There have been several times in my life I’ve found myself on the edge of a cliff. I’m no daredevil, but I do embrace a good adventure. When my husband and I were first married we planned a trip to Hawaii. We spent little time on the actual beaches of Hawaii and most of our time hiking canyons and exploring waterfalls. There was one specific trail that my husband heard about that was closed off due to damage from a previous hurricane. Only brave hikers actually went on this trail, and we deemed ourselves as brave that day. After hours of hiking through overgrown pathways and climbing down steep terrain, we found ourselves on the edge of a cliff overlooking a breathtaking canyon. The view was spectacular, one that very few tourists get the privilege of beholding in its pure, majestic beauty. We felt as if we were on the brink of glory, but we really were only seeing a tiny glimmer of God’s beautiful creation. All of this world reflects the wonder of its Maker.
Most days I wish I were back on the edge of that canyon, breathing in the salty ocean air with the clouds swirling around us. Instead, I find myself on the brink of piles and piles of laundry, loads of dishes, and long to-do lists. This often leads me to an underwhelmed soul that becomes more overwhelmed at what needs to be done rather than what God is doing all around me. It’s easy to miss God’s glory in the midst of the mundane. But the exact same God who made that canyon that I marveled at years ago is the same God who made the fibers that make up the clothing that I wash, fold, iron, hang up and wear. The same God who made the salty ocean water is the same God who made the water in my faucet that I poured into my coffee pot this morning to make a hot cup of caffeine. I believe that we are living on the fringes of His glory, if only we would look up to see Him.
The writer of Psalm 84 knew the wonder of living on the fringes of God’s glory. In this particular Psalm, the Sons of Korah wrote of their desperate longing to be in the dwelling place of the Lord. This desire for the Lord was all-consuming, or as Spurgeon put it—a “holy lovesickness.” The writers ached to be at the altars of God, where even the tiniest of birds also finds a home (verse 3). God is so great, that He even cares for the smallest of His creatures. How much more does He care for us, His people? The writers understood this full well. In verses 10-12, their praises add up to this pinnacle:
“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 dwell in the tents of wickedness. For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly. O LORD of hosts, blessed is the one who trusts in you!”
Just one day in the courts of God is better than a thousand elsewhere. It is better to be in His presence than to be on the edge of a cliff overlooking a vast canyon. It is better to be in His presence that to be enjoying all the “riches” this world could ever offer. It is better to be with Him than to be anywhere on earth. The writers go on to say that they would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of God than to dwell in the tents of wickedness. The role of a doorkeeper was a lowly job during this time. A Levite would have been assigned to stand at the entrances to the temple. And yet, even the role of a doorkeeper matters greatly in the kingdom. No job is ever too small to matter when it is done for the Lord.
In essence, the Sons of Korah were telling us that it’s better to live on the fringes of God's glory than to be immersed in this temporary world. After all, that is the pinnacle of what we can behold in this world - the fringes of His glory. Even when Moses asked God to see His glory in Exodus 33:18-22, the Lord hid him in the cleft of a rock and only allowed him to see His back. Had Moses beheld the Lord in His full glorious splendor, he wouldn’t have lived. It’s God’s grace for us to live on the fringes of His glory. He keeps us looking forward to what we will behold in Heaven some day and fills us with pure joy in the present moment.
It’s better to be a doorkeeper with a lovesick heart for the Lord who satisfies than to fall into the ways of this world. Living like a doorkeeper on the fringes of God’s glory is possible right where we are. It doesn’t always have to be when we are standing on the edge of a cliff. Some days it looks like holding your child until they fall asleep in your arms. Other days it looks like waking up early to see a sunrise before a busy day starts. Then there are days it looks like caring for a sick family member with a servant's heart, or giving more than you receive because your eyes are fixed on the cross where Jesus gave all He had for us. Living on the fringes of God’s glory is living with a holy hunger and longing for our King, with our gaze set on eternity and our hope in His goodness.
Life is best lived on the fringes of God’s glory, where we embrace even the humblest of roles in the kingdom. Being a doorkeeper today may look like putting down your to-do list to sit in His presence. It may look like singing a worship song at the top of your lungs while sitting in traffic, or it may even look like standing on the brink of a cliff in Hawaii. Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, this one thing remains the same: a day in His courts is better than a thousand elsewhere, and being a doorkeeper on the fringes of His glory is better than any other position on earth.
living on the fringes of His glory,