Psalm 27:4 - One thing have I asked 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 gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in His temple.
A character in a folk tale is sometimes granted three wishes by some magical figure, perhaps a genie or a leprechaun. This does not necessarily lead to a happy ending, as the character usually misuses or wastes the wishes. David the psalmist seeks something far more substantial than three imagined wishes. He only wants one thing and he makes his request of the Lord of heaven and earth.
When David's son Solomon was enthroned in Israel, God said to the new king, "Ask what I shall give you" (1 King 3:5b). Solomon asked for just one thing, an "understanding mind" so that he would be a good king. Pleased with this request, the Lord gave Solomon both wisdom and wealth. During the Lord's earthly ministry, a blind man named Bartimaeus cried out to Jesus, David's greater Son. The Lord asked him, "What do you want Me to do for you?" (Mark 10:51b). The blind man only wanted one thing—to receive his sight. Jesus healed him and, seeing clearly, Bartimaeus followed his Lord.
As He did for David, Solomon, and Bartimaeus, the Lord hears our prayers and mercifully grants our requests according to His will. If you were to ask one thing of the Lord, as David does, what would you ask? Would you ask for wisdom or wealth? Would you ask for help and healing? The psalmist seeks only the one necessary thing that, centuries later, Martha's sister Mary would seek when she "sat at the Lord's feet and listened to His teaching" (see Luke 10:39-42). The psalmist wants to dwell in the house of the Lord always. Where his Lord is, that is where David wants to be, "to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in His temple."
Our Lord is present among us in His Word and His Sacraments, and where He is, that is where we want to be. In His Word we gaze upon His beauty, even on the dark day when His beauty was marred by cruel nails and a crown of thorns. We gaze upon the beauty of our risen Savior as we encounter Him at the empty tomb and marvel at His nail-scarred hands and feet. We come together in worship and prayer, inquiring in the Lord's temple, learning from the Scriptures, and receiving the wondrous, beautiful mystery of His body and blood, given and shed for the forgiveness of our sins.
Like David and Solomon, Bartimaeus and Mary, we ask of the Lord just this one necessary thing: to dwell in His presence for all of our days. Our gracious Lord grants our request, now and for all eternity. He has promised, "I will come again and will take you to Myself, that where I am you may be also" (John 14:3b). We want to be where Jesus is, and He wants that, too.
WE PRAY: Lord, grant that I might see Your beauty in the Word and dwell in Your presence now and forever. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler.
1. Do you have any favorite folk tales or fantasy figures that have influenced your thinking?
2. What would be an example of inquiring after the Lord in His house?
3. Is there one thing in particular you most seek from the Lord?
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