Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
July 23, 1959

A Door-Keeper In The House Of My God

Lloyd Moyer, El Cerrito, California

. . . I had rather be a door-keeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness." (Psalms 84:10.)

I am told that a literal translation of this passage is, "I would choose rather to sit at the threshold . . ." Either translation reveals a wonderful lesson for us.

The statement demands at least four characteristics of the person who makes it.

It Demands Knowledge

First one must have knowledge of what the "house" of God is. How would one know that he would rather be a door-keeper in the house of God if he did not know what the house of God is? The only way we can find the answer is by reading what the Holy Spirit has revealed in the scriptures. (Isa. 2:2-3) "And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills, and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of God of Jacob: ..." This passage mentions that the house of God shall be established in the last days. But it does not tell us what that house is We must turn to another scripture for the answer. The Holy Spirit reveals the answer in 1 Tim. 3:15: "But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God .." now we know what the house of God is. It is the church. The church is that body of people who have been called out of the world into the service of God. All who have confessed their faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God, repented of their sins, and been buried with Christ in the waters of baptism for the remission of their sins, are members of the church of Christ. They must live a godly life in Christ Jesus. They must suffer persecution. (2 Tim. 3:12.) "Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution." Therefore, being a member of the church carries with it a certain responsibilities. One must deny himself and take up his cross daily to follow Jesus. To live in the house of God is to live a life of humble service to God.

"Tents Of Wickedness"

There are houses of wickedness today. These houses offer every kind of entertainment the flesh could desire. The "tents of wickedness" in olden times were about what the houses of ill repute are in our day. They offered all that would satisfy the fleshly desires. One could think of just any desire that is carnal and it could be satisfied in the "tents of wickedness." It seems that mankind in general thinks that the answer to life's problems is the satisfying of the fleshly desires. Think of the field of entertainment, the largest field of business in the world today. More money is spent in this field than in any other. Think of the contracts for television actors alone, some run as high as twenty-five million dollars. Why? These people are paid to entertain, to make people laugh. It is staggering when we begin to visualize all the money that is spent on entertainment. I do not believe all entertainment is evil, but I am trying to point out the fact that man is pre-eminently interested in satisfying the lust of the flesh; therefore he would rather "dwell in tents of wickedness."

Solomon gave himself over to the gratification of the desires of the flesh in order that he might determine "what was that good for the sons of men, which they should do under heaven all the days of their life." (Eccl. 2:3.) He gave himself over to wine, women, pleasure, wealth and every kind of folly, but proclaimed that all was "vanity and vexation of spirit." Here is his conclusion. "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man." (Eccl. 12:13.) Although the "tents of wickedness" offer all that the flesh could desire, the wise man of old days said that was not the answer. Yes, there is pleasure in sin, but it is a fleeting pleasure. (Heb. 11:24-26.) God help us not to sell our souls for a moment of pleasure.

It Demands Discernment Or Good Judgment

People are so foolish. Especially when it comes to the salvation of their souls. They may exercise fairly good judgment in business matters and yet act very foolishly in relation to their soul. Think how many times you have heard the statement, "I see no wrong in that." Relatively few people see the difference between good and evil. Possibly the reason is that we do not wish to see evil in things we do. Regardless of the reason, it is unwise for us to ignore the presence of evil. (Heb. 11:24-26.) "By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompense of reward." Moses made a wise choice. Why? Because he had the ability to discern right and wrong. He could see that the pleasures of sin were for a short time 6nly. He weighed the reward of each. Be lived, not just for the present, but for the future as well. He could have had about everything the heart could desire by continuing as Pharaoh's grandson. But he refused, choosing to suffer affliction with the people of God.

Another statement in Hebrews points out the need to discernment. (Heb. 5:12-14) "For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God: and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil." From this passage we learn that some people do not have their senses exercised so as to discern good from evil. A person of this type is a "babe". Surely such a one could not make the statement of our text, because he would be almost certain to choose the "tents of wickedness" rather than the house of God. Thus we see the need of warning against that which is evil. Many people do not desire this attitude in a preacher. And many preachers are anxious to tickle the ears of such members. But the faithful gospel preacher will be anxious to point out what is evil and warn people against such. This course will incur the wrath and displeasure of some members. Let the preacher warn against the evil of "dancing" and some members will immediately think of some reason why there should be a change of preachers. If a preacher is in love with worldly security, he had better avoid warning against covetousness. Our preaching should be of such nature that it will enable people to make a wise choice in engaging in that which is right rather than in that which is evil.

