Thursday, October 27, 2016, 9:25 p.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “More Precious Than Silver.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Psalm 84 (Select vv. NIV).
My Soul Yearns (vv. 1-2, 4)
How lovely is your dwelling place,
My soul yearns, even faints,
for the courts of the Lord;
my heart and my flesh cry out
for the living God…
Blessed are those who dwell in your house;
they are ever praising you.
Before Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins, God’s dwelling place (his house) was in a physical temple, which was built by human hands. And, yet, during the years of Jesus’ earthly ministry, he also referred to himself as God’s temple. When Jesus died on a cross, the veil in the temple, that stood between humans and God’s holy presence, was torn in two, opening the way for us, through faith in Jesus Christ, to now enter into God’s holy presence without having to go through a human priest to receive forgiveness of sins.
Now the house of God is not a physical building. When we enter a physical building called a “church,” we are not entering into God’s holy presence. We are not in his house. The temple of God is Jesus Christ. His church is his body, so we are also the temple of God, his house, with Jesus Christ as the chief cornerstone. When we believe in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives, and we die with him to sin, and we are resurrected with him to newness of life, in Christ, his Holy Spirit comes inside our hearts (our lives) to dwell. So, God now dwells within those of us who are his followers.
So, what would it mean now to yearn for the courts of the Lord? It definitely does mean to long for a building or an organization. I also don’t believe this would be referring to hungering and thirsting after the body of Christ, though we should desire to be in fellowship with one another. I believe it has everything to do with yearning for God and his presence, or where his presence is felt, and his power is witnessed, and his voice is heard. Since he lives within us, this represents our personal relationships with him, and his Spirit speaking to our hearts, i.e. this represents our personal times of worship of him. But this can happen, as well, as his body gathers together for worship, prayer, communion, ministry, and the teaching of the Word.
Strength in God (vv. 5-7)
Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.
As they pass through the Valley of Baka,
they make it a place of springs;
the autumn rains also cover it with pools.
They go from strength to strength,
till each appears before God in Zion.
When we trust in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives, this is not just so we can escape hell and have the hope of heaven when we die. Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. He died that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us. He died that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us who walk not according to the sinful nature, but who walk according to the Spirit. So, this isn’t about just getting saved, then dying, then going to heaven. We were saved from sin so we might live new lives in Christ Jesus, “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Eph. 4:24).
So, we are blessed who have our hearts set on following our Lord Jesus in obedience and in surrender to his will for our lives. We are blessed if we make Jesus our Lord (owner-master), and we submit to his Lordship over our lives. We are blessed, as well, when we find Jesus not only to be just our Savior and Lord, but also our strength, our song, our best friend, our confidant, our comforter and the love of our lives. This is about a spiritual journey, in other words. This is about growing in the Lord, maturing in him, sitting daily at his feet, listening to what he says, and obeying what he shows us. It is about being used of him in the lives of others, too, so that we are a blessing to others. And, it is about impacting other lives for Jesus Christ, that many others might come to know him, too.
I Would Rather (vv. 10-12)
Better is one day in your courts
than a thousand elsewhere;
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
than dwell in the tents of the wicked.
For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
the Lord bestows favor and honor;
no good thing does he withhold
from those whose walk is blameless.
blessed is the one who trusts in you.
Now, if we say that it is better to spend one day in the courts of the Lord than a thousand elsewhere, this has to do with our relationship with Jesus and our times of communion, fellowship and worship of Him. But, do we really believe that? Does our lifestyle prove that to be true? Do we really believe it is better to be in the presence of our God, in fellowship with him, in prayer, in the study of his word, and in following him in obedience, and serving him in ministry (his calling on our lives), than to be any place else, hanging out with friends, doing what we enjoy, having fun, and entertaining ourselves? If we believe that, then our actions should bear that out.
Would we, also, rather be a doorkeeper in the house of our God, than dwell in the tents of the wicked? How would that even be applied to God’s house today? Well, Jesus Christ said he was the door/gate into heaven and also into fellowship with God via salvation from sin. When we trust in Jesus to be our Lord and Savior, we enter into a relationship with Jesus Christ through that door, which is Christ. We come into this relationship with God by his grace, through faith (repentance and obedience) in Jesus Christ.
A doorman is one who opens a door to let people inside. Inside is our relationships with Christ, either referring to our salvation or our fellowship and worship of our Lord. So, for one to be a doorman or a gatekeeper in the temple of the Lord today, this would be one who serves as a witness in sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ and/or one who serves as a watchman in warning the church of danger of sin and rebellion, and one who calls the church to repentance and to genuine fellowship with Christ.
Neither of these positions is glorified, in the eyes of humans, and either one is one that will often meet with resistance and rejection. Yet, the psalmist declared that he would, in essence, rather face ridicule, scorn and rejection for the sake of walking in obedience to God than to have the fellowship and acceptance of those out in the world who are living sinful lifestyles. I agree! It is better to follow our Lord in obedience, and to be his witnesses, and to be hated, rejected, and even scorned because we are telling people about Jesus, than to hang out with the ungodly, and to join in with them in sinful activities, attitudes, and speech, or to be entertained by the sins of others.
But, do we believe this? Our practice speaks volumes concerning what we really believe. We can mouth the words, but unless these beliefs are lived out in our daily lives, chances are we don’t really believe this after all.
So, this brings us to a point of decision. Do we want this to be true in our lives? Then, we need to live like we believe it, yet all in the power and strength of the Lord, as we commit our ways to him, to follow him.
More Precious Than Silver / Lynn DeShazo
Lord, You are more precious than silver.
Lord, You are more costly than gold.
Lord, You are more beautiful than diamonds,
And nothing I desire compares to You.