By Robert Halsey Pine
“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 live in the tents of wickedness. For the LORD God is a sun and shield; he bestows favor and honor. No good thing does the LORD withhold from those who walk uprightly. O LORD of hosts, happy is everyone who trusts in you.” (Psalm 84 NRSV).
Life is but a moment. Our natural life is gone in the blink of an eye. If we thought about life in this way, we would choose our situations with more care. It is difficult for us to think about choosing to be in God’s courts for one day in place of a full life in the natural world. But a full life in the natural world is of little comfort if we do not seek God in it.
God has always been there for us to be a “sun and shield” to favor and honor us. We, His children, have ignored Him. So, he came to us through the life of His only Son Christ Jesus. The Son became the sun that was God. He brought us light. By His atonement for our sins through death on the cross, Jesus gave us on the promise of salvation and encouraged us to walk uprightly. The psalmist here speaks of happiness and trust. How can we be happy if we don’t trust our sun and shield?
Each day we wake up with the worries and the preoccupations of the natural life on our minds. We sort out this and we sort out that. I will do this today or I must fix that today. There is a darkness about an early morning like this. Even when we awake with excitement for a thing of the day before us, we do not take care. We have no shield to protect us as we plan how “we” will take control. Each day should start in the courts of God. This is where the light of the Lord will shine on our daily challenges and opportunities. This is where we will be shielded from the threats of the day.
Taking one day at a time in this way will give us the peace that will satisfy us if it were our last day in the natural life. Our status in the world is of no concern when we start each day in the courts of God. We are fully blessed by being in His courts. This is the status that we should seek to achieve. It is the status of trusting in our Lord and God. In trusting we happily dwell in His courts and praise Him for each day.
Robert Halsey Pine was born at Newark, Ohio in 1943. He is a graduate of Northeastern University and completed the program of Theological Education by Extension: Education for Ministry, School of Theology, the University of the South.