Israel Returning to the Courts of Jehovah
Israel Returning to the Courts of Jehovah
Psalm 84. This is a Psalm of the Sons of Korah, to be delivered to the chief musician. It is composed “upon Gittith” meaning “Winepress” (Psalms 8; 81; 84), perhaps indicating a song that would be fitting for a time of harvest, and the enjoyment of wine. Psalm 84 is the prophetic fulfillment of the Feast of Trumpets; which represents the restoration of all twelve tribes of Israel to their homeland. The following Psalm 85 is the prophetic fulfillment of the Day of Atonement, and Psalm 87 is the fulfillment of the Feast of Tabernacles. It is striking that the Sons of Korah would be credited with this Psalm. If you go back to Numbers 16 you find that Korah was a rebel who came under the judgment of God for his sin. “And the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their houses, and all the men that appertained unto Korah, and all their goods” (Num. 16:32). But God was gracious in not destroying the lineage of Korah, and years later we get this Psalm. Korah speaks of apostate Israel, but his sons speak to us of the spared remnant of Israel which is restored to the Lord, not on the ground of their faithfulness, but on the ground of God’s grace.
To the chief Musician. Upon the Gittith. Of the sons of Korah. A Psalm.
1 How amiable are thy tabernacles, O Jehovah of hosts!
2 My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of Jehovah; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living GOD.
3 Yea, the sparrow hath found a house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she layeth her young, thine altars, O Jehovah of hosts, my King and my God.
4 Blessed are they that dwell in thy house: they will be constantly praising thee. Selah.
vv.1-4 Returning Tribes Long for the Courts of Jehovah. In these verses we have the returning remnant of the ten tribes of Israel longing to be there in the courts of Jehovah. They feel that they are returning home. The “nest” or home for the returning remnant is “thine altars, O Jehovah of hosts, my King and my God”; in other words, spiritual restoration. They will think of the two tribes (v.4), already restored to the Lord, and picture them in their blessed place of “constantly praising” Jehovah. The “sparrow” is a domestic bird (two tribes, the “blessed” of v.4), and the “swallow” is a migratory bird (ten tribes, the “blessed” of v.5). Perhaps this denotes a humility in the ten tribes; just looking for a nest.
5 Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee, — they, in whose heart are the highways.
6 Passing through the valley of Baca, they make it a well-spring; yea, the early rain covereth it with blessings.
7 They go from strength to strength: each one will appear before God in Zion.
vv.5-7 The Way Back to Zion. The highways are mentioned as all leading back to Jerusalem. These paths are “in the hearts” of the returning tribes; a poetic way to describe the longing, excitement, etc. of returning home after several millennia of diaspora. It will be an uncanny, instinctive knowledge of the highways known by their ancestors. The pass through the “valley of Baca” (tears), which represents sorrow, and perhaps repentance, but afterward blessing; “they make it a well-spring; yea, the early rain covereth it with blessings”. Israel’s blessing (and the earth’s) hinges on repentance. They will have these two emotions: sorrow and joy. See Jeremiah 31:9. There will be little groups that will form as individuals with similar exercises connect on the highways; each group is called a “strength”. As they go, one group will meet another, and they will grow in size. Eventually, “each one will appear before God in Zion”. The angels (Matt. 24:31) will help them in their journey, and none of the faithful will be lost. However, as Ezekiel 20 and other passages show, the unbelievers who return with them will be purged out at the border of the land.
8 Jehovah, God of hosts, hear my prayer; give ear, O God of Jacob. Selah.
9 Behold, O God our shield, and look upon the face of thine anointed.
10 For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather stand at the threshold of the house of my God, than dwell in the tents of wickedness.
11 For Jehovah Elohim is a sun and shield: Jehovah will give grace and glory; no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.
vv.8-11 What Jehovah will Mean to Israel. The remnant continue, asking God to bless Israel through the Messiah; “look upon the face of thine anointed”. Israel now sees the Messiah as the hinge-point of blessing. In v.10, they contrast the blessedness of being in the courts of the Lord (even if at the mere threshold) with being afar off among the Gentiles; to “dwell in the tents of wickedness”. This is the very thing the ten tribes wake up to in the Songs of Degrees; that they are dwelling in the tents of wickedness. In v.11 we have a summary of what Israel’s God will mean to them as a provider (sun) and protector (shield). We have the three elements that Peter addresses in his first epistle; grace, glory, and government – “no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly”.
12 Jehovah of hosts, blessed is the man that confideth in thee!
v.12 The Happiness of Israel Trusting in Jehovah. In conclusion, the remnant of Israel address God as “Jehovah of Hosts” (Jehovah-Sabaoth), the One who commands all power in heaven and on earth, and who is with Israel. They exclaim about the happiness of trusting in Him!