To the chief Musician upon Gittith, A Psalm for the sons of Korah. How amiable are thy tabernacles, O LORD of hosts!
I. Consider who is the Father of this home. He is the almighty God. With what confidence it becomes the children of such a Father to depend on their home being replenished with happiness! He is your Father; treat Him not as your enemy. Recommend His house by your cheerfulness. Melancholy is its discredit.
II. Consider who is the Steward of this house. It is the Son of God, whom His Father has appointed to the office. Notice two things which assure us of the faithfulness and tenderness with which Christ must discharge His stewardlike trust. (1) There is His devotedness to His Father's honour and gratification. (2) In addition to the general benevolence of His character, there is His kinsmanship for our security. We are not only His Father's children: we are His own brethren.
III. Consider who is the Tutor of the Christian home—He through whom the Son, as Steward for the Father, conducts the education of the family. It is as the Illuminator and Educator of the soul that as a Physician the Holy Ghost cures it of its diseases, and as its Law-agent guides it either in its pleadings for mercy before the throne of God, or in its defences against its adversaries: the devil, the world, and the flesh.
IV. The provision and entertainment of the home are presided over and administered with this threefold Divine care. Good thoughts are the feast provided in the Christian's home. There is one thought which unites with and pervades all the rest: the proclamation of the pardon of the Cross. Not only is this thought a feast of itself, but it is only as it mingles with the other thoughts that they prove a feast too.
W. Anderson, Discourses, p. 205.
Reference: Psalm 84:1-7.—J. R. Macduff, Communion Memories, p. 28.
Psalm 84:2The whole of this Psalm is the uttered desire of a soul for public worship. Yet, after all, the Psalmist reaches the climax of desire not when he speaks of the sanctuary, but of God Himself.
I. Observe the desire of heart and flesh—the living God. If a man wishes to know whether he is really a saint or no, he can very soon find out by putting his finger upon the pulse of his desires, for these are things that can never be counterfeit. The desire of the true saint is after God Himself. There are three things which sufficiently account for this desire Godward; and the first and chief is that every saint has within his breast that which is actually born of God, and therefore it cries out after its own Father. (2) Another reason is that every believer has the Spirit of God dwelling within him; and if he has the Spirit of God dwelling within him, it is only natural that he should desire God. (3) This desire after God becomes intensified by earth's experience.
II. Observe the intensity of the desire: "My heart and my flesh crieth out." Heart and flesh being both mentioned, we are taught that it is the desire of the whole man. In the original this word "crieth out" means the cry of a company of soldiers as they fall on the foe. There is expectation, eagerness, desire, all concentrated in its note. (1) It is an intensity that drowns all other desires—"crieth out for God." (2) It is an intensity of desire that creates pain. The language of our text is the language of a soul which can bear its anguish no longer in silence. It is a cry extorted by inward pangs.
A. G. Brown, Penny Pulpit, No. 1077.
Reference: Psalm 84:2.—L. D. Bevan, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xxv., p. 361
Psalm 84:3I. The first point in the analogy is that of rest and home—home rest. The house of God, the house of the Father, and the elder Brother, and all the children, is, and must be from its nature, a home. All needed rest and comfort is to be found in it.
II. Liberty. To the soul in God's house, as to the bird in its nest, there is a happy combination of rest and freedom. A nest is not a cage. There is rest in revealed truth in Christ, in a reconciled God, in holiness; but there is the freedom of a spirit which abides in these because they are ever true and real to it, and which goes forth at liberty to seek and find all that is in any way good or true.
W. Morison, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xiv., p. 143.
References: Psalm 84:3.—H. Macmillan, The Olive Leaf, p. 119; Spurgeon, My Sermon Notes: Genesis to Proverbs, p. 154; Preacher's Lantern, vol. ii., p. 496. Psalm 84:4.—Preacher's Monthly, vol. ii., p. 283; G. Brooks, Outlines of Sermons, p. 252. Psalm 84:5.—A. Scott, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xx., p. 205.
Psalm 84:5-6I. Every true Christian must expect to have his own private "valley of Baca." (1) But even this shows the intelligence which is resident in our trials. Nothing happens; all is ordered. And one of our arguments to prove we are in the true way is found in the discovery that it leads through roughness and confusion. (2) This is the way along which our Saviour went before us. We must learn to discern the tracks of Jesus.
II. Every true Christian must expect to pass through his valley of Baca. Jerusalem lay on the top of a hill. It was surrounded with mountains, traversed by ravines and gorges. Valleys sunless and barren seemed most unwelcome roadways, but they afforded the surest and shortest approaches to Zion. (1) There is no mountain without its valley. (2) By the grace of God, rests have been allowed by the way.
III. Every true Christian must expect to find a "well" in each valley of Baca. (1) In every sorrow there is some mitigation. (2) Sometimes trouble opens new sluices of joy in our experience. (3) We must always search deeply all around our afflictions.
IV. Every true Christian may force even the valley of Baca to become his well. Two conditions of success in finding out the blessedness of sorrow are indicated here in the verses of the text. One is full trust in Divine providence; the other is habitual repose upon Divine wisdom.
V. Every true Christian will find his valley of Baca ending on the mount of God. "Every one of them appeareth before God."
C. S. Robinson, Sermons on Neglected Texts, p. 1.
Reference: Psalm 84:6.—Spurgeon, Morning by Morning, p. 257.
