“Blessed Is the Man that Trusteth in Thee”

IT IS believed the eighty-fourth psalm was written by David, and by inspiration he was moved to express his own deep feelings of love and reverence toward the Heavenly Father in such a way as to also reflect the heart sentiments of the church during the Gospel Age.

In the first verse we read, “How amiable are thy tabernacles, O Lord of hosts!” The thought in the Hebrew is, how much loved (by me) are thy tabernacles, and the plural of tabernacle would seem to have reference to the two compartments of the one Tabernacle—the Holy and the Most Holy. We know from our study of the Tabernacle in the wilderness that the Holy represented the spirit-begotten condition of the consecrated footstep followers of Jesus, and that the Most Holy represented the presence of God himself. It is because of the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit that the prospective members of the church are enabled to know and understand something of the Lord’s plans and purposes. In the Holy, the spirit-begotten mind is pictured as feeding upon the shewbread (which represented the Word of the Lord) by the light of the candlestick, which represented the Holy Spirit.

The Apostle Paul expressed the great privilege of knowing the mysteries and secrets of the Lord when he said, “To make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world [ages] hath been hid in God, … to the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, according to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Eph. 3:9-11) It is this knowledge of God’s plans and purposes that reveals to us the true character of the Heavenly Father, and makes the footstep follower of the Lord yearn with all of his being to continue in the tabernacle of the Lord.

The psalmist enlarges on these thoughts in the second verse, “My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God.” The word ‘court’ carries with it the thought of an enclosed or separated area, therefore implying that those who are privileged to be in the courts of the Lord are separated from the world and in close proximity to him. The consecrated footstep followers of Jesus yearn to be near to the Lord and serve him and his cause, for only his precepts satisfy and give peace to the soul. The psalmist in another place states, “O how I love thy law! It is my meditation all the day. Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: for they are ever with me. I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than the ancients, because I keep thy precepts. … How sweet are thy words unto my taste! Yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth! Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way.”—Ps. 119:97-104

The Rotherham translation of verse three reads, “Even the sparrow hath found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself where she hath laid her young, thine altars, O Yahweh of hosts, my king and my God!” The thought seems to be that all of God’s animate creatures yearn for a home—a den, a nest—where they feel secure and in harmony with God’s arrangements for them. So also it is with the consecrated servant of the Lord; his home that he longs for is the altar of Jehovah, who is his king and his God.

The altar in this instance is used as a metaphor to indicate the arrangement that God requires of his consecrated servants in order for them to be accepted by him. Altars were designed for sacrifice and were the means whereby offerings could be made to the Lord. So we believe that the psalmist was illustrating how the true consecrated child of the Lord yearns and longs to offer his services, strength, and substance, even life itself, as a sacrifice to his king and his God. This was the attitude of Jesus after he was spirit-begotten and enlightened at Jordan, for we read in the fortieth psalm, which is a prophecy concerning him, “Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire [animal sacrifices under the Law]; mine ears thou hast opened [that is, his mind had been enlightened to discern the desire of God that he offer himself as the real sacrifice for sins]; burnt offering and sin offering [of animals] hast thou not required. Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.”—vss. 6-8

The consecrated child of the Lord knows that the reason he is called is to share with Jesus “the afflictions [to suffer hardship in the company with—Strong’s Concordance] of the Gospel according to the power of God.” (II Tim. 1:8) These experiences that come as we endeavor to walk in the footsteps of Jesus are for the purpose of testing and developing us to share with him a place in the kingdom. The Apostle Paul, in admonishing the brethren to recognize this privilege and responsibility, said, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present [yield] your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” (Rom. 12:1) In the succeeding verses of this chapter the apostle shows how the experiences that come from walking in the footsteps of Jesus shape our new mind and he introduces his instructions with the following words, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”—vs. 2

In verse four of our theme text the psalmist says, “Happy are they who dwell in thy house: they will be continually praising thee.” (Leeser) The thought seems to be that those who have come to a knowledge of the truth, and thereby a knowledge of God’s character, constantly rejoice in the reflection of his glory. We think of another beautiful statement by the psalmist, “One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple.” (Ps. 27:4) These sentiments come to be those of all who are privileged to dwell in the Lord’s house.

In the fifth verse of our psalm we read, “How happy the men whose strength is in thee. Festive processions are in their heart.” (Rotherham) The very thought of consecration is the complete submission of the human will to the will of the Heavenly Father. This results from a realization and appreciation of the glory and character of him who has been revealed to us. Our desire is to be transformed into his likeness, but because of the weakness of the flesh, we realize in our own strength we cannot attain to the high standard set before us. And, therefore, we rely upon the promise that the Lord’s strength and his overruling providence will accomplish this desire in our lives. We think of the Apostle Paul’s experience with his thorn in the flesh. He prayed to the Heavenly Father, that if it be in accordance with his will, the affliction be removed from him. But the Lord replied, “My grace is sufficient for thee; for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” (II Cor. 12:9) This does not refer to weakness of character or of physical strength, but rather weakness manifested by having no reliance in our own powers however strong they may be. Our strength comes from realizing the weakness of the flesh in the face of the powers of darkness with which we are confronted. But even with the Heavenly Father’s help, we will never experience perfect performance while in the flesh, but by the Lord’s grace he accepts the will for the deed. It is only in the mind and will that perfection can be obtained. (Rom. 7:25) And it is only in proportion as we are able to subvert our own wills and confidence in the flesh that the Heavenly Father is enabled to work freely in us to accomplish his good pleasure.

