Standing at the Threshhold of the House of God
On April 30, 1956 Alben Barkley of Kentucky, who had served as vice president in the second Truman administration, was giving the keynote address at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia. As his speech reached its climax, he made an allusion to Psalm 84:10, “I would rather be a servant in the House of the Lord than to sit in the seats of the mighty.” These were his final words as he collapsed and died of a heart attack on stage.
Fewer words could have expressed more noble sentiments, especially when one realizes the passage it was taken from. Psalm 84:10 reads, “For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand outside. I would rather stand at the threshold of the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness.” This psalm was written by the sons of Korah who were the gate keepers at the tabernacle and later the temple, so their position was one at the threshold of the house of God. This attitude of joy in worshipping God, even at the verge of the temple courts and the recognition that one day of worship in God’s presence was better than a thousand outside, expresses an attitude that we should all have about worship.
David expresses the same eagerness for worship in Psalm 27:4. “One thing I have asked from the Lord, that I shall seek: That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord and to meditate in His temple.” Such an attitude should challenge us all to be more eager for opportunities to worship God as we gather in His spiritual temple, the church (I Corinthians 3:16-17). With such an attitude, forsaking the assembly of the church (Hebrews 10:25) would not be a problem.
There is also a broader application that can be made of this passage. Our worship today, as was that of the sons of Korah, is a foretaste of our eternity with God. As David says in Psalm 23:6, “Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” 1 Timothy 4:17 assures the faithful that “we shall always be with the Lord.” Certainly, won’t one day in heaven be better than a thousand outside. Surely, to be at the threshold, or even the doormat of heaven, will be so much better than eternity with the wicked. Let us all determine to develop a better attitude toward worship and to visualize with eagerness the divine glory it anticipates so that even our dying thoughts are filled with such sentiments.