“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.”
Each time I read this scripture, it arrests my attention. I’ve found there are numerous interpretations among commentators on this text. It seems to me David is referring to either the Tabernacle or the Temple, in reference to “an house,” probably the latter of the two. We could liken our narrative to a present-day mall, where the little birds have slipped in and made their homes in the high-up rafters.
In our story it is apparent these little creatures had crept into God’s House, but not without his full knowledge or approval. They’d made their straw homes someplace adjoining or near the altar. It was here they were constantly reminded that their Creator required sacrificial lives upon His altar. Their little fledglings would also observe this as they grew, and before leaving the nest, so to speak. Each family member knew what it was like to live near the altar.
David spent most of his life “compassing” God’s altar (Psl.26:6). But, one dark day, he took the wings of the morning, and flew away. And he learned from this experience, “As a bird that wandereth from her nest, so [is] a man that wandereth from his place,” to be ever so true. He had lost his song in a strange land. No doubt, during this wretched time in his life, he envied these little birds. He found, as all do who wing their way from God that it is better to live close to God’s altar than to dwell in a palace.
My wife sings a song, “Fly to Jesus, fly to Jesus, fly to Jesus, and live.” Maybe some, who are reading this, need to do just that!