"This is the resting place, let the weary rest; and this is the place of repose"—

"Lord, you have been our dwelling place (our home) throughout all generations." Psalm 90:1

A glorious palm-shade with its evergreen fronds—a noble key-note to a noble song, the oldest in the Psalter, whose authorship invests it with an interest all its own, for it bears as its inscription, "A prayer of Moses the Man of God." The entire psalm was evidently written by the great leader and lawgiver, not certainly when the Israelites were encamped in safety and peace at Elim, under nature's verdant awning, with the twelve springs at their side (a desert oasis). Rather does it breathe the plaintive tones of a dirge or lament, composed after some appalling judgment toward the close of the wanderings—"days and years wherein they had seen evil" (ver. 15), when death had caused sudden havoc through the tents; compared to the rush of a resistless torrent (ver. 5), or the blighting and withering of the grass at sundown prostrate under the mower's scythe (Num. 14:5, 6). In the lesson thus read on human frailty and mortality, seeing perhaps, both prospectively and retrospectively, the wilderness strewn with the blanched bones of the Pilgrim host, the writer turns from the mutable to the Immutable—from the finite to the Infinite—from the desert's shifting sands to the stable Everlasting Rock—from man to God—"Lord, YOU have been our dwelling-place in all generations!"

Beautiful and significant is the figure employed—all the more impressive, by reason of very contrast, must it have been to the Hebrews, first after their long enslaved, and now entering their nomad, life. The permanent dwelling was to them not even a memory. If entertained at all, it could only be the dream and aspiration of some ideal future. It was the psalm of a homeless, expatriated race, who "wandered in desert wastelands, finding no way to a city where they could settle."

Most of us know what HOME is. There is music in the name which no words can describe. It is not locality or scenery which makes home. A prison is not a home—a castle or palace with gilded ceilings, if there be no living, loving voices, is not home. Home is wherever the affections gather round treasured objects. It is the center of love; the spot where the spirit, worn and jaded with life's bustle, harassed with its anxieties and disappointments, delights to fold its weary wing—that blessed refuge where cherished tones chase sorrow from the heart, and tender hands smooth the wrinkles which care has been ploughing on the cheek.

The believer has his Home too, the majestic sanctuary of Infinite love. And there is no true dwelling-place or resting-place for the immortal soul but this. Yes! surrounded though we be with lavish profusion of material comforts and blessings, still there is in every heart a restless, unsatisfied craving after a higher good. No finite portion can adequately meet these infinite longings. The homeless child strayed from his father's house—weeping for its lost residence—is a picture of the soul astray from its home and happiness in the all-glorious God.

But once we can take up the sublime utterance of the leader of the Hebrews, "Lord, You have been our dwelling-place," then what a home is ours, with its perfect repose and everlasting inviolable security! Not the desert tent, not the temporary shade and shelter and refreshment of the Elim palm-grove and its springs, but the chief Divine reality which these earthly images foreshadowed. In that enduring mansion all fears are lulled to rest, all misgivings dispelled.

It is a garrisoned home with many rooms in it; each room an attribute of the Eternal. For "the name of the Lord is a strong tower, the righteous runs into it, and is safe" (Prov. 18:10). And though thousands upon thousands have rushed, in bypast ages, to these magnificent chambers, still there is room. Age cannot impair their safety, time cannot crumble down their walls. It is delightful to think of the many, since the hour when Moses penned it, who have already sung this glorious anthem. The captive in his dungeon, the martyr at the stake, the orphan in his loneliness, the widow in her agony, the sick one on his couch, the dying one in his last moments. Yes, and those, too, out amid the battle of life, the daily fever and turmoil of existence, the fret and friction of busy tempted hours—such heroes of God, as they breast "the loud stunning tide," include it among the cherished "melodies of the everlasting chime!"

As in the case of Pilgrim Israel, we have ever and anon imparted to us, in touching impressiveness, the same world-wide lesson—that we can make no home or refuge of any creature or created good. "They shall perish" is written on the best of earthly palm-trees. It is engraved on many a tombstone—carved on the shattered lintels of many a broken heart. Home!—with not a few it is a ruin, the wreck and debris of a hallowed past, the grave of fond hopes and departed joys and blighted affections. Some who trace these lines may be able thus to sing this oldest strain of the Psalter only through their tears.