The thought of festive processions in the hearts of the consecrated children of the Lord is one of joy and almost carefree abandon with respect to the interests and trials of the flesh, because they realize that the Lord is in complete control of their lives. The Apostle Peter spoke thus of our Lord concerning his trials and tribulations while in the flesh, saying, “Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously.” (I Pet. 2:23) The Apostle Paul also said in speaking of the trials of the Ancient Worthies that they quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.” (Heb. 11:34) Their strength was in their faith in the power and overruling providence of the Lord on their behalf. And so it is also with every true child of the Lord.

The sixth verse of our text in Psalm 84 reads, “As they pass through the thirsty valley they find water from a spring, and the Lord provides even men who lose their way with pools to quench their thirst.” (NEB) The Scriptures describe the earth and its systems, institutions, and mores, as a dark and desolate place and the people that dwell therein as covered in gross darkness. The psalmist in another place says, “My soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is.” (Ps. 63:1) In the condition of the world there is no light (God’s Spirit) or water (truth). It is only by God’s grace that light shines into our hearts and that pools of cool water are provided for our refreshment and encouragement, as we travel through this vale of tears.

The seventh verse of the psalm reads, “They go from strength to strength; the God of gods will be seen in Zion.” (RSV) The thought is that with the Lord’s overruling providence in the lives of his people and with their enlightened minds to direct them, they are enabled to grow in character-likeness, from grace to grace—strength to strength. And to insure this growth and give strength and encouragement along the way, the Lord himself is available to them in prayer as often as they might seek him.

The Apostle Paul seems to have had this in mind when writing to the Jewish proselytes in Corinth, “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (II Cor. 3:18) This condition is in contrast with the status of the Jews about whom he says, “But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the veil is upon their heart.” (vs. 15) The Jews were blinded to their privileges through Christ, until such time as the veil will be taken away by the Lord. But we now do not have a veil over our eyes; we are not blinded; and through the power of the Holy Spirit we are able to see the glory of the Lord as if by a reflection in a mirror. When we search the Scriptures and see Jesus and all that is represented in him, we behold the pattern that is set before us, and through the power of the Holy Spirit are changed step-by-step into the same likeness of character. And when this transformation is complete we will, in the first resurrection, see him as he is and have the privilege of reigning with him in the kingdom.

The Prophet David, having given us the benefit of his meditations on the blessings of dwelling in the house of the Lord, offers a prayer unto him. The first verse of this prayer (vs. 8) reads, “O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer: give ear, O God of Jacob. Selah.” Here David identifies the Lord as the same glorious being that brought the nation of Israel under the bond of the Covenant at Mount Sinai and worked such marvelous demonstrations of power and mercy on their behalf. The word selah has the thought of ‘pausing to meditate upon the words that have been spoken’.

The prayer continues in verse nine, “Behold, O God our shield, and look upon the face of thine anointed.” In the Hebrew the thought of the shield is: all of our hopes of being shielded from the foe rests upon thee. Faith in the Lord and in his overruling providences in our lives is our shield and our protection from our foes. The thought of God’s turning his face toward his anointed to look upon them is an indication of his favor. The concept is expressed in another prayer that the Lord through Moses instructed Aaron to offer on behalf of the nation of Israel: “The Lord bless thee, and keep thee: the Lord make his face to shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: the Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.” (Num. 6:24-26) David, in speaking of the anointed, was pointing to the nation of Israel, but the church of the Gospel Age inherited the blessings and favors that were originally theirs. And so we, as the anointed of the Lord, do intone our prayer for his blessing and favor.

The next verse of the prayer (vs. 10) reads as follows, “For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.” One day in the courts of the Lord is worth a thousand spent elsewhere, because in the courts of the Lord we are in his favor and can receive of his blessings. To us the courts of the Lord are not places, but rather conditions of mind and heart, and of being justified by the blood of Jesus. How blessed we are for this privilege! By comparison, the lowest position in the Lord’s arrangements is far superior to the best that the world can offer.

The prayer continues in verse eleven, “For the Lord God is a sun and a shield: the Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.” Just as the sun is the source of all life here on the earth, so the Lord is our sun, to give us a new life, to enlighten our minds, and to give us warmth. He is also our shield, protecting us on all sides from the darts of our adversaries. If we yield our hearts to him, he will give grace and favor to us. And if faithful unto death in following in the footsteps of the Master, we will receive glory, honor, and immortality, and share with our Lord the privilege of blessing all the families of the earth. Truly, the Heavenly Father will not withhold any blessing we might seek, if we have demonstrated our love for him. The words of Jesus seem appropriate, “If ye then … know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?”—Matt. 7:11

O Lord of hosts, blessed is the man that trusteth in thee!

Dawn Bible Students Association
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