Sparrows and Swallows
3 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.
4 Blessed are they that dwell in thy house: they will be still praising thee. Selah.
I have always taken delight in the images of this Psalm. The House of God is not a place for greatness and pomp; rather for the simple and contented. Little creatures doing what they were made to do, and happily so. The sparrow communes in playful chatter and hops around in search of the food at hand. The swallow seems a more isolated creature with breathtaking flight patterns plucking the insects a hazardous two inches from the water's surface at tremendous speed. She also plasters a miraculous nest on perpendicular walls and corners with no apparent under-support.
The Temple is safe for their kind and safe for their youngsters. There is almost a child-like air to everything; and indeed the messages of the place are intended for the unsophisticated.
And these children are content that it should be so:
10 For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.
They are made the custodians of the greatest of messages, the Testament of God:
11 For the Lord God is a sun and shield: the Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.
In this statement we see the whole spectrum of scripture. "Sun" the centre and source of the whole universe in creation and procreation. "Shield" a particular defender of a peculiar people in the lineage of the faith of Abraham. "Grace" in the Good News of the mission and success of Jesus the Saviour. "Glory" in the expectation of the redeemed starting now and never ending.