God may have been proclaiming to you, through severe and varied discipline, that earth is not your home, that you are but sojourners here, that your dwellings are not freehold but leasehold. He would lead you not to mistake the shelter of the wayfarer for the permanent abiding Mansion; the perishable refuge for the magnificent clefts of the Rock of Ages. He would lead you, as "strangers on earth," to have your "citizenship in heaven." These trials may be only the tones of His own tender voice, issuing the invitation—"Go, My people, enter your rooms and shut the doors behind you; hide yourselves for a little while until His wrath has passed by" (Isaiah 26:20). He may be putting a thorn in your earthly nest and earthly home, to drive you to the wing and teach you to warble as you soar up to heaven's gate—"Lord, amid the frailty and failing of all created things, I turn to the One only unfailing, unvarying, unchanging portion! My dwelling place shall henceforth be in You. My flesh and my heart fails, but You are the strength of my heart and my portion forever!"

In such a Home, when fully realized and tested as no phantasm and shadow—but a sublime truth, who cannot enjoy, even with regard to earthly things, the feeling of satisfaction and of safety? "You will keep him in perfect peace (lit. 'peace, peace') whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You." The child dreads no danger so long as the strong encompassing arm of his father is around him. The winter storm may revel at will outside, but in the paternal dwelling he is safe. There is a special promise given to all who thus confidingly resort to the Everlasting God as their home and portion. "Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge, even the Most High, your habitation; there shall no evil (no real evil) befall you" (Ps. 91:9, 10). In the most adverse circumstances He will prove to His people their protector; so that, in the words put into the lips of Ezekiel, "They shall dwell safely in the wilderness and sleep in the woods" (Ezek. 34:25), in the unlikeliest places and seasons they may feel sweetly secure. It is in Himself that His own promise has its most glorious fulfillment—"Your people will live in peaceful dwelling places, in secure homes, in undisturbed places of rest" (Isa. 32:18).

Nor can we omit a closing reference to the last clause of our motto-verse—"in all generations." A noble thought—Jehovah the unchanging dwelling-place of His Church and His people in every age! Even Moses, who had not the long centuries of holy tradition and divine and saintly memory we enjoy, loved to repose on the thought of God, not only as "the God of his fathers," but as the God of all the years, as well as of all the families of earth. Perhaps he penned the psalm some night in the desert—night with its darkness, as in the shadow of the Almighty's wings. He may have delighted to think that the same silent stars which kept vigil over the tents of Mamre, Shechem, and Bethel in the generations of old, were stooping that hour over the sleeping earth.

But more comforting still the reflection, that He who lighted up these altar-fires in the great nightly temple, was ever living and loving; the unchanging sanctuary of His people from age to age. The generations had passed away and perished—He was still, and ever would be, the same. Let ours be the prayer, "Be my rock of refuge, to which I can always go!"

And, as in the picture of a blessed earthly home, there must be harmony of will and congeniality of taste and feeling among the occupants, let it be our constant and lofty aspiration that our human wills may gradually be made to agree with the Divine, our hearts filled with love to Him, and love for all on whom His own boundless love is lavished. Having this as the master passion—the dominant principle in our regenerated nature, the motive principle of our spiritual life, we shall know that as children we are within the dwelling-place of our Father, "For he that dwells in love dwells in God, and God in him."

"Let the beauty of the Lord," is the closing prayer of the psalm, "be upon us:" or as that is rendered in the Targum, "Let the sweetness of the garden of Eden be upon us;" that beauty and sweetness which is better than shade of palm-tree, or breath of flower, or music of fountain—the habitual realization of God's gracious favor and paternal guardianship—"They shall rest in His love" (Zeph. 3:17).

"Plan not, nor scheme, but calmly wait,
His choice is best.
While blind and erring is thy sight;
His wisdom sees and judges right,
So trust and rest.

"Strive not, nor struggle; thy poor might
Can never wrest
The meanest thing to serve thy will.
All power is His alone: Be still,
And trust and rest."

"What dost thou fear? His wisdom reigns
Supreme confessed;
His power is infinite; His love
Thy deepest, Fondest dreams above,
So trust and rest."

"He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty."

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