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Saturday, May 28, 2016

PSALM 84

 
 
You can long for something so sweet it cries out to you,
like a taste of something you yearn for.
Like cherries.
You feast with your eyes,
you can smell them,
you can roll them around in your mouth,
then bite into their juiciness.
They can't be obtained any ol' time.
They are a rare and precious treat,
plucked fresh at the peak of the Spring and early Summer.
The rest of the year, you just are wishing, longing, yearning.
 

 
"How lovely are Your dwelling places,
O Lord of hosts!
My soul longed and even yearned for the courts of the Lord;
My heart and my flesh sing for joy to the living God.
The bird also has found a house,
And the swallow a nest for herself,
where she may lay her young,
Even Your altars,
O Lord of hosts,
My King and my God."
(verses 1-3)



Okay, y'all, we can't eat the whole pie or we'd be sick,
especially when one slice is so delicious we have to savor it.
That's how I feel about these verses.
I can't eat the whole thing, just stick a fork in this slice and die happy.
It makes my eyes roll back in my head with its sweetness.
It's about how lovely,
a yearning, longing heart,
singing heart and flesh for joy.
 
"It is supposed that David penned this psalm...the pious breathing of a gracious soul after God...
Gracious souls see a wonderful , an inexpressible, beauty in holiness...the beauty of holiness is spiritual, and the glory is within...The longing desire he had (after being driven out by Absalom) to return to the enjoyment of public ordinances, or rather of God in them.  It was an entire desire; body, soul, and spirit.  It was an intense desire.  He longed, he fainted, he cried out.  Yet it was not so much the courts of the Lord that he coveted, but he cried out, in prayer for the living God Himself."(Matthew Henry)


 
"My heart and my flesh:
"All the desires of my soul and body;
--every appetite and wish,
both animal and spiritual long for Thy service."
(Adam Clarke)


 
"His grudging the happiness of the little birds that made their nests in the buildings that were adjoining to God's altars, 'The sparrow has found a house and the swallow a nest for herself.'  These little birds, by the instinct and direction of nature, provide habitations for themselves in houses, as other birds do in the woods; some such David supposes there were in the buildings about the courts of God's house and wishes himself with them.  He would rather live in a bird's nest nigh God's altars than in a palace at a distance from them...here for the wings of a sparrow, that he might fly undiscovered into God's courts...(if I may offer a conjecture) perhaps when, in David's time, music was introduced so much into the sacred service, to complete the harmony they had singing-birds in cages hung about the courts of the tabernacle (for we find the singing of birds taken notice of to the glory of God) and David envies the happiness of these, and would gladly change place with them...to let this be his rest, his home; here he will dwell.  And he takes notice that these birds there they lay their young; for those who have a place in God's courts themselves cannot but desire that their children also may have in God's house, a place and a name."
(Matthew Henry)

 
That is a pretty picture of birdsong filling the temple not just from without, but within, from cages brought in for that purpose.  Just the thought of David's harp being strummed with the birds singing in the background, just as it would have happened out when he was a shepherd boy, but now in the temple, is a lovely thought indeed.

Just sorting through my C.D.'s I found five Nature Scapes, one of just birdsong.  Back in the day, we would listen to birdsong on cassette.  It was something we paused and took note of on our recent trip as we walked along the rushing creeks and rivers, the singing of birds.  I even captured a little of it on my iPhone as I took videos of the water seen through the trees.  Walking along in Sparta, Tennessee, our attention was grabbed by a pert, unfamiliar birdsong.  Our eyes sought the source up in the treetops.  It was a cardinal.  In fact, we often saw cardinals after that on our trip, a bird not found back home.  The bird snagged attention with its bright cherry-like plumage among the leaves.  what a treat!  A feast for the eyes, like cherries are for the eyes and mouth.

 
But more than all the singing notes, the rest, the desire to be at home in the beauty of holiness is what David is describing here.  It is a rest found within when it is not to be found without.

 
The light of the world may be a song.
 
Oswald Chambers wrote, "We are not called to produce admiration for ourselves, but to live a life in such perfect relationship to God that it produces a longing for God in the hearts of others."
May we be the singing birds within and without the courts of God.



Isn't that what we wish for our "nestlings," that we would have created such a natural beauty of holiness, the glory within of singing in the soul, that we would create a longing for our offspring to follow?
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


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