Better Than a Thousand Elsewhere (Psalm 84:10-12)
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 84:10-12
Psalm 84 was written at a time when the dwelling place of God with His people was in the temple—planned for by King David, built by David’s son Solomon, and located in the city of Jerusalem. Solomon’s Temple was the hub of spiritual life for the nation of Israel and all followers of Jehovah.
The Temple was a spectacular structure indeed, but what transformed this man-made building into a supernatural powerhouse was the glory of God, which filled the Temple after Solomon’s prayer of dedication. "As soon as Solomon finished his prayer, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the LORD filled the temple" (2 Chronicles 7:1).
As Psalm 84 opens, the sons of Korah are making their pilgrimage to Jerusalem with a song in their mouths. What caused them to sing? The Temple and its beauty (Psalm 84:1)! For sure it did! But experiencing that beauty was not the point of their journey. The sons of Korah sang, "My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the LORD; my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God" (Psalm 84:2).
It was that longing, that soul-thirsting desire for the presence of God, which sustained and even fueled their strength as they made their journey through the arid Valley of Baca. Whatever the difficulties of their journey, it was insignificant because they knew…"For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere" (Psalm 84:10a).
Really…a thousand? I grabbed my pen and listed a few of my top days…
the days my wife said “yes,” and then “I do”
the day my first son was born…and four wonderful adoption days after that
precious days with those I love who are in the presence of Jesus right now
joyful days growing up on a small farm in southern Minnesota with incredible parents
awe-filled nights soaking in the beauty and wonder of the galaxies above
many days enjoying the beauty of creation—the majestic Rocky mountains, Glacier National Park, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area…and an amazing drive from Red Lodge, Montana through the Beartooth Pass into the north entrance of Yellowstone National Park…just to name just a few
I’ve had some great days…and I am thankful to God for them, yet this verse puts those days into perspective. All of my best days combined, and all of your best days combined will not compare to one day in His presence.
A “one” day is coming, and an eternity to follow when we will experience "…the immeasurable riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus" (Ephesians 2:7).
As you consider the glorious past of God dwelling in Solomon’s Temple, and the mind-blowing future of God dwelling with His people (Revelation 21:3), remember that we are the temple of God because of the all-sufficient work of Jesus Christ. Upon his death, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, giving us direct access to the Father through Jesus, so we can boldly approach the throne of grace.
Oh believer, let us be those of whom it can be said, “We trust in the LORD of hosts”!
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 (Psalm 84:11).
…my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God (Psalm 84:2).
Reflect upon the goodness of the Lord in your “best” days.
Is God any less good in your “not-so-good,” or “bad” days?
Can you fathom what is in store for those trusting in the sufficiency of Jesus?
Are you pursuing the throne of grace regularly?
Read and consider Psalm 23:6, Psalm 27:4, and John 14:2-3.