“Hear my prayer, Lord God Almighty; listen to me, God of Jacob. Look on our shield, O God; look with favor on your anointed one.
Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked. For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless. Lord Almighty, blessed is the one who trusts in you.” – Psalm 84:8-12
I admire little children. They love the house of the Lord. Many of them cannot wait until Sunday comes around so that they can attend church. Unfortunately, adults, for the most part, drive them away and/or cause them to lose their desire for the Lord’s house.
In the text above, the psalmist cries out to the Lord, to hear His prayer and behold His position.
This Psalm was probably written by King David, the anointed of God. It is believed to have been composed during David’s exile from Jerusalem.
In his zeal for the house of the Lord, he writes, “For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere.” Yes, it is better than all other places in the world. It is far better than staying away from church simply to enjoy worldly benefits.
It is much better than staying at home to sleep, to watch TV, or to watch a game, or to stay home to prepare for the super bowl party. The courts of the Lord, His church, is where Christians meet the Lord and fellowship with other Christian brothers and sisters.
I hear people say that they can worship God at home, watching televangelists. That is wrong. St. Paul admonishes the Christian brothers in Hebrews 10:25, “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another …”
The psalmist is showing that on a given worship day, we should find the greatest pleasure in attending the house of the Lord, church. When he says spend time in courts of the Lord, church, he does not mean that we should show up just for the record or to please the pastor or a family member. Our involvement in the church is for our personal benefit, our edification. Our relationship with God is a personal one.
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tent of the wicked. Being a doorkeeper is far less prominent than the courts of princes. Nonetheless, he prefers this office if it allows him to be in the courts of the Lord.
Like Moses, who once had the opportunity to enjoy the pleasures of Egypt, but instead chose to suffer affliction with God’s people, the psalmist prefers the courts of the Lord. This is far better than the pleasures of the world.
The pleasures of this world are only for a season. We have an expiry date. Then we die.
David preferred his Lord whom he loved very dearly. God was his hope and his joy. Therefore, he longed for the house of God. All that he had, his kingdom, his family, his wealth, his victories in battle, all came from God.
We are reminded that all that we have comes from the Lord. When we look to Him in faith, He will be to us like the sun – to enlighten and to guide and shield us.
We live in a world of sin and woe, which places us in danger of eternal damnation. God will be to us a shield to secure us from the fiery darts that fly about us. Let us, therefore, always walk in the light of the Lord, and never throw ourselves out of His protection. Amen.
• Rev. Samuel M. Boodle, pastor at The Lutheran Church of Nassau, 119 John F. Kennedy Drive, can be reached at P.O. Box N 4794, Nassau, Bahamas; or telephone: 426-9084; E-mail: email@example.com; website: www.nassaulutheranchurch.org.