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.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 4. Blessed are they that dwell in thy house; etc. Alas, how happens this? There were tabernacles before, as belonging to a Lord; and courts as belonging to a king, and altars as belonging to a God; and now to be but a house as belonging to a private man; and so all this great rising to end in a fall? No, my soul, it is no fall, it is an aggregation rather of all the other; for where his tabernacles did but serve to shew his power, his courts but to shew his majesty; his altars but to shew his deity, his house serves to shew them all; for in his house there will still be praising him, and his praise and glory is the sum of all. Or is it that to dwell in God's house is a kind of appropriating him to ourselves, seeing his tabernacles and his courts lie open to strangers, his house open to none but his servants; and seeing in the nearness to God, and conversing with him, consists all true blessedness; therefore Blessed are they that dwell in his house, but how dwell in it? Not to look in sometimes as we pass by, or to stay in it a time, as we do at an inn, but to be constant abiders in it day and night, as to which we have devoted ourselves and bowed our service. Sir Richard Baker.
Verse 4. Blessed are they that dwell in thy house. What was this house more to David than another house, save that here he reckoned upon enjoying the Divine Presence? So that here was a heart so naturalized to this presence as to affect an abode in it, and that he might lead his life with God, and dwell with him all his days; he could not be content with giving a visit now and then. And why should this temper of spirit in the clearer light of the gospel be looked upon as an unattainable thing! A lazy despondency, and the mean conceit that it is modest not to aim so high, starve religion, and stifles all truly noble and generous desires. Let this then be the thing designed with you, and constantly pursue and drive the design, that you may get into the disposition of spirit toward God. John Howe.
Verse 4. Blessed are they that dwell in thy house, etc. Blessed indeed, we too may exclaim, and blessed shall they be for ever. They are dwellers, not visitors, in God's house. I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever. This is true, blessedly true, of all who trust in Jesus now. But though God's children are all priests by birth, as were the sons of Aaron, they are not all, alas! priests by consecration. (See Exodus 29.) Comparatively few know their priestly place at the golden altar. Many of them are doubting as to whether their sins, root and branch, were all consumed outside the camp; and, consequently, such are afraid to come within the court, and as for being assured of their full justification and sanctification in the risen One, they gravely doubt and fear that such blessedness can ever be their happy lot. Hence that state of soul which answers to priestly consecration at the laver, and happy worship at the golden altar, is unknown and unenjoyed. They are not priests by consecration.
Our text is plain. They will still be praising thee. Doubts, fears, unsettled questions, all are gone. Such cannot exist in the holy place. All, of course, who are in Christ, must be in God's account where he is; but all who believe in Christ, do not know and believe that they are in him, as being one with him now. When the state of our souls answers to what is symbolized by the holy place, we can only praise: They that dwell in thy house will be still praising thee. Then we are happily near to God, and have communion with him, in the glorified Christ, through the power of the Holy Ghost. Things New and Old.
Verse 4. They will be still praising thee. How appears it to be true, that they who dwell in God's house will always be praising him, seeing it is but seldom seen that servants be so forward to praise their masters? O my soul! it is not so much the good dispositions of the servants, as the infinite worthiness of the Master that makes them to praise him, for when they see the admirable economy of his government, when they see how sweetly he disposeth all things in weight and measure, when they find him to use them more like children than servants, what heart can be so ungrateful as not to praise him? And seeing by dwelling in God's house, they see these things continually, therefore they that dwell in his house will always be praising him. Sir Richard Baker.
Verse 4. They will be still praising thee. As having hearts full of heaven, and consciences full of comfort. There cannot but be music in the temple of the Holy Ghost. John Trapp.
Verse 4. Still praising. It is not enough to praise him, it must be a praising him still, before it will make a blessedness; and though to praise God be an easy matter, yet to praise him still, will be found a busy work, indeed to flesh and blood a miserable work, for if I be still praising him, what time shall I have for any pleasures? O my soul, if thou make it not thy pleasure, thy chief, thy only pleasure to be praising him, thou art not like in haste to come to blessedness. And marvel not that David speaks thus under the law, when St. Paul under the Gospel saith as much: Whether ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye do, let all be done to the glory and praise of God. Sir Richard Baker.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
- The Privilege suggested -- dwelling in the house of God. Some birds fly over the house of God -- some occasionally alight upon it -- others build their nests and train up their young there. This was the privilege which the Psalmist desired.
- The Fact asserted. Blessed are they that dwell, etc., who make it the spiritual home of themselves and their children.
- The Reason given. They will be still, etc.
- They will have much for which to praise God;
- They will see much to praise in God. G. R.