The Psalmist, David, seems envious of the birds who nest near the altar of his King, his God. The vast majority of birds in the world build their nests elsewhere and may have occasion to have a transient view of God’s courts. But he relates to those who have nests for themselves, dwelling, and abiding in the Lord’s courts. He draws us into this illustration to show that it’s better to be serving God in solitude than serving sin with a multitude.
In referring to God as “Lord Almighty” (NIV), “Lord of Hosts” (ESV) and “Lord of Heaven’s Armies” (NLT), he is acknowledging the Lord as our Sovereign, our King and our God. Where else should a poor, distressed, or otherwise empty feeling subject seek both provision and protection but with our King? Our King has access to, and direction of, all resources within His kingdom. Literally everything anyone would ever need is under His authority. And under the wing of His eternal provision, should we yearn to live and die.
If we don’t believe God is real, we’ll never expect to receive and be received by Him. But for those know He’s real and who love Him, we know how great it is to be someone God wants to be with. This is David’s point. To those who believe in God, being in the presence of God is incomparably better than literally any place else. Once we experience or “get in” God’s courts, we’ll never feel or be satisfied outside.
A single day in your courts
is better than a thousand anywhere else!
I would rather be a gatekeeper in the house of my God
than live the good life in the homes of the wicked. -Psalm 84:10 (NLT)