# 259 A journey through the Psalms. Psalm 84. Job vacancy – doorkeeper!

There is an interesting story in the life of the prophet Jeremiah when he is under extreme pressure from his enemies – i.e., those leaders in Jerusalem who did not want to hear the truth. His scribe, Baruch, is not too impressed with his rather controversial and dangerous role of writing down and then speaking forth for Jeremiah the confronting words of God to Israel’s already angry leaders, and so we read:

When Baruch son of Neriah wrote on a scroll the words Jeremiah the prophet dictated in the fourth year of Jehoiakim son of Josiah king of Judah, Jeremiah said this to Baruch: “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says to you, Baruch: You said, ‘Woe to me! The Lord has added sorrow to my pain; I am worn out with groaning and find no rest.’ But the Lord has told me to say to you, ‘This is what the Lord says: I will overthrow what I have built and uproot what I have planted, throughout the earth. Should you then seek great things for yourself? Do not seek them. For I will bring disaster on all people, declares the Lord, but wherever you go I will let you escape with your life.’”

It seems when Baruch answered the job vacancy advertisement as a scribe to the great prophet Jeremiah, he had visions of “great things”. Maybe great rewards such as fame, respectability, promotions and maybe even job security. But obviously he misunderstood or didn’t read between the lines of his contract.

Seeking great things for ourselves is a common problem for us human beings. I remember God speaking to me in the words of Jeremiah to Baruch when I was a new missionary in Pakistan. I was frustrated by my lack of progress in learning Urdu, the national language and was complaining (a bit like Baruch) to the Lord about it. Then those words cutting through to my true motivation:  Should you then seek great things for yourself? Do not seek them. A necessary reminder of who I was, of who God is and what my true motivation should be in all I was doing in Pakistan (including learning the language).

In our Psalm 84, we see something quite different from Baruch’s attitude, the true humility of this author as he continues:

10 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.

Or as the Passion Translation puts it:

10 For just one day of intimacy with youis like
a thousand days of joy rolled into one!
I’d rather stand at the threshold in front of the Gate Beautiful,ready to go in and worship my God,
than to live my life without you
in the most beautiful palace of the wicked.

And so, the psalmist continues:

11 For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
    the Lord bestows favor and honor;
no good thing does he withhold
    from those whose walk is blameless.

12 Lord Almighty,
    blessed is the one who trusts in you.

Are you disappointed in your life so far? Maybe you had dreamed of accomplishing “great things” for God (with some side benefits for you as well)? But God has left you in a place of “small things”. An “ordinary” job, caring for children or frail parents, maybe just being a door keeper at church rather than a worship leader of preacher up front?

One day in the life of another prophet, Zechariah, an angel reveals God’s plans to him and in the midst of this message he makes a very challenging statement, he says, “Who dares despise the day of small things…? (Zechariah 4:10)

The psalmist in Psalm 84 understood what was important in life and he stated,

I’d rather stand at the threshold in front of the Gate Beautiful,
ready to go in and worship my God,
than to live my life without you
in the most beautiful palace of the wicked.

That job vacancy is open to us all – are you ready to apply?

Father forgive us when we seek great things for ourselves and despise the day of small things. Teach us humility and may we be willing to be doorkeepers at the house of God rather than be anywhere where you are not honoured and worshipped. Amen.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s