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.
I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living! Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!
— Psalm 27:4, 13-14
I made it 2 months into COVID until I had to go home. I was drained from countless Zoom meetings, making what seemed like millions of meals for my kids, being in the company of only one other person with more than a 1st grade education, and maybe from just having to be an adult all the time. I needed to go home. Instead of telling everyone that it was going to be ok, I needed to be told it was going to be ok. Instead of battling kids into naptime, I needed a rest. Instead of holding it all together, I needed to be held. Instead of being responsible for everything, I needed to be where I could enjoy someone else’s order.
David was longing for something similar in Psalm 27. He also was in the midst of turmoil. He was the king, but all around there were enemies, betrayal and violence. Everything was not as it should be and David was seeking and longing to be in the house of the Lord, the Temple. “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.”
David longed “to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord,”,to know His character, to delight in who God is. David trusted God was his guide, rescuer, and protector because David knew the beauty of God’s character. David also longed to dwell in God’s presence because it was where he went to find wisdom, “to inquire in his temple.” In the Old Testament, the Israelites believed the Temple was the home of the God of the universe. It was where God lived and ruled over all of creation. David needed to know how to live and rule justly, faithfully, and peacefully in the midst of the brokenness that was all around him and so he went to the Temple, into God’s presence to find the answers.
The Temple was not only where God lived and ruled over creation it was also a symbol that pointed to all of creation as God’s temple, the place where He intended to dwell. But now, God’s presence, God’s rule is filling the world through Jesus, He is the new Temple. When we look at Jesus, we see the beauty of the Lord. In Jesus we know who God is; we experience the deep love and care He has for us. When we follow Jesus’ wisdom, when we look to Him to guide us in the turmoil, death, anxiety and oppression we are bringing God’s kingdom to earth.
The Psalm ends with David having confidence God would bring about good despite evil, and life in the midst of death. But in Jesus, we are promised something even greater, we are promised that God will make us “living stones being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood” (1 Peter 2:5). God is with us in the Holy Spirit using us to bring about His peace, justice and love to a broken and hurting world.
Lord, one thing I ask is to see Your beauty and wisdom so that I might be an instrument of peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow Your love. Where there is darkness, let me sow Your light. Where there is sorrow, let me sow Your hope. Where there is doubt, let me sow faith. Lord, we long to see Your goodness and Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. For the sake of Your Son, Amen.
Ministry Fellow at Brown University
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