Verse 11. "For the Lord God is a sun and shield " - To illuminate, invigorate, and warm; to protect and defend all such as prefer him and his worship to every thing the earth can produce.
It is remarkable that not one of the Versions understand the m shemesh, as signifying sun, as we do. They generally concur in the following translation: "For the Lord loveth mercy and truth, and he will give grace and glory." The Chaldee says, "The Lord is as a high wall and a strong shield; grace and glory will the Lord give, and will not deprive those of blessedness who walk in perfection." Critics in general take the word as signifying a defense or a guard. Instead of m shemesh, sun, Houbigant reads rm shemer, a keeper or guardian, and says that to represent God as the sun is without example in the sacred writings. But is not Mal. iv. 2, a parallel passage to this place? "Unto you that fear my name, shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings." No MS. countenances the alteration of Houbigant.
"The Lord will give grace " - To pardon, purify, and save the soul from sin: and then he will give glory to the sanctified in his eternal kingdom; and even here he withholds no good thing from them that walk uprightly. Well, therefore, might the psalmist say, ver. 12, "O Lord of hosts, blessed is the man that trusteth in thee."
ANALYSIS OF THE EIGHTY-FOURTH PSALM
"This Psalm may be divided into the following parts: " - I. The psalmist, absent from the public worship of God, shows his love to the house of God, and his desire to be present in it, ver. 1-3.
II. The happiness of those who continue in that assembly, ver. 4-7.
III. He prays for restoration to it, and sets down the causes, ver. 8-11.
IV. The blessedness of the man who trusts in God, ver 12.
V. 1. He begins with the pathetical exclamation, "How amiable are thy tabernacles!" A mode of expression which intimates there is none equal to then.
2. He expresses his ardent affection to the house of God: ] 1. "My soul longeth," &c. 2. "My heart and flesh cry out," &c.
3. He laments his absence from God's house. The sparrows and swallows have their respective houses, where they may be present, build, hatch their young, &c., but he could have no access to God's house. And this he expresses in an affecting appeal to God to move his pity: - 1. "O Lord of hosts!" I acknowledge thee as my Leader.
2. "My King." I acknowledge myself as thy subject. 3. "My God." Whom I serve, and have taken for my portion.
II. The happiness of those who have liberty to worship God in his temple.
1. "Blessed are they." They enjoy thy ordinances, and have blessings in all.
2. "Who dwell:" Who continue in union with God, ever prizing his ordinances.
3. "They will be still praising thee:" As being continually happy in thy presence.
"Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee:" Who knows his own weakness, and depends upon thee for his continual support.
This is the happiness of those who are near God's house: but there is a happiness for those also whose hearts are there, though their bodies are detained at a distance from it.
1. Blessed are they in whose hearts are the ways of them, ver. 5.
2. Even when they are passing through desert and inhospitable countries, ver. 6.
3. "They go from strength to strength:" 1. They get from one place of protection to another. 2. They increase in the Divine light and life. 3.
They get many companions on the way.
III. His prayer. 1. He begs to be heard. 2. He remembers God, who succoured Jacob in weakness and distress. 3. He considers himself as the anointed of God, and under his especial care, ver. 8. He wishes to be employed, even in the meanest offices, in the house of God, which he illustrates by an opposition of time, place, and persons.
1. Time. One day in thy courts is better than a thousand out of it.
2. Place. God's house, to the tents of wickedness.
3. Persons. A doorkeeper, a Korahite at the temple, rather than an emperor in his palace.
For this he gives five reasons: - 1. "The Lord is a sun:" He dispels darkness, comforts warms, gives life.
2. He is a shield: The Defender and Protector of his followers.
3. He gives praee, to prepare for heaven.
4. Glory, to crown that grace.
5. He is all-sufficient. "He will withhold no good thing." But sinners and hypocrites need not expect these blessings; they are for them that walk uprightly.
1. They must walk-go on, be constant, abide in the way.
2. They must be upright-truly sincere and obedient.
IV. The blessedness of the man who trusts in God. "O Lord of hosts, blessed is the man that trusts in thee!" This acclamation may be intended to answer an objection: "If those be blessed who dwell in thy temple, then those must be wretched who are exiled from it." No, says the psalmist; though there be many advantages enjoyed by those who can attend the ordinances of God, and some may attend them without profit; yet he who trusts in God can never be confounded. Faith in God will always be crowned; and, when absent through necessity, every place is a temple.
"Though fate command me to the farthest verge Of the green earth - Yet God is ever present, ever felt, In the wide waste as in the city full; And where he vital breathes, there must be joy.