Psalm 84 - Overcomer - How lovely are Your dwellings
A lowly sparrow and a free bird become overcomers in the church.

C. H. Spurgeon called this the Pearl of Psalms.
 
v1 - See Psalm 8, v1 for comments about "upon the winepresses"
See Psalm 42 for comments about the sons of Korah.

"Dwelllings" plural signifies local churches.
A church is the people in the church. It should be lovely because of the lives of the members.

This short psalm mentions "LORD of hosts" 4 times. "hosts" means "armies". This shows that to have a lovely church as described in this psalm requires spiritual warfare.

Mark how he repeats the blessed name of Jehovah of Hosts; he found in it a sweetness which helped him to bear his inward hunger. - Spurgeon
He does not tell us how lovely they were, because he could not. His expressions show us that his feelings were inexpressible. Lovely to the memory, to the mind, to the heart, to the eye, to the whole soul, are the assemblies of the saints. Earth contains no sight so refreshing to us as the gathering of believers for worship. Those are sorry saints who see nothing amiable in the services of the Lord's house. - Spurgeon
 
v2 -The living God is the God who answers prayer and speaks to us through His word. The church should be the house of this living God (1Tim 3:15).

The 1st 1/2 of this verse is past and suffering. The second half is the present and joyful.

This verse contains the 1st of 3 "also"'s in this psalm. My soul longed and it also pined for the courts of the LORD. Not only did my soul long, but it also suffered, wasting away.
The 2nd "also" is in the next verse: Not only do my heart and flesh sing out joyfully for the living God, but also the lowly sparrow (me) has found a home here.
The 3rd "also" is in v6: Not only does the overcomer transform the weeping valley into springing wells, but also the early rain (from God) covers it with pools of blessings.

Some need to be whipped to church, while here is David crying for it. He needed no clatter of bells from the belfry to ring him in, he carried his bell in his own bosom: holy appetite is a better call to worship than a full chime. - Spurgeon
 
v3 - I think the psalmist considers himself and his family here as the lowly sparrow and free swallow (Matt 10:29-31;etc).

We all need the church of the living God that a poor outcast can call a home, and a free swallow can settle down in and consecrate his children to the Lord, both biological and spiritual children.

The Hebrew word that I translated as "free bird" is usually translated "swallow". The word means "free". The Orthodox Jewish Stone Tanach translates it as "free bird".

my King and my God - The double "my" is very precious; he lays hold upon his God with both his hands, as one resolved not to let him go till the favour requested be at length accorded. - Spurgeon
 
v4- Most translate the Hebrew word oad as "continually", but it literally means "again". "Again" means that they had been praising the Lord, then stopped and will again praise the Lord. This agrees with v2, where the psalmist's soul longed and also pined for the house of God, but now sings aloud for joy for the living God and also agrees with the verses that follow. It is important to stay dwelling in the Lord's house in the adverse times even if the adversity makes us unable to attend the church meetings for a while.

We fear David here drew rather a picture of what should be than of what is; for those occupied daily with the offices needful for public worship are not always among the most devout; on the contrary, "the nearer the church the further from God." Yet in a spiritual sense this is most true, for those children of God who in spirit abide even in his house, are also ever full of the praises of God. Communion is the mother of adoration. They fail to praise the Lord who wander far from him, but those who dwell in him are always magnifying him.
    "Selah." In such an occupation as this we might be content to remain for ever. It is worth while to pause and meditate upon the prospect of dwelling with God and praising him throughout eternity. - Spurgeon
 
v5 -  The Hebrew word for "highways" also means "stairs" (2Chr 9:11).

Some translations add the words "to Zion" after "highways", but "to Zion" is not in the text.

A highway in our hearts is a way in our hearts to bring others to the Lord and to the church and to help them grow in the Lord. A church needs to have people like this in it and those in the church should be becoming such. (Prov 16:17; etc)

Those who love the ways of God are blessed. When we have God's ways in our hearts, and our heart in his ways, we are what and where we should be, and hence we shall enjoy the divine approval. - Spurgeon
 
v6 - "weeping" (Hebrew bacah) is from LXX. MT says "mulberry tree" (Hebrew baca), which does not make sense. The Orthodox Jewish Stone Tanach translates the word as "thorns", but I can't find a basis for that. This verse is not preserved in the DSS.

