(Psa 84:4) Blessed are they that dwell in thy house: they will be still praising thee. Selah.
Here the author calls those that are in the House of the Lord (tabernacle/temple) happy or blessed, as the KJV translates. עֹוד gives it’s meaning as continually. The house dwellers are continually praising God. This brings to mind what John saw in his Apocalypse 7:15 where those that come out of great tribulation are around the throne serving the Lord day and night, or continually. The Septuagint has the phrase: ‘They will praise you for ages of ages’ – quite literally, forever.
How unique is the perspective of the man separated from God! And how his heart longs for perfection.
(Psa 84:5) Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee; in whose heart are the ways of them.
The prophet Isaiah told us that those who will wait upon the Lord will renew their strength. David, when committing the sin with Bathsheba, failed to find the strength that God had previously given him. Now, he was suffering because of that. Now, he son had thrown him out of the palaces and had started a civil war. David knew full well that a man’s true strength lies with God, not in armies or even within himself.
In 2 Corinthians 12:9, we read of God’s response to Paul’s prayer
“My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness”.
Throughout Scripture we find that God is presented as our strong tower, our refuge, our consolation.
“in whose heart are the ways of them”
Consider the esteemed lyricist, Isaac Watts, when he wrote:
O Happy souls that pray
Where God appoints to hear!
O Happy men that pay
Their constant service there!
They praise thee still
And happy they,
That love the way
Happy, says the Psalmist, is the man who has found strength in the Lord, and who loves the way of God. This entire Psalm is reflective of a journey, whether it is David’s, pilgrims or even ours. Our heart must be given over to the highways of God, to travel them, and to find strength for the journey.
(Psa 84:6) Who passing through the valley of Baca make it a well; the rain also filleth the pools.
הבכא can be translated as weeping or tears, but the theory is also that it relates to a balsam tree that excretes sap (hence weeping). All the translation theories that I have seen point to the same idea, that of weeping or tears. It is no far stretch of the imagination to see that Psalmist here is conjuring up a painful journey. If it is indeed the arid valley where travelers are hard pressed to find life sustaining water, then so be it; however, the image is still the same: When traveling through such a place, the righteous will make it a source of strength.
מעינה rightly means fountain or spring. It is the spring that the weary traveler sets down in to refresh himself, or renew his strength in pressing toward the city of God. Perhaps in the valley of weeping, when the tears are flowing, you should use those tears and grow from them. You should make them into a fountain. God has already promised us that He would never leave us nor forsake us.
That is not to make light of any situation that one is going through. Look what the Psalmist was going through. He had been separated from the city of God and could not worship Him in the place that He had appointed. David, presumably, had been exiled and was running for his life as his own son pursued him. He was in the midst of a civil war. He was at a pretty low point in his life.
When Paul and Silas was thrown in prison, instead of accepting defeat or recanting, they began to sing and we know what happened then. That was their Baca. That was their fountain.
“the rain also fills the pools”
גם ברכות יעטה מורה has several different suggested meanings. The Septuagint renders it: ‘The lawgiver will give blessings.’ Some render the Hebrew as, ‘The instructor will cover in blessings’. Some authorities render it as early rain. To a simple reader such as I, I can see the beauty and edification of both meanings. Since the giver of all blessings, and he who pours the rain (Joel 2:23) is God, it really makes no difference on how you translate it; the meaning is the same – In that Valley of Weeping, when you journey through and your tears start to flow, make it a moment of rejoicing and you will receive your blessing.
(Psa 84:7) They go from strength to strength, every one of them in Zion appeareth before God.
Or, from victory to victory, from army to army, from company to company. The meaning is that those who walk victoriously through the valley will go from victory to victory, winning and overcoming. On the final victory, the overcomer will appear in the city of God, to sing and worship God continually, without anymore valleys.