Doorkeeper Or Tent-dweller? – II

January 23, 2015

Psalm 84:10-12

(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)

Let’s look at a couple of things from Psalm 84:10 through 12 which at first glance may not seem that apparent. Here is our featured scripture:

      …a day in Your courts is better than a thousand.  I would rather be a door-
      keeper in the house of my God than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.  For
      the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD will give grace and glory; no
      good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.  O LORD of
      hosts, blessed is the man who trusts in You.

Consider the comparisons the psalmist makes between living in righteousness and living in wickedness:

•      Psalm 84:10 – “…a day in Your courts is better than a thousand.”  What does it mean when it says, “…a day in Your courts…”?  At the temple there were four courts before one entered the temple building itself.  Within the temple building was first the Holy Place, which only the priests could enter as they daily served God.  The Holy Place was where the Table of Showbread, the Lamp Stand, and the Altar of Incense stood.  Then there was the Holy of Holies behind the separating curtain, the Veil, where was the Ark of the Covenant with the Mercy Seat guarded by two angels – all cast in gold – as its lid.  This was the inner sanctum, which only the High Priest could enter and that only once a year on the Day of Atonement.

But outside, as you approached the temple building, you would come first to the Court of the Gentiles – the court set aside for the non-Jews – where even they could come to worship Jehovah.  It is written in Isaiah 56:7 that “…My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations.”  Jesus quoted this scripture when He cleansed the temple of those Jewish traders who were buying and selling in the Court of the Gentiles.  They were making it a place where no-one could focus on the Lord God (see Matthew 21:13; Mark 11:17; Luke 19:46).

Next was the Court of the Women, the closest Jewish women could come to the temple.  Then there was the Court of the Israelites for Jewish men – either native born or those from other nations who had fully converted to Judaism.  The fourth court was the Court of the Priests, where stood the Laver of Washing and the Altar of Burnt Offering.

The idea the psalmist is presenting here is one day in any court of the temple, being in proper relationship with God and worshiping Him is better than a thousand days anywhere else being out of proper relationship with God!  Being out of proper relationship with God means you are calling your own shots to direct your life.  You are living for yourself, and not for God.  Jesus summed up such a lifestyle this way in Mark 8:36 and 37:  “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?  Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?

• Psalm 84:10 – “I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.”  As I thought about this statement, it came to me that the best the wicked – those living apart from God – can offer is the temporary structure of a tent!  A tent is something that is set up and then taken down – a dwelling that is not designed as something permanent!  So it is not as substantial as a ‘brick and mortar’ building – or something of that ilk.

It reminds me of the fairy tale of The Three Little Pigs and The Big Bad Wolf, which first appeared in print in the 18:40’s.  The first of the two little pigs built houses of straw and sticks respectively.  The big bad wolf huffed and puffed and blew the houses of the first two pigs down in a jiffy!  But the third little pig, being more industrious, built his house of bricks!  And the wolf could not blow it down!

It also brings to mind the last part of the Sermon on the Mount, where Jesus said in Matthew 7:24 through 27:

      Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken
      him to a wise man, who built his house on the rock:  and the rain descended,
      the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not
      fall, for it was founded on the rock.  Now everyone who hears these sayings
      of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house
      on the sand:  And the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew
      and beat on that house; and it fell.  And great was its fall.

Just as the third pig built his house of brick, and it withstood the onslaught of the wolf; just as the house of Matthew 7 is built upon substantial rock, and it fared well in floods and storms; so a life built upon the Rock Christ Jesus (see I Corinthians 10:4; Ephesians 2:19 through 22; I Peter 2:4 though 8) will not collapse when storms of adverse circumstances come against it!

And there is one more comparison in this part of verse 10:  A doorkeeper was among the least regarded positions in the temple.  But to be in the lowliest place serving the Lord is better than the best the godless world can offer!

So choose the way of the Lord Jesus Christ, even if you seem to be assigned to lowly service.  It is always a better place with a brighter future than what the wicked have – those without Jesus as their Savior and Lord!

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