This introduction serves as an invitation to join in an on-going journey of discovery. You will not need to buy tickets nor make travel plans. All that's required is your Bible and a quiet place to read and meditate. Together we'll explore the Book of Psalms, Israel’s hymnal and longest collection of poetry.  

Psalm 84:8-12

God's Doorkeeper

(8) Yahweh, God of hosts, hear my prayer. Give ear, God of Jacob. (Selah) (9) Look upon our shield (i.e. our ruler), God. Look (with favor) on the face of your anointed one, (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 to dwell in the tents of wickedness, (11) for Yahweh God (is) a sun and a shield. Yahweh bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk blamelessly. (12) Yahweh of hosts, blessed (is) the man who trusts in you.

Each verse in this segment contains at least one name for God. First, we find “Yahweh, God of hosts...God of Jacob” (vs. 8). Then, in the following verses, “God” (vs. 9), “my God” (vs. 10), “Yahweh God” and “Yahweh” (vs. 11), and, finally, “Yahweh of hosts” (vs. 12). In the twelve verses of Psalm 84, “God (Elohim)” is used eight times, “Yahweh” seven times, and “of hosts” four times.

Additionally, the psalmist, in closing his psalm, strongly expresses his love for the sanctuary, the temple in which God’s presence dwelt. He does this by using the phrases “your courts...the house of my God” (vs. 10) and by restating the great truth of verses 4 & 5 that the one who trusts in Yahweh will be blessed (vs. 12).

I.  Praying for the king, God’s anointed one  (8 & 9)
II.  Delighting in God’s presence and protection  (10-12)

When we seek God above all else and our prayers focus on what his heart desires, we will receive his richest blessings.

Verse 10 contains two comparisons that help us grasp the depth of the psalmist’s devotion to God. First, he values one day walking with God more highly than a thousand days spent elsewhere. Then, he prefers the lowly status of serving as a doorkeeper in God’s household to any other position the world might offer. In other words, his greatest aspiration is to remain close to God.

Abraham shows us the value of such humility. According to Genesis 13, he graciously stepped aside and gave his nephew Lot the option to choose where he would graze his flocks. Lot took advantage of this offer and chose the better pastureland that lay near the wicked cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. Abraham was left with poorer grazing but was shielded from the evil influences that would have hindered his walk with God. While probably not fully aware of the long term benefits of his decision, Abraham experienced the blessings of fellowship with God while Lot paid a steep price for living among some of the most infamous sinners of the ancient world.

We should frequently ask ourselves questions such as, “What is my heart’s desire? Do I, like the psalmist, yearn to dwell in God’s presence, far from the evils of this world?” Jesus described the great benefit of choosing God over every option the world has to offer in these words: “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Mt. 6:33 KJV).

Psalm 85:1-7

Psalm 84:1-7