Between – Psalm 84:1-12
How lovely are Your dwelling places, O Lord of hosts! My soul longed and even yearned for the courts of the Lord; My heart and my flesh sing for joy to the living God. The bird also has found a house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, even Your altars, O Lord of hosts, my King and my God. How blessed are those who dwell in Your house! They are ever praising You.
How blessed is the man whose strength is in You, in whose heart are the highways to Zion! Passing through the valley of Baca they make it a spring; the early rain also covers it with blessings. They go from strength to strength, every one of them appears before God in Zion. O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer; give ear, O God of Jacob!
Behold our shield, O God, and look upon the face of Your anointed. For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand outside. I would rather stand at the threshold of the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness. For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord gives grace and glory; no good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly. O Lord of hosts, how blessed is the man who trusts in You!
Longings and song are overflowing from the heart of the psalmist. This is exclamation point – worship; How lovely! How blessed! Oh Lord hear! Is this the tone of our worship? Do we believe scripture is the historically inerrant account of other’s experience or as a reference point for our own? Are the outpourings of this God-lover an exception or a benchmark?
This worshipper is consumed with the beauty of God’s dwelling place – the Temple, a place with courts which merely abut the dwelling place of God, the inner sanctuary, where only priests who had undergone purification might enter. This worshipper offered their exclamations while lingering near the entrance to God’s holy dwelling place….
A day in Thy courts is better than a thousand outside. I would rather stand at the threshold of my God...
Recently, a friend commented that I seemed to have a preference to the New Testament over the Old. The comment took me off guard. But, after some thought, I had to be honest, I do. This psalm reminds me why. This Old Covenant worshipper could only come to the threshold. As a partaker of the new covenant I am invited over the threshold and into the Holy of Holies. We are even invited to do it with boldness!
Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16
Scripture tells us that saints of old, their prophets and even angels were longing to understand the covenant which would some day come. The idea of going into the most holy dwelling place of God was unthinkable to our psalmist; mortal man would have perished immediately in God’s Holy presence. And yet here we are, partakers! If the Old Covenant produced exclamation points, what type of worship should the New Covenant produce?
Verse 24 of Jude says it perfectly….
Now to Him, who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy
Father, may joyful exclamation points accumulate in our hearts as we learn to abide in You and in the glories of the new covenant which permit us as children to presume continually upon Your steadfast love, enjoying your presence continually. O Lord, let us be a people who have crossed over the threshold with hearts filled with boldness and joy. And, as Moses’ face was alight with Your life, may You, our inner light, consume the shadows of our darkness. May we ever be praising you! Amen.
In today’s MwM post, I will share with you the brief prelude to this prayer by way of our beautiful passage – Psalm 84.