Psalms 84 – Pearl of Psalms: The God of Jacob’s Doorkeeper

Named “The Pearl of Psalms,” this psalm smells heavily of the sweet perfume of David’s longing for the heavenly courts of Jerusalem that was deeper than the ocean, higher than the heavens, immovable, and awfully incurable.  Though its origins, of time and person, are not exactly pinpointed, it is generally believed to be during the time of the long-haired Absalom’s revolt and David’s extremity in the wilderness and thought to be a depiction of David’s overpowering desire to be in the tabernacles where the richest blessings were enjoyed—where, as if, Paradise was enjoyed upon earth.  “For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand” besides and the lowliest position in those courts is far better than to do freely without.

“My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the LORD: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God.”David_fleeing_Absalom_22-114

Though many cannot sympathize, the power of this longing was matched with the sadness from being driven away from the place his heart so greatly desired to be: “Who passing through the valley of Baca make it a well; the rain also filleth the pools.”  The valley of Baca literally means, “the valley of mourning,” and one can see the tears of this separation, as it were, filling up the pools along this valley.  Such an extraordinarily heavy burden must have pressed upon David’s soul to such that the most heartfelt prayers of groans were squeezed from his lips:

“O LORD God of hosts, hear my prayer: give ear, O God of Jacob.
Behold, O God our shield, and look upon the face of thine anointed.”

There is much significance in naming the Lord Jehovah, as the God of Jacob.  Sight showed that Esau was the natural heir of the birthright, but Jacob knew otherwise; and instead of waiting upon the Lord’s hand to secure it legally in the sight of Heaven, Jacob took the liberty to secure it in his own way and time, though it infringed upon the principles of true righteousness and holiness–but Jacob still secured the birthright.  Though Jacob did defraud Esau, his own flesh and blood, the God of Jacob still came through for Jacob because of the character and spirit cherished by Esau in contrast to the sincerity and meekness of Jacob: “As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated;” and, in another place, “The elder shall serve the younger.”  David was well aware that the separation and bloodshed were from the terrible results of his own sins of adultery and murder; and in looking to a God–whose name is Holiness–as the God of Jacob, David could see the mercy and promises that his Father would restore and not have respect unto Absalom’s treason, and, that one day in His time, David would be restored to those courts.

May the Lord cause you to know His name,

Jeffrey Maxwell


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