I don’t know if you’re quite as hip as I am (cue raucous laughter), but perhaps you’ve seen the news stories surrounding a certain singer named Taylor Swift. Ticket prices are sky-high and very hard to get if you want to see her on her current tour. Recently, one of her “Swifties,” a superfan named Davis Perrigo (an accountant by day), came up with a unique solution. He applied and got a job as a security guard so he could be as close as possible to her during a concert. If you look him up, you’ll see him front and center, joyously belting out the tunes with Taylor just above him on stage. Perrigo got a verbal slap on the wrist from his boss, got his 15 minutes of fame by going viral on the internet, and even got several marriage proposals from fellow Swifties via tweets. But that wasn’t what he was going for. His aim was to be right there in Taylor’s presence, and it was glorious. Being a security guard wasn’t a glamorous job. The concert only lasted for one night. But in any Swiftie’s eyes, the experience was worth it.
In the Old Testament, there was a group of singer/songwriters called the Sons of Korah, and they wrote a number of the psalms we have recorded in the Bible. They descended from the tribe of Levi, which was the tribe blessed with the responsibility of being the priests and church workers. However, the family of Korah had a job that wasn’t very glamorous. They were the doorkeepers at the temple. They tended the gates, a servant’s job, on the same level as temple janitor. And yet . . . to be a doorkeeper at the temple gates meant to be near God’s presence constantly, because within the temple was housed the ark of the covenant, where God dwelt among his people. Psalm 84, which was written by the Sons of Korah, says:
How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord Almighty! My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young—a place near your altar, Lord Almighty, my King and my God. Blessed are those who dwell in your house; they are ever praising you. Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked. (verses 1-4,10)
Note that the name Lord is in all caps. Now, I’m not the kind of writer who uses the Caps Lock button frivolously, so why have I so obnoxiously put his name in caps? Perhaps you’ve noticed it in your Bible too. When we see Lord, it signifies to us that in the original Hebrew the name Yahweh was being used—the sacred name of God, the unspeakable name, the holy name. To be in the presence of the Lord is a big, big deal. As amazing as it is for most Swifties to score tickets (or apply for a security guard position) to be in Taylor’s presence, she doesn’t have an unspeakable, holy name. Her concert would be one fun night, but if we’re superfans for the Lord, we can spend all our days in his presence, and it will be better than anything we can imagine.
So how do we score a seat in his presence? Well, that’s the best part of all. We have free tickets, and Jesus promises we won’t get scammed or lose anything in the deal. Because of what Jesus did—coming to earth, living a perfect life, and dying for our sins—we can look forward to being in the Lord’s presence forever in heaven. And as a fun little bonus, we get access to his presence NOW (there’s that all caps again). The Lord is here with us at every time and in every place, and we can carry his presence to a dark and hurting world.
For the Lord God is a sun and a shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless. Lord Almighty, blessed is the one who trusts in you. (Psalm 84:11,12)
Let’s be superfans for the Lord. Let’s proclaim his praises louder than we sing “Shake It Off.” Let’s bask in his presence now and for eternity.