Passing through the valley of weeping goes along with the the psalmist longing for and also pining for the house of God in v2, and the "again praising Thee" in v4.

Those who have highways in their heart transform the place of suffering which they pass through into springing wells. When you are passing through the valley of weeping, the springing wells are not wells of joy (Heb 12:11), but of selflessness and seeing God's loving hand. The suffering becomes a pruning so that you can bear more fruit (John 15:2). Also God joins in and sends showers of blessings. God does not send the showers of blessings until we, in dependence on His help through the church, start transforming the weeping valley to springing wells.
 
v7 - Each suffering we pass through in this way makes our faith stronger and bolder to appear before God. Once you have suffered such a great loss and survived, you no longer fear. What worse could happen to me? (Gal 6:17)

Not merely to be in the assembly, but to appear before God was the object of each devout Israelite. Would to God it were the sincere desire of all who in these days mingle in our religious gatherings. Unless we realise the presence of God we have done nothing; the mere gathering together is nothing worth. - Spurgeon
 
v8-9 - The psalmist tells God to hear his prayer, and to look upon our Shield and the face of His Messiah so that God will be favorable to his prayer, but the psalm doesn't actually say what the prayer is. The prayer request is up to us to insert for our own situation and that of our church and the world.

Our shield is the Messiah. We tell God to look upon His face, who took our punishment upon Himself.
 
v10 - The psalmist tells God to look upon His Mesiah's face because a day in Your courts is better than a thousand. Why would the thousand-fold superiority of time spent in the Lord's courts be reason for God to look upon His Messiah's face? It may be that we are not worthy to spend time in God's courts, so we pray for God to look at our Shield, His Messiah's face as covering for us to be in His holy presence.

I get 1,000 times more inspiration in church than on my own. There is 1000 times more living God in the church (v2). If you skip church to have a time alone with the Lord, that will not work except in specific abnormal circumstances.You need a foundation of time with the Lord alone and in daily life in order to experience Him 1,000-fold in the church.To be blessed in the church, you also need to individually have your help in Him (v4).

The lowest station in connection with the Lord's house is better than the highest position among the godless. ... Note how he calls the tabernacle the house of my God; there's where the sweetness lies: if Jehovah be our God, his house, his altars, his doorstep, all become precious to us.  - Spurgeon
 
v11 - This verse gives us the assurance to pray according to verses 8-9. In this verse the psalmist switches from talking to God to talking to us, his audience.

In order for God to answer our prayers, we must walk uprightly. As soon as we are aware of anything not upright, we should make it right as soon as possible.

"God" is literally "LORD God".

A sun for happy days and a shield for dangerous ones. ...
The Lord will give grace and glory. Both in due time, both as needed, both to the full, both with absolute certainty. ...
No good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly. Grace makes us walk uprightly and this secures every covenant blessing to us. What a wide promise! Some apparent good may be withheld, but no real good, no, not one.  "All things are yours, and ye are Christ's, and Christ is God's." God has all good, there is no good apart from him, and there is no good which he either needs to keep back or will on any account refuse us, if we are but ready to receive it. We must be upright and neither lean to this or that form of evil: and this uprightness must be practical,ówe must walk in truth and holiness, then shall we be heirs of all things, and as we come of age all things shall be in our actual possession; and meanwhile, according to our capacity for receiving shall be the measure of the divine bestowal. This is true, not of a favoured few, but of all the saints for evermore. - Spurgeon

 "If He withholds aught on which you have set your heart, believe it is not really good; and still trust Him." - F. B. Meyer
 
v12 - To be blessed we need to have our home in the church (v4) and have living trust in God (v5,12). This verse is not something new to the psalm, but a conclusion of the whole psalm.

Here is the key of the Psalm. The worship is that of faith, and the blessedness is peculiar to believers. No formal worshipper can enter into this secret. A man must know the Lord by the life of real faith, or he can have no true rejoicing in the Lord's worship, his house, his Son, or his ways. Dear reader, how fares it with thy soul? - Spurgeon

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