I long, yes, I faint with longing to enter the courts of the LORD. With my whole being, body and soul, I will shout joyfully to the living God. - Psalm 84:2
Men can really get into sports. Just watch them as the winning three-point shot finds nothing but net at the buzzer. Leaping to their feet, arms raised, they shout and holler—jumping, grinning, and hugging the nearest fan. Unrestrained delight! Uninhibited joy! Unabashed emotion! It’s all there. Meanwhile, back at the church . . . a different story. The enthusiasm is not always transferable.
The psalmist, however, is an exception. He seemed to get into his worship in a big way: “With my whole being, body and soul, I will shout joyfully to the living God” (84:2). He looked with such longing at the Temple and its courts, the symbols of God’s presence (84:3-4), that he even envied the birds who made their nests there! So hungry was he for the opportunity to worship and to share in the fellowship of God’s people that he could honestly say, “A single day in your courts is better than a thousand anywhere else! I would rather be a gatekeeper in the house of my God than live the good life in the homes of the wicked” (84:10).
The writer of this psalm was not unaware of the attractions of the life that the wicked live. He was even prepared to describe it as “the good life”!—a life of ease and enjoyment, entertainment and excess. But it held little attraction for him, because he had discovered the good things that the Lord lavishes on his servants (84:11)—grace to live each day wisely and well, and the promise of glory in the age to come.
The psalmist chose well. So often “the good life” lacks depth and purpose and ultimately leaves an empty feeling of disappointment, a bitter taste of disillusionment. The “good life” offers champagne in the evening but says nothing about real pain in the morning. In marked contrast, the psalmist preferred the rugged lifestyle of a pilgrim, and he courageously faced the realities of the Valley of Weeping rather than crafting escapist entertainment designed to help him deny reality. He knew “the good life” is not all that good!
The psalmist was enraptured with the Lord, and with his whole being he let it be known. So it is for the man today who does what is right, who trusts in the Lord and nourishes his spirit in glad worship, adoration, and praise. For him there is no reticence and no reluctance, but lots of rejoicing with his “whole being, body and soul”!
For Further Study: Psalm 84
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