The other day I was at Home Depot picking up a few things for a house project. As I made my way through the store, I noticed a commotion in the rafters up above. There among the lights was a small flock of little birds, chatting it up and occasionally swooping down on the stacks of seed bags to have their fill. These little birds had found the jackpot; the mother load and I had the sense that they were not going anywhere anytime soon. Why would they? They should just make their home here. They have everything they need.
As I found what I needed and headed home I kept thinking of those birds and Psalm 84. It is written by the Sons of Korah who are expressing their love for God and a desire to be in God’s presence. They know that in God’s presence there is safety and tremendous blessing.
How lovely is your dwelling place, O LORD of hosts! My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the LORD; my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God. (Psalm 84:1-2)
The Sons of Korah are Levites and according to I Chronicles 26 they were assigned to be gatekeepers in the House of God, the temple. The gatekeeper’s daily task was to see to and care for the upkeep, cleanliness and regular maintenance of their assigned area of the temple. So as they go about their daily tasks, this song was written from that perspective.
For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere.
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness. For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly. O LORD of hosts, blessed is the one who trusts in you! (Psalm 84:10-12)
But as they work, something interesting stuck out. Birds in the rafters.
Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, at your altars, O LORD of hosts, my King and my God. Blessed are those who dwell in your house, ever singing your praise! (Psalm 84:3-4)
The psalmists are enjoying the fact that even these little birds have found safety, blessing and comfort in God’s house.
They serve as a reminder of the great care that God has for even the most insignificant of his creatures. Much more so for us, his children! Grasping that truth ought to strengthen our desire to be with the Lord, to say as the psalmists sing, “My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the LORD”. Because it is there in His presence, that we will find rest, safety, nourishment, comfort… everything we need.
Alexander Maclaren said that “If we want rest, let us clasp God as ours; if we desire a home warm, safe, sheltered from every wind that blows, and inaccessible to enemies, let us, like the swallows, nestle under the eaves of the Temple. Let us take God as our hope.”
Author: Rev. Wes Andrews