Better Is One Day In Your Court
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If you had a choice to be anywhere, where would you pick? The beach? The city? A deserted island? The forest? According to the psalmist who wrote Psalm 84, the court of the Lord is the best place. Matt Redman has put Psalm 84 to music in his song Better Is One Day.
The song begins with a cello playing a haunting melody (with Matt singing in the background), suggesting a lone seeker traveling rapidly in order to get to a desired destination. Soon, other instruments start to play, giving the impression that the lone individual is being joined by others, equally driven.
The music then quiets, and Matt sings the words of the psalm: "How lovely is your dwelling place O Lord Almighty". The seeker was longing to be in the house of the Lord. The quiet instrumentation and Matt's voice give the impression of the seeker finally entering the Lord's house, feeling awed and joyous. In the Lord's house, the seeker finds refuge and peace.
The twice sung refrain is one verse from the psalm, expressing the love the seeker has for God and his house: Better is one day in your courts than thousands elsewhere. The music is louder and a vocal harmony is added. Together they imply that joy of being in the house of the Lord is overwhelming, and the seeker is standing with arms extended, praising God.
The second verse expresses the desire of the seeker to see God's beauty, evidence of the presence of God, in his dwelling place. After the long journey, the seeker hopes to stand in his presence, and feel his power and love. The refrain is sung again, reaffirming the joy of being in God's house.
The music and lyrics of the bridge imparts a different feel to the song, a feeling of intense longing, almost begging. "My heart and flesh cry out for you the living God". The seeker's longing to be with God again and to feel his presence reaches down into his soul. He previously felt the joy of being in God's presence and he asks God to come to him again, affirming that this will allow him to draw near to God again.
The song ends with the refrain sung multiple times, building in volume and intensity each time, as if the seeker is crying out to the Lord with his whole body and soul seeking the presence of God. After the refrain is sung, the seeker sings the essential message: One day, one day with you. One day with God is better than anything that the world can provide.
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