The essential thought of this psalm is, the tabernacles of Jehovah. We see that, at all times, the intention and the desire of God were to have a tabernacle; wherefore God shews to Moses on the mountain a pattern of the tabernacle.
In his song respecting the deliverance of Israel, and the miraculous passage of the Red Sea, Moses says, “Jehovah is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation, and I will prepare him an habitation,” a tabernacle; Exod. 15:2. But God says, I will prepare Myself a tabernacle; and at the end of the times, after the millennium, this desire of God shall be accomplished, according as it is spoken in Revelation 21:3: “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them.” The word tabernacle has always the sense of a habitation of God with men. Thus David, after having said, “How amiable are thy tabernacles!” adds, “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.” It was thither that the soul of David looked. According to that providence of God which has prepared a place of rest for every creature, by faith he says, Well then, since Thou hast prepared a nest even for the swallow and the sparrow, Thou hast also prepared one for me; and he adds, “Thine altars, O Jehovah of hosts!” There is the nest or place of rest that he sought. “Thine altars, O Jehovah of hosts!” And, in fact, worship is the rest of the soul.
There is but one man, dear friends, who never had a place of rest. Even as Jesus says, “The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.” And if now we have a nest, a place of rest in God, it is because for our sakes Jesus was without rest on earth.
Verse 4. “Blessed are they that dwell in thy house: they will be still praising thee.” Blessed are they, not who visit, or pass through; but blessed are they who dwell in Thy house. And impossible it is to dwell there without praising Him continually.
But, in another sens e, we are not always in the house; we go out for service, as the swallow for food for its young; but (v. 5) there are ways which lead to the house, that is to say, divers ways of God with regard to us, which end at the house. These ways, dear friends, are sometimes stony, thorny, and murderous for the flesh. But they are the ways; and he whose heart is in the house, will prefer the rugged way which leads to it, to the easy way that leads away from it. For example, for the first disciples, the ways were hunger (v. 6), perils, persecution, death, or the valley of Baca, that is to say, all that is most sorrowful; but they “made it a well.” It is thus, dear friends, that all difficulties are changed for those who are on the way; they are made into wells, that is, into sources of joy, blessing, and glory. “The rain also filleth the pools.” Not only the ordinary modes of assistance come to the help of him who is in the way, but even rain, or direct help from God, comes unexpectedly in the midst of the desert.
Verse 7. “They go from strength to strength; every one of them in Zion appeareth before God.” There are, as it were, halting-places on the Christian’s road, trials whence fountains spring up, which make him go from strength to strength.
Verse 9. “Behold … and look on the face of thine anointed.” We can always present with confidence to God His Anointed, or Christ, and thus comfort ourselves concerning what we ourselves are.
Verse 10. “A day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a door-keeper in the house of my God than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.” Many of God’s children are satisfied with being at the door, and there are even some who keep themselves outside, while we ought to enter in and dwell in the house. Yet, if our unbelief, or the lusts of our heart, which desires other objects than God, hinder us from advancing, we have at least “the door,” for Christ is “the door”; and “the door,” though it be the door only, is worth more than all that is in the world.