One Thing I Ask

Psalm 27:4 “One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.”

Most of us are very concerned about the economy of our nation and our financial future. Many young adults struggle to find the kind of work that allows them to make ends meet and keep a roof over their heads. Still, most people alive today have lived through one of the longest and strongest rises in prosperity in the history of the world. Worldwide, fewer people (as a percentage of the population) live in poverty, fewer people are living on the edge of starvation, than ever before. Americans live in one of the wealthiest nation on earth, not only now but ever.

Living in a land of plenty has its own temptations, though, doesn’t it. The more we have, the more we are tempted to think that having things is the meaning of life. The more we have, the more we are tempted to worry about keeping what we have. We fret and fear when life’s inevitable changes bring an end to a job, a threat to our health, damage to our property, or danger to our children. These cares and anxieties play on our inborn sinfulness. They gnaw at the faith God has given us. In this way they threaten not only our bodies, but our very souls!

David knew such changes and temptations, too. He went from being a poor shepherd boy, to a respected member of the royal court, to a hunted outlaw, to the King of Israel. How did he get through this roller coaster of changing fortunes? He did it by keeping one thing always before him, always at the top of his priorities: “…that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon his beauty and to seek him in his temple.”

David knew what it was to have money, to have family, to have fame, to have power. He also knew what it was to live without them. But what he always wanted, more than anything, was his Lord. He wanted to go to God’s house and stand in God’s presence. He wanted to see the beauty of his Lord in worship, not some visible appearance of his invisible God, not brightly colored fabrics of the tent in which God was worshiped at that time, not in the gold, silver, and bronze furnishings with which the tabernacle was equipped. He wanted to see the beauty of God’s love for him, the promise of forgiveness signified in the sacrifices, the promise of God’s faithfulness in the feasts and readings that recalled his great acts of deliverance from the past, the promise of a Savior foreshadowed by it all.

Dear Christian, God has given you your heart’s desire! David’s prayer is your possession–a life in God’s house. Some of you, perhaps, have felt at times as though you almost literally did “dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of your life.” What has drawn you to worship and service was not the belief that you were steadily working your own way up that ladder of goodness into heaven. In your worship in God’s house, the Lord is getting you through life. You get to “gaze upon the beauty of the Lord” as it can be seen in the face of only Jesus. His love for you on the cross, dying in your place for your sins, giving you heaven as his gift, satisfies your need for him.

In the annals of history, neither you nor I may enjoy a prominent place. But a life lived in God’s house is particularly blessed. There God richly weaves all the blessings of salvation into the fabric of your lives. By God’s grace it will someday see us on to the eternal blessings of heaven.

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