Psalm 84:8-12

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by: FCC Staff

08/11/2022

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“8     O LORD God of hosts, hear my prayer; give ear, O God of Jacob! Selah 

 9     Behold our shield, O God; look on the face of your anointed! 

 10     For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere.  I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness. 

 11     For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly. 

12     O LORD of hosts, blessed is the one who trusts in you!” Psalm 84:8-12

The story of the Church is full of men and women who gave up everything to follow Jesus--a blossoming small business, a lucrative bureaucratic career, political power, academic accolades, prestige as lawyers, or doctors.  You name it, people have followed the example of the first disciples and given it all up to follow Jesus.

When Thomas Aquinas, a respected doctor of philosophy, chose to become a monk, he explained his decision by citing Psalm 84:10: “I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness.” We sing songs of praise that echo this same refrain some Sundays. 

Being a gatekeeper might not seem like an important job, but let’s be honest, it’s a position we all shove our way into from time to time. We think WE are the ones to be the gatekeepers of what is acceptable Christian practice, thought, or pursuit. We have opinions on all matter of things, and all who do not share them, we want to keep out.

In the ancient world, a gatekeeper was accountable to the king, and only HE could order the gates closed or shut. The gatekeeper had no authority to make that choice themselves. In a later psalm, believers are encouraged to “enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise!” (100:4) We can then understand Jesus’ frustration as He entered the temple to find the gates were shut to all but whom men deemed worthy, the rest only allowed to come and spend their money to make a profit for the authorities who administer it. (John 2:13-22) 

Not all of us are called to full-time service in our community of faith, but we all need to take care in how we behave as gatekeepers. It is truly better in God’s house than anywhere else; we should be encouraging everyone to come in. We are, as Jesus pointed out, to be “a house of prayer…” (Matthew 21:13)

Let’s trust in God to bring all nations to Himself. And as we celebrate our privilege of being His children and His people, let’s remember our place and stand watch to respond to the orders of our King. This is where we can find true happiness and peace, not taking it upon ourselves to discern who God calls and does not call. We gave up many things to follow Jesus, all of us; our own preferences, tastes and opinions among them. 

Prayer for Today: Father, I rejoice in the privilege of being able to come before You in celebration and praise. Create in me a clean heart, so I can bring honor and glory to Your Name. Jesus, guide me to be obedient to my individual calling before You, and wash me clean so I am worthy to serve. By Your Holy Spirit let me join with all the saints in the joy of my salvation, and marvel at Your wisdom as You call all men to You. Amen.

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“8     O LORD God of hosts, hear my prayer; give ear, O God of Jacob! Selah 

 9     Behold our shield, O God; look on the face of your anointed! 

 10     For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere.  I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness. 

 11     For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly. 

12     O LORD of hosts, blessed is the one who trusts in you!” Psalm 84:8-12

The story of the Church is full of men and women who gave up everything to follow Jesus--a blossoming small business, a lucrative bureaucratic career, political power, academic accolades, prestige as lawyers, or doctors.  You name it, people have followed the example of the first disciples and given it all up to follow Jesus.

When Thomas Aquinas, a respected doctor of philosophy, chose to become a monk, he explained his decision by citing Psalm 84:10: “I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness.” We sing songs of praise that echo this same refrain some Sundays. 

Being a gatekeeper might not seem like an important job, but let’s be honest, it’s a position we all shove our way into from time to time. We think WE are the ones to be the gatekeepers of what is acceptable Christian practice, thought, or pursuit. We have opinions on all matter of things, and all who do not share them, we want to keep out.

In the ancient world, a gatekeeper was accountable to the king, and only HE could order the gates closed or shut. The gatekeeper had no authority to make that choice themselves. In a later psalm, believers are encouraged to “enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise!” (100:4) We can then understand Jesus’ frustration as He entered the temple to find the gates were shut to all but whom men deemed worthy, the rest only allowed to come and spend their money to make a profit for the authorities who administer it. (John 2:13-22) 

Not all of us are called to full-time service in our community of faith, but we all need to take care in how we behave as gatekeepers. It is truly better in God’s house than anywhere else; we should be encouraging everyone to come in. We are, as Jesus pointed out, to be “a house of prayer…” (Matthew 21:13)

Let’s trust in God to bring all nations to Himself. And as we celebrate our privilege of being His children and His people, let’s remember our place and stand watch to respond to the orders of our King. This is where we can find true happiness and peace, not taking it upon ourselves to discern who God calls and does not call. We gave up many things to follow Jesus, all of us; our own preferences, tastes and opinions among them. 

Prayer for Today: Father, I rejoice in the privilege of being able to come before You in celebration and praise. Create in me a clean heart, so I can bring honor and glory to Your Name. Jesus, guide me to be obedient to my individual calling before You, and wash me clean so I am worthy to serve. By Your Holy Spirit let me join with all the saints in the joy of my salvation, and marvel at Your wisdom as You call all men to You. Amen.

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