“One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple.” – Psalm 27:4
King David desired one thing from the Lord, and it was to dwell in the house of the Lord all his life. He desired to view the beauty of the Lord in his house as long as he continued to live on this earth. This makes us wonder, what is the “one thing that we would desire of the Lord”? If we could have one petition to offer up the Lord, what would that one thing be? David placed such a priority on public worship that he desired to have the privilege of dwelling and serving and worshipping in the Lord’s house all the days of his life. I trust we place that same priority on public worship in the house of the Lord as well.
This Psalm begins with David’s declaration of “the Lord is my light and my salvation… the Lord is the strength of my life” (27:1). The Lord was King David’s utmost desire, affection, and love. That leads into the “one thing” that David desired or petitioned from the Lord. If we could only ask for “one thing” of the Lord, what would it be? Would we ask for riches, prominence, power, influence, a bigger house, a new car, or any manner of material things? There was one man who God did offer to grant this “one thing” unto – King Solomon, David’s son and heir to his throne. He did not ask the Lord for material blessings, but he requested wisdom and knowledge that he would be able to properly judge the nation of Israel. God was so pleased with his selfless request that not only did Solomon become the wisest man on the earth, but God also granted him riches, wealth, honor, victory over his enemies, and long life due the integrity of his request (1 Chron. 1:7-13).
If God offered to grant us this “one thing” such as Solomon, would our request be as noble and selfless? or would we ask for the carnal things previously mentioned to consume them upon our own lusts? Would our “one thing” be God-honoring or self-indulging? David didn’t necessarily get this “one-wish blank check” request from the Lord, but he did know what his answer would have been if the Lord had asked him. The “one thing” that David desired of the Lord was to have the privilege to dwell and worship and serve the Lord in his house all the days of his life; to see a first-hand view of the beauty of the Lord in his own house.
David didn’t just petition the Lord for this “one thing” and leave it there, but he also was willing to “seek after” it. When we pray and petition the Lord for something in our lives, we need to follow that prayer up with action on our part. We don’t just “ask” the Lord in prayer for something, but we also “seek” and then we seek persistently by “knocking” as well (Matt. 7:7-10). We need to pray for God’s blessings, but we need to back that petition up by our actions and works. If we are praying for God to bless us to spend our lives in his house, then obviously we need to seek that desired outcome by redeeming the time to be in his house today every single opportunity we get. We need to set our priorities and make the time to place dwelling in the Lord’s house at the very top of our list. We don’t miss church for frivilous, carnal reasons. We make a commitment to be at church ready for worship on time, to not miss one minute or one song or one prayer that I can offer worship unto my God through. We sculpt our actions to make the Lord’s house and public worship the foremost priority in our lives. Then, after we have backed up our prayers with actions, we need to pray the Lord blesses us with the health, strength, desire, and commitment to continue to dwell in the Lord’s house until our earthly journey is completed.
David desired to dwell in the Lord’s house all his life; that was his “one thing”. He also wrote, “For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.” (Ps. 84:10) David would trade a thousand days of being surrounded by wickedness in the world, to have just one day in the Lord’s courts. He wasn’t even concerned about his station or position in the Lord’s house; it didn’t matter if he was just a doorkeeper, he still placed the utmost priority on the Lord’s house and public worship. He simply wanted to see the Lord high and lifted up; he wanted to feel the communion of the Holy Ghost and feel the love of God shed abroad in his heart, that we cannot feel anywhere else that worshipping the Lord in Spirit and in truth in his house.
King David understood that the place where he could see (and we can see today) the “beauty of the Lord” manifested the most profoundly and most clearly is in the Lord’s house. I trust we all desire to see the beauty of the Lord here in our lives. Praise God we will see his beauty perfectly for all of eternity, but we can see glimpses of God’s beauty (albeit through a glass darkly, a distorted and murky view, but still such a glorious view) here and now in his house. Nowhere will we have a better, more unobstructed vision to the beauty and glory of God than dwelling in the Lord’s house and in the worship service of the church. I’m thankful we can see the beauty of God in creation, and in some instances in the world around us. However, despite those small glimpses we see of God’s beauty in the world around us, God’s glory will be manifested in his house so much more clearly and powerfully than anything we can experience out in nature or out in the world.
We have the grand privilege of “enquiring of the Lord in his temple”. It’s a great privilege and honor just to pray unto Almighty God. Furthermore, it is an even more intimate blessing to pray unto God in his church that Christ has designated to be “a house of prayer”. We don’t know what the future may hold, but we must redeem the time that we have and place a priority on the Lord’s house. I trust the greatest priority in our lives; I hope the “one thing” that we pray and petition the Lord for, is the privilege of dwelling and worshipping the Lord in his house all our lives until we are called home or the Lord returns. I long to see the beauty of the Lord, and I want to remove every obstacle that obstructs my view from seeing the Lord high and lifted up in his power and glory in the church of the Lord Jesus Christ. Lord, bless me to dwell in your house all days of my life and to see your beauty clearly in your house.
Verses 3 & 4 & Chorus from “I’ve Found My Church Home” (by Elder Sonny Phelan, Songs of Zion Hymnal, 2017)
Now I know where I have come from, I know where I belong
In my blessed Savior’s kingdom, In my brethren’s chosen home.
Just a sinner out of bondage, Given grace enough to see,
The beauty of His friendship, Why the Savior died for me.
A home I’ve found in Zion, Promised long ago for me;
Let us drink the living waters, Let us feast from that great tree.
Things once so important to me, Are now viewed as vanity.
I’ve received a crown of glory, A jewel of life to me.
Let us gather in His house, Let us labor in His fields;
Let us sing the songs of Zion; Let us worship Him with zeal.
I’ve been given a new life, In this world of sin and shame;
I will call on my dear Savior, I will bless His holy name.
Originally published August 2018