Barn Swallows

How lovely is your dwelling place, O LORD Almighty! My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the LORD; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young, a place near your altar, O LORD Almighty, my King and my God. Blessed are those who dwell in your house; they are ever praising you. Psalm 84:1-4

Yesterday I saw, for the first time, a nest of Barn Swallows. They were nesting firmly over the window of the camp cookhouse. The little baby Barn Swallows sat quietly waiting for their mother to deliver some yummy insects to them. In OT times the nests of birds were not removed from a place of worship because the birds were believed to be seeking the protection of the gods (or among Hebrews, God). ( I was glad to see that this nest hadn’t been removed either. (Even though the birdy pooh was piling thickly up on the window!)

Ps. 84:3 is interesting because it implies that even the birds seek to dwell in the presence of God. The Barn Swallows awaiting their mother seemed to represent the idea of dwelling. The verb, “to dwell,” along with its many synonyms, (nesting, abiding, bunking, crashing, hanging out, inhabiting, living, lodging, perching, residing, rooming, roosting, settling, squatting, and staying) houses the idea of being at home: secure, at rest, comfortable, cozy, with a sense of belonging. The Barn Swallows were at rest, hanging out in a state of secure comfort and quiet expectancy. I love this image. David yearned for this; he longed to dwell in the presence of God, existing in a state of rest, belongingness, and completeness; he yearned for the feeling of finally being at home. David was not allowed to enter the Holy of Holies, but that is not the case for us. The curtain has been torn and we have access to the presence of God. We can make our nest, our home in God’s Presence. “Better is one day in your house than thousands elsewhere.”


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