May 27.—Morning. [Or October 20.]
“Blessed are they that dwell in Thy house.”
THE consecration of Solomon’s temple brings to our mind his father’s delightful Psalm, in which he expressed his love to the worship of the Lord his God.
1 How amiable are thy tabernacles, O Lord of hosts! (More delightful than tongue can tell are the assemblies for divine worship. They are lovely in prospect, lovely at the time, and lovely to the memory afterwards. Under heaven, no place is so heavenly as the church of the living God.)
2 My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the Lord: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God.
Do we feel the same burning desire after God? If so, we shall not need urging to attend his worship. Some need to be whipped to worship, but David is here crying for it; he needed no clatter of bells to ring him in to the service, he carried his bell in his own bosom.
3 Yea, the sparrow hath found an house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, even thine altars, O Lord of hosts, my King, and my God. (He envied the little birds which lodged about the tabernacle. When far away from the Lord’s altars he wished he had wings to fly to them, as the sparrows did, or build near them after the manner of the swallows.)
4 Blessed are they that dwell in thy house: they will be still praising thee. Selah.
He wished he could be always employed about the sacred tent, for he thought that even the menial servants of such a Lord would be always praising him. Dwelling so near him, their joy would never cease, their praises would sound forth both day and night.
5 Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee; in whose heart are the ways of them. (Or, “in whose heart are thy ways.” None find joy in worship but those who throw their hearts into it. Neither prayer, nor praise, nor the hearing of the word will be profitable to persons who have left their hearts behind them.)
6 Who passing through the valley of Baca make it a well; the rain also filleth the pools.
The pilgrims who went up to the temple found refreshment in the dreariest part of the road, even the gloomy vale of tears became delightful to them. They made desolate valleys to be as cheerful as the wells where men and women were accustomed to meet for social intercourse. What will not holy fellowship and hearty praises do?
7 They go from strength to strength, every one of them in Zion appeareth before God.
God’s people hold on their way, grow stronger, and at last reach their journey’s end, for they have an almighty Convoy who will not suffer them to fail.
8 O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer: give ear, O God of Jacob. Selah.
9 Behold, O God our shield, and look upon the face of thine anointed.
10 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. (The doorkeeper is first in and last out, and he has less comfort than anyone, yet David would sooner have the lowest place in God’s house, than the highest in the tents of sin. Quaint old Secker says, “Happy are those persons whom God will use as besoms to sweep out the dust from his temple, or who are allowed to tug at an oar of the boat wherein Christ and his people are embarked.”)
11 For the Lord God is a sun and shield: the Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly. (What a great promise, or set of promises! Here we have all we need for all time, yea, and for eternity. What an encouragement to pray! If all things are freely given to us of God, let us open our mouths wide in our petitions. What more can God himself say than he has said in this most precious verse?)
12 O Lord of hosts, blessed is the man that trusteth in thee.
How pleasant, how divinely fair,
O Lord of hosts, thy dwellings are!
With long desire my spirit faints
To meet the assemblies of thy saints.
My flesh would rest in thine abode,
My panting heart cries out for God;
My God! my King! why should I be
So far from all my joys and thee?
May 27.—Evening. [Or October 21.]
“My beloved is mine, and I am his.”
IT is possible that in those golden days when Solomon walked with God, he was inspired to write the matchless book of Canticles, which is the Holy of holies of the Scriptures, standing like the tree of life in the midst of the garden of inspiration. The song is highly allegorical, and describes Christ and his church as a bride and bridegroom who sing to each other and of each other. The passage we are about to read is a dialogue.
Solomon’s Song 2
The Bridegroom first speaks, and says—
1 I AM the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys.
2 As the lily among thorns, so is my love among the daughters. (Who can this be but Jesus, in whose person the rose and lily are combined?
“White is his soul, from blemish free,
Red with the blood he shed for me.”
He paints his church as a lone lily growing amidst a wilderness of thorns, among them but not of them, her beauties being all the more conspicuous by contrast.)
Then the Bride or the church exclaims—
3 As the apple tree among the trees of the wood, so is my beloved among the sons. I sat down under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste. (The golden citron excels all other trees, and Jesus is far more excellent than all others. Shade and fruit, protection and provision, are found in him. He is all in all to us who believe in him.)
4 He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love.
5 Stay me with flagons, comfort me with apples: for I am sick of love. (Love to Jesus sometimes becomes so vehement a passion that the soul cannot bear it, and the bodily frame is ready to swoon under the supreme excitement.)
6 His left hand is under my head, and his right hand doth embrace me.
7, 8, 9 I charge you, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, by the roes, and by the hinds of the field, that ye stir not up, nor awake my love, till he please. (The spouse now hears the voice of her husband, and rejoices to see him coming to her with all the sacred haste of omnipotent love.) The voice of my beloved! behold, he cometh leaping upon the mountains, skipping upon the hills. My beloved is like a roe or a young hart: behold, he standeth behind our wall, he looketh forth at the windows, shewing himself through the lattice.
10 My beloved spake, and said unto me, Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.
11 For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone;
12 The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land;
13 The fig tree putteth forth her green figs, and the vines with the tender grape give a good smell. Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away. (When doubts and fears, trials and distresses are over and the heart is full of music, we should go forth in holy fellowship, and delight ourselves with the Lord Jesus. Dark days may come, let us spend our joyful seasons in the most profitable manner, walking with our Lord in the light while the light lasts.)
The Bridegroom still speaks, and calls to his beloved, saying—
14 ¶ O my dove, that art in the clefts of the rock, in the secret places of the stairs, let me see thy countenance, let me hear thy voice; for sweet is thy voice, and thy countenance is comely. (Come out from the hiding-places of fear or worldliness and own the Lord.)
15 Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes.
The church sings again—
16, 17 My beloved is mine, and I am his: he feedeth among the lilies. Until the day break, and the shadows flee away, turn, my beloved, and be thou like a roe or a young hart upon the mountains of Bether [or division]. (If we have lost the presence of the Lord, it is our duty and our privilege to cry to him to return swiftly and triumphantly, like the fleet roe which overleaps mountains and defies all difficulties.)
Yes! my Beloved to my sight
Shows a sweet mixture, red and white:
All human beauties, all divine,
In my Beloved meet and shine.
All over glorious is my Lord,
Must be beloved, and yet adored;
His worth if all the nations knew,
Sure the whole earth would love him too.
 Spurgeon, C. H. (1964). The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible (pp. 309–310). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.