Douglas Wilson – Psalm 84: No Good Thing Will He Withhold


This is a psalm of pilgrimage—worshipers of God afar off are longing to be where they can worship Him at the place where He has set His name. They yearn to be at the place of worship, at his tabernacle, and the spirit of worship drives them there.


“How amiable are thy tabernacles, O Lord of hosts! My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the Lord: My heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God . . .” (Psalm 84:1–12).


The tabernacles of the Lord are altogether lovely, and yet He is addressed as the Lord of hosts, the God of armies (v. 1). The worshiper, removed from the place of worship, is heartsick and faint, and yearns to be in the courts of God. He is truly homesick (v. 2). Even the lowly sparrows and swallows are privileged to dwell in the tabernacles of God (v. 3). Everyone who dwells there is blessed (v. 4). For verse five, consider the rendering of the ESV. “Blessed are those whose strength is in you, in whose heart are the highways to Zion” (Ps. 84:5, ESV). Blessed is the pilgrim who is on his way to Zion. The valley of Baca was apparently a desolate place, but it was on the way to Zion, and generations of pilgrims had dug wells for themselves (v. 6). As they approach Zion, they are moving from strength to strength (v. 7). Their strength grows as they approach their goal. Lord God, hear. God of Jacob, listen (v. 8). God is invited to look upon the face of His anointed (lit. Messiah) (v. 9). One day in the courts of God is to be preferred to thousands outside (v. 10). And a lowly place with God is superior to the grandest heights the world could bestow on you (v. 10). The Lord God is both grace and glory, sun and shield (v. 11). No good thing is withheld from those who walk uprightly (v. 11). The man who trusts in God is truly blessed (v. 12).

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