Vs. 1-4 speak of a person’s security of place;
Vs. 5-8 speak of a person’s strength of person;
Vs. 8-12 speak of a person’s shield of purpose.
There is no distinct event or setting for this Psalm, but it states the benefits of worshiping God, seeking God, and obeying God. This can also point to the New Testament church, Messiah, and blessings.
Verses 1-4: God represented His presence among the Israelites in a “tabernacle” (Exodus 25:8-9), which made it “lovely” (verse 1). In the New Testament, the church of Christ is where God is represented as dwelling today (Acts 18:8; 2 Corinthians 1:1; 6:16; Ephesians 2:19-22). The natural desire for worship of the Higher Being, “the living God,” is expressed (verse 2); and using an altar sacrifice is as natural as a “sparrow” finding a home, or a “swallow” making a nest (verse 3); therefore, “blessed” (happy) are those who “dwell in” God’s house (verse 4). The church of Christ offers “spiritual sacrifices” (1 Peter 2:5), not animal, and “the house of God, which is the church of the living God” (1 Timothy 3:15) is “not in temples made with hands” (Acts 17:24).
Verse 5-8: The “strength” (conviction) to attend worship (verse 5), like an inner GPS, will carry one through a valley as if blessings were raining down (verse 6), and “strength to strength” (verse 7) describes the determination never to quit until each individual “appears before God” at the place of worship (“Zion” in the Old Testament, the church of Christ in the New), where God will “hear my prayer” (verse 8).
Verses 9-12: God was Abram’s “shield” (Genesis 15:1) protecting the genealogy for Jesus Christ through Isaac, not Ishmael (Genesis 17:19). In Psalm 84:9, if God would look ahead to His “Anointed” (Jesus Christ, Galatians 3:16-17), the Psalmist’s audience would once again be useful to God’s long-term plan. “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him” (Acts 10:38). The church of Christ is the result of that plan (Hebrews 12:22-24). The importance of worship is depicted in Psalm 84:10: one worship day is worth more than 1000 doing anything else; just opening the door to the worship assembly is a desirable job; this is better than being in the dwellings of “the wicked” (a.k.a. non-worshipers!). Being in the presence of the LORD God in worship (verse 11) bathes one in “sun” and protects one with Him as “shield;” the worshiper is granted “grace and glory;” the worshiper who walks “uprightly” (a life consistent with one who loves God, will have “no good thing” withheld (1 Corinthians 3:21-23). “Then Peter opened his mouth and said: ‘In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him’” (Acts 10:34-35). The 3rd “blessed” completes the picture of the person who loves God and worships Him, for “blessed” is the one who: dwells in the House of God (verse 4), finds strength in serving God (verse 5), and trusts in God (verse 12). All who do not enjoy attending worship services are lacking one or all of these qualities! Everyone in Heaven is a worshiper of God (Revelation 4:9-11; 14:6-7), non-worshipers will not be there! God seeks “true worshipers” who will worship Him “in spirit and in truth” (John 4:21-24), and Christians will (Acts 20:7).
All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.