A Doorkeeper In Thy Courts by Al Arnold

Psalm 84:

I wrote this last year (2020) for Lent season this year.  It is my first poem and perhaps my favorite work.   The poem is featured in a book titled, “As Sparks Fly Upward” Reflections for Lent (2020). Produced by Redeemer Community Arts, A ministry of our church, Redeemer Presbyterian Church, PCA.  

This is read by Laina Keyon, a sister in Christ and member of Redeemer. This is a musical piece designed to be heard by the ear. She did a beautiful job on this. 

The instruments are paired from countries and among men that have historically had some of the greatest conflicts among their people. Music, the universal language of love, has no boundaries. This was my way of understanding the psalmist who composed this psalm of string instruments set according to the Gittith instrument. The Gittith, an instrument of the tribe of Gath. I was struck by this instrument due to its likely origin, Gath. King David in his fleeing from King Saul apparently spent time among the Gath people. (Samuel 27:1-28: Chapter 2). It is thought that he spent 1 year and four months among the Gath people.

This is quite interesting considering that David fought and killed Goliath, the Philistine champion of Gath people. The Gath were no friends of the Jews. David often fought against them. “These four Philistines were descendants of the giants of Gath, but David and his warriors killed them.” (2 Samuel 21:22). Yet, a native of Gath, a Philistine, “Ittai, was in the army of King David and was also in command of a force. “And all his servants passed by him, and all the Cherethites, and all the Pelethites, and all the six hundred Gittities who had followed him from Gath, passed on before the king.”

This reminds me of the German Nazi Slavic Regiments of WWII. The Slavic people were considered less than human by the Germans. Yet, with Russia on one side and Germans on the other, the Slavic people found themselves in a real pickle. So, they found themselves on the side of the Germans. Or what of the Finnish Jews who fought with the Germans during WWII? Does history allow such twists? “I had to do my duty, like everyone. We weren’t Jews fighting in a Finnish army-We were Finnish people, Finnish soldiers, fighting for our county.”

Aron Livson, Finnish soldier

Thoughts and Questions.

Can you imagine that Finnish Jewish soldiers and German Soldiers developed friendships? And what of King David and the friends he gained while hiding in the land of Gath? Ittai the Gittitie (2 Samuel 18:2, 5, 12) and the 600 men from Gath that was among King David’s personal security. Historically, people have always found themselves in twists and turns that have allowed for many to cross the boundaries of their day. Unfortunately, far too many today do not allow for the humanity of man to live up to its expectation that ironically they so desperately argue that they are trying to defend.

May you be blessed even as a Doorkeeper in His house.  Enjoy!!

In Him,

Al Arnold

Click link below to Listen to “A Doorkeeper In Thy Courts” by Al Arnold



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