A People of One Thing
(Ps. 27:4) One thing I ask of the Lord, that will I seek: 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 inquire in His temple.
This Psalm is attributed to King David. Although scholars are not in agreement as to when the psalm was written, it is likely that David was at least middle-aged if not even towards the end of his life.
Here we have a great king — a man of unimaginable wealth, a national hero, and a famous warrior – giving insight into what drove him, what preoccupied his mind, what motivated his heart. With all of the king’s responsibilities, decisions, administrative duties, David longed to live in unbroken communion with God.
Notice David said, “one thing…” One thing?! Really?! Isn’t that a bit narrow, David? Surely that’s hyperbolic. There are certainly a number of things that drive you, David. Your family? Your political influence? Your hit songs? Making preparations to build temple?
David said, “no, really, there’s one thing I ask and seek.”
Also notice that David both asks for and seeks this one thing.
David asks. This means that it was his preoccupation in his prayers.
David seeks. This means that it was his preoccupation in his practices.
But what was he asking for and seeking? The all-encompassing desire of David’s life was to “dwell in the house of the Lord” all of his days – to walk in awareness of God’s presence and respond in loving obedience to God’s words. Fame was not his goal. Power was not his ambition. Wealth was not his target. The great obsession of David’s heart was perpetual interaction and intimacy with the God of unsurpassed beauty.
The New Testament language we might use for this is “abide” (Jn. 15).
To dwell, or abide, simply means to “take up residence daily.” This daily organic intimacy with God is what David meant by “dwell.”
Using a grape vine and a vinedresser as an illustration in John 15, Jesus unfolds the glorious transforming power of abiding in Him.
(Jn. 15:5,16) I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit…I chose you…that your fruit should remain.
As we abide in Christ our lives are transformed and we bring forth fruit, both inwardly in godly character and outwardly in ministry and service to others.
The climate that is necessary for this kind of remaining-fruit to flourish is deep, ongoing, intimate interaction and friendship with God.
What does it look like to dwell with Christ?
Dwelling with Christ involves the following activities:
- Gazing on God’s beauty by meditating on His character, nature, and personality
- Regularly talking to God
- Actively listening to God
- Intentionally applying God’s promises
- Deliberately obeying God’s leadership
May we be a people who are preoccupied with God’s presence. May we be a people who earnestly ask for and seek one thing – to dwell in the house of the Lord so that we might experience His glory and interact with Him all the days of our lives.
God of transcendent beauty, draw me deep into the mystery and majesty of You. Stir up a hunger and holy desire in my heart – a solemn and unwavering passion for your presence. Reveal the unmatched beauty of Your Son to me and those around me. Holy Spirit, help me become aware of Your activity in my life. Open my eyes to see and experience Your nearness in every season and every activity of life.