v. 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. Psalm 84:10 (ESV)
Why is being with God better?
BUT WHY?… why is it better? why? I’ve heard this verse used as the beginning to worship sets and services for years. And sometimes the reasons were hinted at, but really never examined. Why is “being in worship” (which it almost always got translated to somehow) better than being elsewhere? – Is it because church people are extra nice and friendly?, or because music is beautiful or sermons are inspirational? Maybe those things are true. (or maybe not?) but the Psalmist boldly gives the answer explicitly in the lines before and after the ones always quoted:
v. 9 Behold our shield – God; look on the face of your anointed!
v. 11 For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
God is our Shield!
It seemed a bit disingenuous. Jake Anton requested that we sing “Better is One Day” this week at church worship. So we were set to open up the service with that song, from that Psalm but honestly it was a rough week. It started off with the Boston bombing, and didn’t get much better. And it seemed a bit superficial to start off a morning service saying how good it is to be here, when I think a lot our thoughts were elsewhere.
But, read in context the Psalmist isn’t just saying “great to be here this morning” or “smile, it could be worse” – His joy is tempered by the desperate need for protection – God is our Shield! And I don’t really need a shield per se because I’ve found other ways of not getting shot by arrows (hint, staying away from archery ranges) – But for we who are worried about bombs, terrorism, relationships, safety, etc – THIS IS HUGE. The presence of God is better than anywhere else because it’s a place where we are reminded of two things: 1) Who God is, and 2) What He promises for us. And knowing those two things makes us secure. That… is better than anywhere else.