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
I wrote a couple of weeks ago, that Psalm 84, one of my favourite psalms, has to be, in my opinion, the quintessential psalm about spending unhurried time with God. The author begins by expressing his longing to be in God’s dwelling place. Ten verses later, he returns to the thought. Having experienced God’s presence, he asserts that a day with Him is far more rewarding and fulfilling than a thousand days spent anywhere else.
Even having time near God as a doorkeeper is infinitely more satisfying than dwelling in the tents of the wicked. A doorkeeper was essentially a greeter at the temple’s door welcoming people to worship God. He was the first person in and the last person out. It was the lowest position in the temple. The two words, dwelling and tents, both point to a lavish, luxurious, ‘having servants wait on you hand and feet’, lifestyle.
This declaration that he would rather be a doorkeeper is not hyperbole because no good thing does he withhold from those who trust Him. He bestows favour and honour upon them (vs 11-12). What he is saying is comparable to Paul in Philippians 3:8, “…I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord…” or to Asaph’s intense sentiment of affection, “Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you” (Ps 73:25).
I am and will always be thankful for my recent sabbatical that afforded me the space to have precious unhurried time with God. It has profoundly impacted my relationship with Him. There is a closeness to God I’ve not felt for a long time. But as my sabbatical was coming to an end, the challenge was how do I safeguard my unhurried time with the Lord in the ‘real world’ where I have responsibilities to juggle and challenges to face?
I wake up fairly early around 5ish. I’d have my coffee and spend a bit of time catching up on world, national and local news on my computer. After my shower, I’d have 20 mins before I leave for church to be with the Lord. It always felt rushed. This needed to change and I decided I’d start by being with the Lord, singing praises to Him from a song list I’ve created, using ‘Spotify’ (the free version, of course!).
Then, I do my daily readings for the day, journaling my thoughts, impressions, insights and praying through anything that jumped out at me from the reading or things on my heart. Just this slight tweak has enabled me to continue having precious, unhurried time with the Lord on a regular basis.
What about you? Is there something you can tweak? Change is often a ‘little by little’ process as Sue McPherson reminded us in her sermons on ‘Faith and Spiritual Disciplines’.
Have faith in God!