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In the Courts

“Blessed are those who dwell in your house, ever singing your praise!” (Psalm 84:4).

Psalm 84 is a song of admiration for the presence of God. His house, the temple in Jerusalem, was the place of worship for all Israel. God’s presence resided in it, making the temple and Jerusalem itself like no other place. The sons of Korah, authors of this psalm, exult in the beauty of God’s house, marveling in the awesome truth that they can be near the very presence of God.

“How lovely is your dwelling place, O LORD of hosts!” the psalm opens (v.1). The authors express their longing for God’s courts as if it is a severe hunger. They describe their hearts as fainting with the desire to be before God. But at the same time, they praise Him with their entire being. They love their LORD and want to be with Him.

The psalm goes on to describe how special God’s house is. Even birds find a safe place for themselves and their children at the altars of God (v. 3). Those who dwell in God’s house are blessed above all others, having as their sole responsibility the task of singing praises to God (v. 4). This is a place of infinite beauty; day and night, it points to the greatness of the Mighty King.

“For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere,” the psalmists muse. “I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness” (v. 10). To serve in the lowliest position in God’s house is more than anyone deserves. To be in His house all the day long, serving him and worshiping Him; how could we ask for anything else? We could own the finest land in the world and live in our own splendid houses; but in the end, they are worthless. Only service in the house of God will satisfy. Even one day spent with Him is better than a thousand days spent anywhere else.

“For the LORD is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor. No good thing will he uphold from those who walk uprightly” (v. 11). This is why being a doorkeeper in God’s house is infinitely better than living anywhere else. God is righteous and powerful, but He is also merciful and gracious. He shows favor to those who honor them, withholding nothing good from them. This doesn’t mean He constantly showers His obedient followers with blessings, but it does mean that He provides them with everything they need, keeping nothing good away from them. He is a good Master! As the sons of Korah concluded, “O LORD of hosts, blessed is the one who trusts in you!”

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