Getting the Message: Psalm 84:10By CHRIS SHELTON,
This psalm gives us a picture of a Christian pilgrim with a deep longing for God finding the greatest blessedness in his journey being the worship of the Lord. Through peaks and valleys, joy and tears, he elevates his relationship to God, his being close to the living God, as truly what life is.
Our verse reads: “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.” The language here is concerned with the worship of God at the assigned time and place. To the psalmist, this was the highlight of his life; he looked forward to worship on the Sabbath Day.
I recently read a poll that said only 17.7 percent of Americans regularly attend church services. The good news is that still represents around 50 million people; the bad is it represents a trend of declining attendance, and it reflects the attitude of younger generations toward church attendance.
There are of course many people who would love to be able to attend church who are providentially hindered. They are usually older people, who because of physical issues are unable to do what they would love to do. These people usually are “attending” church services in their home, listening to a service on TV or some other means.
I know that a minister bringing up the issue is church attendance is rather cliché, or predictable. Nevertheless, we need to consider the significance of this trend. The worship of God and fellowship of Christians in a local congregation is the primary means God uses to sanctify a soul. The preaching of the word is necessary to the soul, and the Lord’s Day is what the Lord especially has set apart to this end.
It will come as no surprise if someone who consistently neglected the Lord’s Day is found to be outside the camp of God’s people when the Lord Jesus separates people. Clearly, copying the attitude of the psalmist is the safest road in a world beset with dangers and temptations to the soul. There is a lot at stake in your journey; your soul, and the worship of the Lord is a safeguard. The psalmist valued this more than anything in his life. The safeguard also became a delight to him.
Consider the value of the worship of the Lord. He is the first being, and therefore deserves to be served first. He is not only the first being, but the best being. He is the greatest good and also the greatest authority. He gives the greatest rewards; a crown of life (Rev. 2:10, James 1:12). No one else can give you eternal life but God. The psalmist would rather be in the worship of the Lord than anywhere. The worship of the Lord is important to him. His obedience to the Lord is important to him.
Some people may dismiss this, and say to themselves me and Jesus got our own thing going or such. The answer to any protest in mind or voice to the attendance of the Lord’s Day worship is simply you will find no vindication anywhere in the Scriptures. Rather you will find warning after warning with respect to insincere, false, or the neglect of worship.
Think of how many warnings there are toward those who do consistently attend the worship of the Lord with respect to their sincerity. Over and Over the prophets speak of the Lord’s searching eye upon those who come to worship him. Nothing escapes the light of the Lord. “My eyes shall be there perpetually (1 Kings 9:3).” “My eyes are upon all their ways (Jeremiah 16:17).” If God inspects those who come to worship, what becomes of those who do not come at all? Being at church is important.
Second Chronicles 7 speaks of the worship of the Lord by his people being contingent for blessing upon their land. He is speaking of humble, sincere worship. The Lord says: “I have chosen and consecrated this house that my name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will be there for all time (verse 16).” The Lord uses these words to encourage his people to come and worship; to come and hear his word. Nevertheless, many found it burdensome. The psalmist did not. He found joy in the invitation of the Lord to come and worship on the Lord’s Day.
This psalm is a challenge for us to examine our affections for God. The Lord Jesus Christ died that we might enjoy the worship of God and fellowship with him. If you struggle with this contemplate your accountability to God and the need for forgiveness of sins. Thanksgiving is the catalyst to worship.