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The Courts of the Lord

Updated: Mar 16

Swallows nest in the courts of God.
Swallows nest


Better is One Day in Your Courts…Than Thousands Elsewhere declares the wisdom of scripture.  But how do we enter his courts? What does it mean?


In the Psalms, the term "courts" is used to refer to the courtyards of God’s dwelling place, where His people prepare to present themselves to righteousness. This imagery expresses both majesty and beauty. Majesty because God resides and reigns in this place, like an earthly monarch who dwells in their court and rules with the assistance of servants to carry out their commands. Beauty is conveyed in the magnificence of the dwelling place itself, which is fitting for a ruler, and the surroundings, which are typically large and meticulously maintained estates on earth. These estates include expansive lawns, colorful gardens, and other visually pleasing features.


The biblical authors use earthly imagery to describe the beauty of Heaven. However, the Bible is clear that Heaven surpasses any comparison that can be expressed or imagined. In 2 Corinthians 12:4, Paul characterizes the revelations from Adonai as "inexpressible". 


In God's creation, we can experience a glimpse of Heaven. For humans, practicing being in God's presence allows us to enter the courts where we can have unbroken fellowship with Him, not just for a moment but for eternity. John wrote in 1 John 3:2,

"When Christ appears, we will be like Him, for we will see Him as He is.”


This entering requires intention and belief that the God of heaven and earth wants us to be in His presence. 


Intentions require us to be clear about what we want, focus on the positive, and be uncomplicated about what we set out to do.  The extraordinary fact is that intentions often reveal a person's character.  Sometimes, we try to hide our intentions, so we dress them up like something pretty.  At times, we may act without clear intentions, simply for the satisfaction of doing rather than being who we really are.  Our beloved knows – God has a clear view of our intentions. He can teach us to see them clearly also.  He does this in His courts.


We see in all scripture a clear example of how intentions showcase character.  From “the beginning,” Yahweh's intention in creating the world was to have a relationship with those who chose to trust and love Him - mankind. Though He did not explicitly mention it, His character and love reveal the story. The intention was to share an unbridled, voluntary love for each other. All the scrolls tell the story in many ways; through the ages, the Ancient of Days is intentional about his longsuffering commitment to love us.


We experience the intention of the living Word, the Son of God, when He became our sin and died in our stead—the intention to redeem and bring creation back into relationship with the Father.

"He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; 'by his wounds, you have been healed." 1 Peter 2:24


Jesus teaches us about the intention of the third person in the Trinity -

“But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” John 14:26


The intentions of Adonai are no hidden matter.


Psalm eighty-four unveils the longing to live with God. This unveiling proves to be more significant when we see the backdrop hidden in plain sight.  This psalm is one of eleven that were written to be sung by the sons of Korah. Korah was a Levite who was the son of Izhar, who in turn was the son of Kohath, one of the three sons of Levi (Exodus 6:16-24). Unfortunately, Korah is known for his involvement in the rebellion against Moses and Aaron's leadership in the wilderness (Num 16:1-35). However, his descendants were not wiped out in judgment (Num 26:11), which was fortunate.  This picture shows Adonai's lovingkindness to a single man's lineage despite their rebellion, extending to future generations.


David appointed the service of song in the house of the LORD after the ark had come to rest. Three song leaders were appointed: Heman of the sons of the Kohathites, Asaph of the sons of Gershom, and Ethan or Jeduthun of the sons of Merari. These men led the temple worship in music and song, and the choirs formed from their respective families. One of these choirs was the Sons of Korah. Other descendants of Korah were gatekeepers and bakers of sacrificial cakes. The Korahites, along with other Levites of their family, the Kohathites, praised the LORD God of Israel with a loud voice at the celebration of Jehoshaphat's victory over Ammon and Moab.


The author of this psalm is a homesick Korahite temple singer who longs for the Lord's courts. His discouragement echoes through the ages. However, in the end, if not physically, he reaches the temple, certainly in his heart, mind, and spirit. He reflects on this blessing, and we can see the progression in the verses Psalm 84 

Vs. 1-4 The Desire - Longing for the Courts of the LORD 

Vs. 5-8 The Journey - Travelling to the Courts of the LORD 

Vs. 9-12 The Privilege - Being in the Courts of the LORD 


The Temple in Jerusalem held a special significance for the Jewish people. It was believed to be the dwelling place of the Lord and the center of their worship. To enter the temple, one had to approach with a repentant heart and a desire to be in the presence of the King of Glory. It was a place for prayer and praise, where believers could connect with God and seek His love. The physical house served as a focal point for their devotion, and it was considered a sacred space where the Lord had put His Name.


But how is this for us – the grafted children of Abraham? 


Our place of dwelling is in God's presence. We have been granted mercy like the sons of Korah, who were spared despite their rebellion. Like the psalmist, we are homesick worshippers longing to be seen, trusted, and loved by the King of Glory.  Our intention is the path to enter into His Courts, and it aligns us with God's purpose and identity.


He is our hope, ready and willing to fill us with all joy and peace as we trust in Him so that we may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.


We have the undeniable assurance that the Lord is God. He made us, and we are His; we are His people, the sheep of His pasture. We can enter His courts with thanksgiving and praise forever for His Name is above all names, and His love endures forever. His faithfulness continues through all generations. (Psalm 100:3-5),

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. Psalm 84:11


Those who trust Adonai will dwell in a supernatural covenant love.  When we set our intention towards becoming known, being forgiven, disciplined, and much loved, we step onto the threshold of heaven.  When we can quiet our heart to feel His heart, and we still our mind to rest in His provisions, we will find that –


Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere. Psalm 84:10

By Malchiel S'lah

February 2024


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