near to God, their very life must be adoration. Surely their hearts and tongues never cease from magnifying the Lord. We fear David here drew rather a picture of what should be than of what is; for those occupied daily with the offices needful for public worship are not always among the most devout; on the contrary, “the nearer the church the further from God.” Yet in a spiritual sense this is most true, for those children of God who in spirit abide even in his house, are also ever full of the praises of God. Communion is the mother of adoration. They fail to praise the Lord who wander far from him, but those who dwell in him are always magnifying him. Selah. In such an occupation as this we might be content to remain for ever. It is worth while to pause and meditate upon the prospect of dwelling with God and praising him throughout eternity.