Verse 7. We will go into his tabernacles. Having found the place where he dwells we will hasten thereto. He has many dwellings in one in the various courts of his house, and each of these shall receive the reverence due: in each the priest shall offer for us the appointed service; and our hearts shall go where our bodies may not enter. David is not alone, he is represented as having sought for the ark with others, for so the word "we" implies; and now they are glad to attend him in his pilgrimage to the chosen shrine, saying, "We found it, we will go." Because these are the Lord's courts we will resort to them. We will worship at his footstool. The best ordered earthly house can be no more than the footstool of so great a King. His ark can only reveal the glories of his feet, according to his promise that he will make the place of his feet glorious: yet thither will we hasten with joy, in glad companionship, and there will we adorn him. Where Jehovah is, there shall he be worshipped. It is well not only to go to the Lord's house, but to worship there: we do but profane his tabernacles if we enter them for any other purpose.
Before leaving this verse let us note the ascent of this Psalm of degrees -- "We heard ... we found ... we will go ... we will worship."
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 7. We will go ... we will worship. Note their agreement and joint consent, which is visible in the pronoun "we": "We will go." "We" taketh in a whole nation, a whole people, the whole world, and maketh them one. "We" maketh a commonwealth; and "we" maketh a church. We go up to the house of the Lord together, and we hope to go to heaven together. Note their alacrity and cheerfulness in going. Their long absence rendered the object more glorious. For, what we love and want, we love the more and desire the more earnestly. When Hezekiah, having been "sick unto death", had a longer lease of life granted him, he asketh the question, "What is the sign" (not, that I shall live, but) "that I shall go up to the house of the Lord?" Isaiah 38:1-22 . Love is on the wing, cheerful to meet its object; yea, it reacheth it at a distance, arid is united to it while it is afar off ... "We will go." We long to be there. We will hasten our pace. We will break through all difficulties in the way. --Condensed from Anthony Farinclen.
Verse 7. (first clause.) Tabernacles are spoken of in the plural number, and this it may be (though we may doubt whether the Psalmist had such minute distinctions in his eye) because there was in the Temple an inner sanctuary, a middle apartment, and then the court. It is of more importance to attend to the epithet which follows, where the Psalmist calls the Ark of the Covenant God's footstool, to intimate that the sanctuary could never contain the immensity of God's essence, as men were apt absurdly to imagine. The mere outward Temple with all its majesty being no more than his footstool, his people were called upon to look upwards to the heavens, and fix their contemplations with due reverence upon God himself. -- John Calvin.
Verse 7. The Lord's "footstool" here mentioned was either the Ark of the Testimony itself, or the place at least where it stood, called Debir, or the Holy of Holies, towards which the Jews in their temple used to worship. The very next words argue so much: "Arise, O LORD, into thy rest; thou, and the ark of thy strength"; and it is plain out of 1 Chronicles 28:2 , where David saith concerning his purpose to have built God an house, "I had in mine heart to build an house of rest for the ark of the covenant of the Lord, and for the footstool of our God", where the conjunction and is exegetical, and the same with that is. According to this expression the prophet Jeremy also, in the beginning of the second of his Lamentations, bewaileth that "the Lord had cast down the beauty of Israel" (that is, his glorious Temple), "and remembered not his footstool" (that is, the Ark of the Covenant), "in the day of his wrath"; as Isa 60:7 64:11 Psalms 96:6 .
That this is the true and genuine meaning of this phrase of worshipping the Lord towards his footstool, besides the confessed custom of the time, is evidently confirmed by a parallel expression of this worshipping posture ( Psalms 28:2 ): "Hear the voice of my supplications when I cry unto thee, when I lift up mine hands $fdq rybdla towards thy holy oracle": that is, towards the Most Holy place where the ark stood, and from whence God gave his answers. For that rybd Debir, which is here translated "oracle" was the Sanctum Sanctorum or Most Holy place, is clear out of the sixth and eighth chapters of the First Book of Kings; where in the former we read ( Psalms 132:19 ) that "Solomon prepared the oracle or Debir, to set the ark of the covenant of the Lord there": in the latter ( Psalms 132:6 ), that "the priests brought in the ark of the covenant of the Lord unto his place, into the oracle of the house, to the most holy place, even under the wings of the cherubims." Wherefore the authors of the translation used in our Liturgy rendered this passage of the Psalm, "When I hold up my hands toward the mercy seat of thy holy temple"; namely, having respect to the meaning thereof. Thus you see that one of the two must needs be this scabellum pedum, or "footstool" of God, either the ark or mercy seat itself, or the adytum Templi, the Most Holy place, where it stood. For that it is not the whole Temple at large (though it might be so called), but some thing or part of those that are within it the first Words of my text ("We will go into his tabernacles") do argue. If, then, it be the ark (whose cover was that which we call the mercy seat), it seems to have been so called in respect of God's sitting upon the cherubims, under which the ark lay, as it were his footstool: whence sometimes it is described, "The ark of the covenant of the Lord of Hosts, which sitteth upon the cherubims": 1 Samuel 4:4 . If the ark, with the cover thereof (the mercyseat), be considered as God's throne, then the place thereof, the Debir, may not unfitly be termed his "footstool." Or, lastly, if we consider heaven to be the throne of God, as indeed it is, then whatsoever place or monument of presence he hath here on earth is in true esteem no more than his "footstool." --Joseph Mede, 1586-1638.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
- The Place: "His tabernacles."
- Built for God.
b) Accepted by God: present everywhere, he is especially present here.
- The Attendance: "We will go", etc. There God is present to meet us, and there we should be present to meet him.
- The Design:
- For adoration.
b) For self consecration: "We will worship at his footstool." --G. R.