Verse 4. I will abide in thy tabernacle for ever. Let me once get back to thy courts, and nothing shall again expel me from them: even now in my banishment my heart is there; and ever will I continue to worship thee in spirit wherever my lot may be cast. Perhaps by the word tabernacle is here meant the dwelling place of God; and if so, the sense is, I will dwell with the Lord, enjoying his sacred hospitality, and sure protection.
"There would I find a settled rest,
While others go and come;
No more a stranger or a guest,
But like a child at home."
He who communes with God is always at home. The divine omnipresence surrounds such a one consciously; his faith sees all around him the palace of the King, in which he walks with exulting security and overflowing delight. Happy are the indoor servants who go not out from his presence. Hewers of wood and drawers of water in the tents of Jehovah are more to be envied than the princes who riot in the pavilions of kings. The best of all is that our residence with God is not for a limited period of time, but for ages; yea, for ages of ages, for time and for eternity: this is our highest and most heavenly privilege, I will abide in thy tabernacle for ever.
I will trust in the covert of thy wings. Often does our sweet singer use this figure; and far better is it to repeat one apt and instructive image, than for the sake of novelty to ransack creation for poor, strained metaphors. The chicks beneath the hen how safe, how comfortable, how happy! How warm the parent's bosom! How soft the cherishing feathers! Divine condescension allows us to appropriate the picture to ourselves, and how blessedly instructive and consoling it is! O for more trust; it cannot be too implicit: such a covert invites us to the most unbroken repose.
SELAH. Rest we well may when we reach this point. Even the harp may be eloquently silent when deep, profound calm completely fills the bosom, and sorrow has sobbed itself into a peaceful slumber.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 4. I will abide in thy tabernacle. Some render it, I shall dwell in thy tent or pavilion royal, making it a metaphor from warfare, where those that are in the king's own tent must needs be in greatest safety. And this sense suits well with the following words: I will trust in the covert of thy wings. John Trapp.
Verse 4. Covert of thy wings. To a person who should penetrate the Holy of Holies in the tabernacle, the most conspicuous object would be the outspread wings above the mercyseat: under their shelter and upon the mercyseat David would abide in quiet confidence. C. H. S.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 4. (first clause). Where the priest has presented the sacrifice; where the law is laid up in the ark as fulfilled; where the light of the Spirit's candlestick shines; where the manna abides; where the glory is above the mercyseat; where no enemy can enter; where I commune with a covenant God.