1 How lovely is your dwelling place,LORD of heavenly forces! 2 My very being longs, even yearns, for the LORD’s courtyards. My heart and my body will rejoice out loud to the living God! 3 Yes, the sparrow too has found a home there;the swallow has found herself a nest where she can lay her young beside your altars, LORD of heavenly forces, my king, my God! 4 Those who live in your house are truly happy; they praise you constantly.
Throughout the Bible, there are many texts and descriptors for heaven and eternity with God. This one, though, written from a place of loving longing to be with God, has a unique element in verse 3.
Here, the Psalmist speaks of the sparrow and swallow finding refuge in paradise with the Lord. It’s a beautiful image of God’s creation continuing to flourish beyond life on earth. But I suspect the Psalmist used the imagery of birds for a specific reason. One could be that birds are used often in biblical texts, perhaps representing the Holy Spirit or God’s goodness. Maybe the Psalmist is alluding to our praises of the Lord being similar to a bird’s melodic singing.
Or perhaps, there’s significance to the swallow creating her nest and laying her young there. Birds very purposely choose to create their nests away from predators. It’s actually why you might find a nest in your gutter or on your porch roof. Not only is it far off the ground, but being near a well-occupied building tends to ward off many potential predators. The swallow has found a safe space with God, and the Psalmist wants that for themselves.
By Rachel Callender
For Pondering & Prayer
What in your life has you longing for the safety of God’s arms? How can you create a sense of that safety for yourself and others?
Prayer: Protector God, you long for us to feel safe and secure. A life of fear and anxiety is never what you wanted for us. May we seek your loving embrace as a place to create our nest. Amen.