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
I wonder if you’ve ever experienced home sickness. I certainly have. I loved the years I spent in India and my Indian friends couldn’t possibly have been more kind or welcoming. But there was still a deep longing to see my family and friends and, if I’m honest, to experience cold weather! At the time, the phone connection between India and the UK was very poor and in two years I only managed to make one call to my parents and it was incredibly expensive. The line was very crackly and it was very difficult to hear anything, but there were tears rolling down my cheeks as I succeeded in hearing the distant voices of my parents. I think the only significant information that we shared that could be clearly heard was them telling me that it was raining in Essex, and me informing me that it was hot in India!!
The psalmist was thoroughly homesick when he wrote this particular psalm. And the home that he longed to be in was the temple. We don’t know why he was unable to get there but he couldn’t have described his anguish more powerfully. He wrote, “I long, yes, I faint with longing to enter the courts of the Lord. With my whole being, body and soul, I will shout joyfully to the living God.” (Psalm 84.2) Clearly the temple itself was incredibly precious to the psalmist but his longing was to be close to God. He spoke of the joy for those whose strength comes from the Lord and then movingly described the way that even “when they walk through the Valley of Weeping it will become a place of refreshing springs” (Psalm 84.6). Even the worst experiences of life can, miraculously, be transformed when we place our lives in God’s hands.
No wonder that the psalmist concluded that it would be better to have the lowest job of all in the presence of God, than to have all power and wealth and live at a distance from God. The psalmist’s words are a good reminder for us all of the incredible blessing and privilege of spending time with God.
How important is it to you to spend time with God?
Lord God, we praise you for the blessing of your continual presence with us. Amen
Photo – St George’s Cathedral, Jerusalem