Mingled Music
Psalm 84:1-12
How amiable are your tabernacles, O LORD of hosts!…

This psalm has well been called "The Pearl of Psalms." It shines with mild, soft radiance, comparable to that precious gem. I would myself speak of it as being full of mingled music, and mingled music is sometimes of the sweetest. For the most part the note is high, and the strain is sweet; yet there is a tone of sorrow underlying and interleaving all. David sings, indeed, but he sings of his sorrows. Happy is the man who can sing in the time of grief, and turn his very sadness into themes for melody.

I. "How amiable are thy tabernacles, O Lord of Hosts." This is a EULOGY of the house and worship of the living God. Whereever David may have been in person, his heart was yonder. The windows of his soul were ever open towards Jerusalem. Is not the title which David applies to God instructive? "O Lord of Hosts." The tabernacle of the sanctuary seemed to David like the pavilion of the King or general, in the very centre of the camp, and he, as one of the King's mighty men, looked towards that pavilion, gazed at its waving signal, and longed to be soon beneath its very shadow. The Church of the living God, the God of Hosts — for He is still the God of battles, and a Man of war — is the place wherein the soldiers refurnish themselves, and refurbish their arms. The worship of His house, the means of grace, these are as the armoury whence the shield the helmet, the breastplate, the sword, the preparation of the Gospel of peace for the feet, are all provided. It is also as the refreshment place, where God succours and sustains the weary warriors, wells breaking up and leaping forth at their very feet, as they did at Samson's, if needs be.

II. Then follows AN ELEGY (ver. 2). David was bereaved indeed. He had lost the sanctuary. He was away from the place where God revealed Himself particularly. They tell me that those who have dwelt among the glorious mountains of Switzerland cannot bear to live away from them. They pine and die, away from their native land. After some such fashion David looked Zionward. Absence made his heart grow fender still. What was it that he longed for? For the courts of the Lord. Ah, burner for the sake of the courts themselves. What are the courts without the King? He seeks not the place, but the presence; not the courtiers, but the monarch; not the subjects, but the Lord Himself.

III. AN ALLEGORY (ver. 3). The birds were free to visit the sacred place. "Oh," thought David, "would I were as privileged as they." He would not change places with them. He did not wish he were a bird, but he wished he had the access they enjoyed, and the familiarity and temerity that characterized them. What birds were they? Only sparrows, merely swallows, the one the most worthless and the other the most restless of birds; yet were they privileged to be where David at that time was debarred from going. Oh, prize your privileges. Make God's house your home. Love it not only for the benefit you may get from it yourselves, but for the blessing it may bring your children. "The swallow hath found a nest for herself, where she may lay her young." Thank God for the church, and the Sunday school, and the Bible classes. Despise none of them; they will bless both you and your households.

IV. AN AUGURY (ver. 4). The birds dwelt in the precincts of the Holy Place, and, according to their nature, they praised, they sang. Swallows and sparrows are not song birds, you say. Ah, but they chirped and chattered, and this was their best praise to God. Now just as the Roman augurs pretended to foretell coming events by the flight of birds and other means, so it seems to me — perhaps it is a quaint conceit — David ventures to prophesy that all who dwell in the Lord's house will be still praising Him. "Why," he says, "there are those birds chattering, chirping, twittering all the while, So long as they have so secure an abode, their hearts go forth in praise to God. There also are the priests, the Levites, and the Nethinim, the servants of the priests, surely so long as they have a hand in this work they will be full of praise to God." Certainly this is true of the upper world. I do not know that I could suggest a better epitaph for the happy Christian who praised God on earth, but is praising Him better still on high, than this word or two from our closing verse. What are they doing yonder? "Still praising, still praising." I would fain have it on my own tombstone. I could not wish a better word than that, "Still praising." "Still praising." Yes, when eternity grows old, "Still praising." They practised here, and rehearsed on earth, and now they can see Him face to face, and praise Him more than angels can. Oh, begin His praises here, that you may continue them hereafter.

(T. Spurgeon.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: {To the chief Musician upon Gittith, A Psalm for the sons of Korah.} How amiable are thy tabernacles, O LORD of hosts!

WEB: How lovely are your dwellings, Yahweh of Armies!

Delight in God's House
Top of Page
Top of Page