Our Text Demands A Positive Choice

Please recall that Moses not only refused to be called Pharaoh's daughter's son, but he chose rather to suffer affliction with the people of God. It is not enough just to avoid that which is evil, but we must be actively engaged in that which is right. We hear many say, "I would not do this or that," and it is wonderful that people will not do that which is evil. But many times these fine people will not do that which is right either! Jesus gave an example of this very thing in the twenty fifth chapter of Matthew. He told of the householder giving talents to his servants and then taking his journey. The five and two talent men doubled their talents, while the one talent man did nothing. He did not steal, he did not commit murder, he simply did nothing. Yet he was cast out as a wicked servant. We should make a positive choice. I fear the reason so many eventually go back into the world after obeying the gospel is that they did not make up their minds to become actively engaged in the service of the Lord. They just made up their minds to refrain from evil, thus they were left with an empty void in their lives. Unless they fill that emptiness with service to God, these persons are almost sure to go back into sin. Therefore, in addition to preaching on the things that a child of God can do. About the first thing I can recall is my Mother and Father saying "Don't; stop; quit; you can't do that!" Then I went to school and the first thing that I heard was a teacher saying, "Now you can't do this and you can't do that." I attended church services and the preacher began to tell us what we could not do. I began to wonder if there was anything that we could do. Many members of the church have the idea that Christianity is simply refraining from that which is wrong. Christianity is refraining from evil, but it is more than this. It is actively participating in that which is right. If we can get people to make a positive choice — choosing to really serve the Lord, there will be fewer souls lost.


The statement, "I would rather be a door-keeper in the house of my God than to dwell in tents of wickedness", demands that the person making it be humble. The "high and mighty" look down on the humble "door-keeper". They think no more of the door-keeper than they do of the mat in front of the door. It is a position of low esteem. Most people want to do something big. And unless they can do something big, they will do nothing at all. This is illustrated in the story of Naaman, the leper. He was sent to Samaria to be healed. He was told to "Go and wash in Jordan seven times." Naaman was angry and went away. One of his servants asked, "My father, if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it?" (2 Ki. 5:13.) Naaman had to humble himself and do what the prophet commanded.

Many say, "If I were a preacher or an elder I would do thus and so." Or "If I had a million dollars I would do great things for the Lord." We would do with much exactly what we do with the little that we possess. The man with one talent is just as important as the man with five talents, providing he works with what he has. If I do the best I can, I will be blessed of God as surely as the man with great talent. The soul of the person who sweeps the building is just as precious to the Lord as the soul of the mightiest preacher in the land. We must be willing to use what we have in the service of the Lord. Jesus said, "... every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted." (Luke 18:14.) Again Jesus said, "But he that is greatest among you shall be your servants." (Mt. 23:11.) Men usually reverse this order. They think that the greatest is the one who is served. The apostle Peter stated it this way, ... Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble." (1 Pet. 5:5.) Pride has caused untold misery in this old world. I am reminded of a passage in the Old Testament that fits in right here. (Micah 6:8) "He hath shewed thee, 0 man, what is good: and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God." It is impossible to walk with God without being humble, because God "resisteth the proud" but he "giveth grace to the humble." The humble man realizes his dependence upon God and is thankful for all that God has done for him. This makes him a better servant. The humble are not maneuvering for places of prominence in the church. They never seek to "lord it over" others. In honor they prefer one another. I am persuaded that if a congregation were composed of truly humble people, it would be impossible to divide that congregation. Each member would be thinking of the welfare of the other. None would be seeking his own good, but rather the good of his brethren. All would depend upon God for directions and guidance in everything that they practiced. They would be a happy people because of their trust in the Lord. Truly, "I would rather be a door-keeper in the house of my God than to dwell in tents of wickedness."

In conclusion I plead with you to render obedience to the gospel of Christ and be added to the church by the Lord. Turn your back upon the "tents of wickedness" by repenting of your sins. Choose to become actively engaged in the service of the Lord. Confess your faith in Christ as the Son of God. Be buried with Him in the waters of baptism for the remission of your sins. You will then be a child of God, having been born into His family. You will be in "the House of God", which is the "church of the living God." Serve faithfully and humbly in whatever capacity you can, and God will abundantly bless you in this life and in the life which is to follow.