Just for a moment, relax and ask yourself the following two questions:
- What is the best place you’ve ever visited?
- What is the best day you’ve ever had?
If you’re like most people, you probably answered the “best place” as somewhere you went on vacation or to getaway. Most probably answered the “best day” as your wedding day, the birth of your children, the day you graduated or got engaged. Of course, many of our “best days” often happen in the “best place”, as the two answers are nearly one and the same.
Whatever your answer is, take just a few moments and soak in those memories. Pretty special, right? Now read Psalm 84:10. The Psalmist writes…
For a day in your courts is betterPsalm 84:10
than a thousand elsewhere.
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
than dwell in the tents of wickedness.
Notice the elements of the first sentence. First, there’s the time element. For one day is better than a thousand days. This “one day” is better than any other day in nearly 3-years. Second, there’s the location element. The first sentence says the psalmist has been “in your courts”. The second sentence says he would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God. So where is he? He’s in God’s Tabernacle. His courts are the outer courts surrounding the Tabernacle. The House of God is the tent housing the Ark of the Covenant.
The writer gives us a third element, “I would rather be a door keeper”. Truth is he actually is a doorkeeper. He’s one of the sons of Korah, who were assigned as doorkeepers and custodians of the Tabernacle of God. He loves his job! He would rather do this job in God’s dwelling place among men than any other job in the world. He loves every aspect of the Tabernacle; from its outermost grounds to every furnishing inside the Tabernacle. He’s there every day, where God is worshipped daily. And since he’s there every day (one day is better than a thousand anywhere else); then there’s no place better on earth, or activity better anywhere, than to worship the Lord in the House of God.
As I contemplate this truth, what blows me away is the emotion and expression of passion and joy which describes the writer’s conclusions. You can almost feel the excitement as he sings these words! He loves God and the worship of him! I wonder, is there an application for us in the modern church? Sure there is!
Our modern church is where God is worshipped! He is the center of every Christian experience! It’s all about him! The church is the place God has ordained to exalt him at the highest levels. Better is one day in your courts than a thousand days anywhere else!
The question is what does the church mean to you? What does being in church mean to you? I’m not here to lay a guilt trip on you. I’m not here to tell you that you should be here out of some legalistic obligation. What I’m asking is why do you come? When you think about it on Saturday night or wake up on Sunday morning, are you constantly faced with a decision about whether to be here, or be somewhere else? I guess the decision is what do you value more? Worshipping God together with your brothers and sisters in Christ – or do other things hold higher value?
There’s been a troubling shift in our churches over the past 20-years. Normal, regular church attendance for professing Christians used to be 46-50 weeks out of the year (allowing for illness and vacation). Now the normal for regular attendance is only 26-30 weeks per year. Clearly the world’s influence is being felt as many “Christians” have other found other things to do on Sundays and Wednesday nights (or are too exhausted to do anything) rather than come to God’s House.
I’m not here to “dog” you about it. I have no desire for people to come to church out of moralistic legalism. What I want you to think about is this Psalm and what makes him cry out in song – Better is one day in your courts than a 1,000-days anywhere else in the world of men! Better is one day worshipping with your church family than any day anywhere else! What’s the difference between the writer’s experience and our own? What makes him want to be in God’s house above anywhere vs the modern Christian who spends 40% of their time somewhere else?
We all get off course. The temptations of the world are both powerful and distracting. The question is how do we get back on course? I do think self-discipline is good and necessary to keep short term absences in check. It’s our long-term motivation that’s the problem. Moralistic obligation isn’t going to get us back into church or keep us there. The solution is reigniting the fires that burn in your soul for God. It’s reclaiming Jesus as our “treasure” and holding up our relationship with him as our highest value.
If your thoughts about the church have dimmed in recent days, my hope is that you pray through this Psalm. I hope it reignites the sense that there’s more going on here than just our increasing knowledge that we need to come to church. Personally, I want to experience what the psalmist felt. I want my heart to be where his heart is. I want to experience the kind of joy he’s experiencing, and I know it’s only going to come as I prayerfully seek God and join with his people in worship together. I encourage you in light of this Psalm to examine your hearts today and your true feelings towards God. He is worthy of our very best days!