How blessed are those who dwell in Your house; they are ever praising You. Selah
Psalm 11.). Note -
I. SOME OF THEIR CHARACTERISTICS.
1. Such as are negative. They are not distinguished, like the eagle and many others, but of a very humble and lowly sort; nor powerful and strong; nor beautiful; nor valuable - "Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing?" - nor numerous, that is, in comparison with the vast multitude of birds generally; nor, in themselves, attractive and beloved, like the dove. But neither are they cruel like the eagle, nor "foul like the vulture, nor greedy as the cormorant, nor bloodthirsty as the hawk, nor hardhearted as the ostrich, nor depending upon men for support as the fowls of the farmyard, nor loving darkness like the owl" (Spurgeon). All these negative qualities suggest the opposite ones in those who delight in God. But there are also:
2. Such as are positive. They are the lowly ones, restless till they find their home; seekers, - they "find" the rest they desire; true to their homes; trustful, - in what strange places their nests are often found, under the eaves of cottages, and in all manner of accessible places, where any one could reach them, but they seem to trust that no one will harm them! Are not these characteristics like those of the souls of whom these birds are the types?
II. THEIR ENCOURAGEMENTS.
1. There are the altars of God for them; they have not to provide such home.
2. When they come they are never driven away.
III. THEIR DISCOVERIES. They find:
1. A habitation, strong, comfortable, abiding.
2. A home. The Church is a home for the soul.
IV. THEIR YOUNG. Their home is in the courts of the Lord. So will the faithful servants of God seek that their offspring shall find their home in the Church of God. "Children should be housed in the house of God. The sanctuary of God should be the nursery of the young." Happy those children whose parents seek for this above all else! - S.C.
I. A SACRED SCENE. What though wealth may have poured no tribute to enrich it? what though art may have conferred no labour to adorn it? what though nobility may have allowed no patronage to sanction it? what though royalty may have pronounced no decree to exalt it? what though there be no ceremonial of gorgeous pomp to decorate its ritual, and no thrilling notes of scientific harmony to reverberate through long-drawn aisles and lofty domes, melting the passions by its charm, and swaying the senses on the side of salvation? — yet let there be the open voice of inspiration, let there be the prayer of the penitent and the hymn of the grateful, let there be the voice of the living ministry "declaring the whole counsel of God," and expounding the Gospel of His grace — and there angel bands descend and hover, the "ministering spirits" of the place, and there God pronounces, as of old, in solemn approval, "This is my rest for ever, here will I dwell, for I have desired it."
I. THERE IS A PLACE PECULIARLY DISTINGUISHED AS THE HOUSE OF GOD. Jehovah planned, built, furnished and inhabits it.
Blessed are they that dwell in Thy house: they will be still praising Thee1. The means of grace are prized in proportion to the difficulty or danger in the way of their enjoyment. The Scottish Covenanters would not be absent from public worship, although to be present at a conventicle was to brave not only oftentimes winter cold and storm under the open sky, but as well the cruel death that threatened them as law-breakers. Shall we not appear to our less favoured brethren to be the spoilt children of too many mercies?
2. The psalmist's utterance also illustrates the universal disposition among men to think they see in the lot assigned to others benefits and advantages greater than anything they themselves enjoy. Much of this discontent and murmuring has no better justification than an erroneous estimate of the prosperity and happiness of others. A little reflection would show it to be unworthy and mean-spirited. Instead of saying, "Happy are those others," and allowing discontent to embitter our spirit, let us look around, and, seeing what others lack and suffer, say gratefully, "Happy are we." Not envy, but loving, self-forgetting sympathy will be the passion stirred in our hearts. The pilgrim is not justified in supposing that those who remain in God's house are so much better off religiously than himself. After all, it is not constant and close association with sacred things that makes a man blessed. The following three verses (5-7) effectively enforce this lesson. They are best understood as the reply of the Temple ministers to the pilgrim's exclamation, "Happy are they that dwell in Thy house!" These do not seek to make out that they are not happy, but with quiet dignity they perform the useful and needful service of drawing the man's attention to his own happiness. "Nay," say they, "not only those who dwell in God's house are happy. Happy is every man whose strength the Lord is, and very specially such as are pilgrims on the highways with. gladness in their heart." The pilgrim limits the conditions of happiness unduly. All who put their trust in God, pilgrims like himself, are as fortunate as they. Happy is the priest and happy is the pilgrim!
(A. S. Laidlaw, B. D.)
II. THERE ARE PERSONS WHO FIND AN ABIDING RESIDENCE IN IT. This implies —
1. The most ardent attachment to it.
2. Constant attendance upon it.
3. The greatest enjoyment in it.
III. SUCH CHARACTERS ARE TRULY BLESSED.
1. From the nature of their employment. Praise.
2. From its perpetuity.
II. A DELIGHTFUL FACT. The house of God is the scene of —
3. Fellowship with God.
4. Preparation for heaven.Here it is, you plume your souls for "the glory, which is yet to be revealed in you"; and it is but a trifling distance that separates you from the consummation, when you shall stand in the presence of God. "Blessed," then, "are they that dwell in His house."
III. As APPROPRIATE ENJOYMENT. "Still praising "God —
1. When you tell verbally of His goodness.
2. As you render personal consecration to His service.
3. By advocating with others the claims of His house and cause.
(F. L. Wiseman.)
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