The psalmist expresses his affection to the ordinances of God. (1-7) His desire towards the God of the ordinances. (8-12)
Verses 1-7 The ordinances of God are the believer's solace in this evil world; in them he enjoys the presence of the living God: this causes him to regret his absence from them. They are to his soul as the nest to the bird. Yet they are only an earnest of the happiness of heaven; but how can men desire to enter that holy habitation, who complain of Divine ordinances as wearisome? Those are truly happy, who go forth, and go on in the exercise of religion, in the strength of the grace of Jesus Christ, from whom all our sufficiency is. The pilgrims to the heavenly city may have to pass through many a valley of weeping, and many a thirsty desert; but wells of salvation shall be opened for them, and consolations sent for their support. Those that press forward in their Christian course, shall find God add grace to their graces. And those who grow in grace, shall be perfect in glory.
Verses 8-12 In all our addresses to God, we must desire that he would look on Christ, his Anointed One, and accept us for his sake: we must look to Him with faith, and then God will with favour look upon the face of the Anointed: we, without him, dare not show our faces. The psalmist pleads love to God's ordinances. Let us account one day in God's courts better than a thousand spent elsewhere; and deem the meanest place in his service preferable to the highest earthly preferment. We are here in darkness, but if God be our God, he will be to us a Sun, to enlighten and enliven us, to guide and direct us. We are here in danger, but he will be to us a Shield, to secure us from the fiery darts that fly thick about us. Through he has not promised to give riches and dignities, he has promised to give grace and glory to all that seek them in his appointed way. And what is grace, but heaven begun below, in the knowledge, love, and service of God? What is glory, but the completion of this happiness, in being made like to him, and in fully enjoying him for ever? Let it be our care to walk uprightly, and then let us trust God to give us every thing that is good for us. If we cannot go to the house of the Lord, we may go by faith to the Lord of the house; in him we shall be happy, and may be easy. That man is really happy, whatever his outward circumstances may be, who trusts in the Lord of hosts, the God of Jacob.
Psalms 84:1-12 . The writer describes the desirableness of God's worship and prays for a restoration to its privileges.
1. amiable--not lovely, but beloved.
tabernacles--( Psalms 43:3 ).
2. longeth--most intensely ( Genesis 31:30 , Psalms 17:12 ).
fainteth--exhausted with desire.
courts--as tabernacles ( Psalms 84:1 )--the whole building.
crieth out--literally, "sings for joy"; but here, and Lamentations 2:19 , expresses an act of sorrow as the corresponding noun ( Psalms 17:1 , 61:2 ).
heart and . . . flesh--as in Psalms 63:1 .
3. thine altars--that is, of burnt offering and incense, used for the whole tabernacle. Its structure afforded facilities for sparrows and swallows to indulge their known predilections for such places. Some understand the statement as to the birds as a comparison: "as they find homes, so do I desire thine altars," &c.
4. This view is favored by the language here, which, as in Psalms 15:1 , 23:6 , recognizes the blessing of membership in God's family by terms denoting a dwelling in His house.
5. (Compare Psalms 68:28 ).
in whose heart . . . the ways--that is, who knows and loves the way to God's favor ( Proverbs 16:17 , Isaiah 40:3 Isaiah 40:4 ).
6. valley of Baca--or, "weeping." Through such, by reason of their dry and barren condition, the worshippers often had to pass to Jerusalem. As they might become wells, or fountains, or pools, supplied by refreshing rain, so the grace of God, by the exercises of His worship, refreshes and revives the hearts of His people, so that for sorrows they have "rivers of delight" ( Psalms 36:8 , 46:4 ).
7. The figure of the pilgrim is carried out. As such daily refit their bodily strength till they reach Jerusalem, so the spiritual worshipper is daily supplied with spiritual strength by God's grace till he appears before God in heaven.
appeareth . . . God--the terms of the requisition for the attendance on the feasts (compare Deuteronomy 16:16 ),
9. God is addressed as a shield (compare Psalms 84:11 ).
thine anointed--David ( 1 Samuel 16:12 ).
10. I had . . . doorkeeper--literally, "I choose to sit on the threshold," the meanest place.
11, 12. As a sun God enlightens ( Psalms 27:1 ); as a shield He protects.
grace--God's favor, its fruit--
glory--the honor He bestows.
uprightly--( Psalms 15:2 , 18:23 ).
12. that trusteth--constantly.