Psalm 84:7(with Ephesians 4:15)
There is a whole "Pilgrim's Progress" in this text from the wicket-gate to the Celestial City. And, indeed, it is a pilgrim's song, the song of the Israelites ascending from the extreme parts of their nation to the great assembling of the people. And the Church has through all ages adopted this word as the expression of its experience. Nothing gained is merely gained for rest, only for further and future acquisition.
I. The Gospel of Christ is a wonderful adaptation for the forming of a perfect man. It is adapted to every variety of character, to every variety of mental and moral state, to every variety of circumstance and condition. It touches the necessities of all, speaks to the yearnings of all, answers the questions of all, responds to the hopes of all, expands the affections of all. It says to all, Grow.
II. The truth is, man is a progressive being. "If he be not rising up to be an angel, he is sinking to be a devil." His tendency may be more downwards than upwards; and he may be perfect not only in Christ, but he may be, through passion and through the knowledge of sin, perfect in the enormity of sin.
III. This is the method of life with all of us. Every acquisition is the ground of future conquest. Every gain is only the hope of future gain. "And thus the righteous shall hold on his way, and he that hath clean hands shall wax stronger and stronger." "Till we all come to the stature of the perfect man in Christ Jesus." To this the individual, to this the race, shall come. In that future world to which our life is hastening there will be scope for every development. Thither our footsteps and our best ambitions turn; and surely, even in a "strange land," the going with weariness from strength to strength will be compensated by such a home.
E. Paxton Hood, Sermons, p. 163.
Psalm 84:7Notice a few unequivocal evidences of spiritual progress in the condition of the saint of God.
I. A growing sense of God.
II. A growing dependence upon Christ.
III. Increasing steadiness and success in the resistance of temptation.
IV. Decreasing absorption in worldly objects and attractions.
V. An increased unselfishness and disinterestedness of religious emotion.
VI. A deepened composure in anticipating death and eternity.
A. Mursell, Calls to the Cross, p. 141.
References: Psalm 84:7.—Spurgeon, Morning by Morning, p. 349; H. M. Butler, Harrow Sermons, 2nd series, p. 230; F. E. Paget, Helps and Hindrances to the Christian Life, vol. ii., p. 138; G. Brooks, Outlines of Sermons, p. 107. Psalm 84:10.—Ibid., p. 252; J. N. Norton, Every Sunday, p. 114.
Psalm 84:11Perhaps no other object in nature has so many attributes that fit it to represent a supreme and invisible source of power, and life, and government as the sun.
I. Observe its universality, as a fit emblem of the universal power of God.
II. The forthstreaming of light and power from the sun has been going on through incomputable periods of time. Man's lamp is daily filled and trimmed, emblem of his own mind, that by rest and sleep refills its waste. The sun needs no trimming. God's lamp and God pour for ever untrimmed and unfilled. He is the God of ages, and yet is not old.
III. Consider also what an image of abundance the sun affords. God is everywhere in Scripture described as fruitful of effects, yet serene, quiescent, still. No being so little as God rests, and yet no being is conceived to be so quiescent as He.
IV. Sunlight not only bears light for guidance and heat for comfort, but has a stimulating and developing power. The sun exerts creative energy. All things presuppose the sun. The whole life of the animal and vegetable kingdom waits day by day for the ministering care and stimulus of the sun. And this is most significantly an image of that presence, and power, and nursing influence which resides in our God.
V. The sun is the centre of attraction, the holding force of the universe. Its invisible power harnesses all planets and stars. So God is the centre of power, and the centre of government.
VI. Consider that generosity and democracy which the sun exercises. The sun bears itself without partiality in infinite abundance and continuity. It is a life-giving stimulus to all things. And it is the emblem of God, of whom it is said, "He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust."
VII. Prolific and infinite in benefit as the sun is, it is observable that only a part of its benefit is thrust upon man, and that that part is mainly that which concerns his lower necessities. If we would go further, and use the sun as artists use it, and draw out its subtler elements of beauty, we must study its laws in that direction and obey them. So it is with the Sun of righteousness. He sheds a providential watchfulness and protection upon all men, without regard to character; but if men would go higher and perfect the understanding, refine the moral sentiments, purify the heart, and come to be Godlike, developing the God that is in them, for this there is special labour required.
H. W. Beecher, Forty-eight Sermons, vol. i., p. 345.
References: Psalm 84:11.—Homiletic Quarterly, vol. iii., p. 252; R. S. Candlish, Sonship and Brotherhood of Believers, pp. 66, 79. Psalm 84:11, Psalm 84:12.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxviii., No. 1659. Psalm 84—Homiletic Magazine, vol. vi., p. 109, and vol. vii., p. 56; E. Johnson, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xxv., p. 75.
My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the LORD: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God.
Yea, the sparrow hath found an house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, even thine altars, O LORD of hosts, my King, and my God.
Blessed are they that dwell in thy house: they will be still praising thee. Selah.
Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee; in whose heart are the ways of them.
Who passing through the valley of Baca make it a well; the rain also filleth the pools.
They go from strength to strength, every one of them in Zion appeareth before God.
O LORD God of hosts, hear my prayer: give ear, O God of Jacob. Selah.
Behold, O God our shield, and look upon the face of thine anointed.
For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.
For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.
O LORD of hosts, blessed is the man that trusteth in thee.