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  • Joyce Heinrich

One Thing I Ask of the Lord! (Psalm 27:4-5)

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. 5 For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will lift me high upon a rock. —Psalm 27:4-5

It has been said of David, King of Israel, that he was a man after God’s own heart. Knowing his glaring departures from holy and responsible behavior may make us wonder, “Why did God say this about David? He committed murder and falsehood, adultery and treason. So why would God honor him by sharing with us that David is a man after his own heart?”

We can look to this Scripture in Psalm 27:4 as part of the answer to that question. David reveals where his heart lies in the first sentence, “One thing have I asked of the LORD.” Now we all know that David hasn’t asked God for just this one thing; from his youth on up he continually prayed to God for hundreds of things that are recorded in God’s Word.

When lions and bears assaulted his father’s flocks, he prayed for God’s help and was enabled to kill the attackers.

Before every battle David fought, he submitted himself, his army, and the coming battle to his God, trusting Him to give him the strategy and the victory in spite of having to face huge, well-equipped armies. The odds were against them, but David knew that God was for them, and would help and deliver them. And He did.

When the Israelites brought the ark of the covenant home to Jerusalem, David leapt and danced and sang to God in exhilarated praise and excitement before all the people. He honored his great God, and was utterly filled with joy because the tangible evidence of God’s presence was finally with them again.

When his baby was ill, he prostrated himself before his God and begged for the life of his son. Even when God took the life of the child, he did not turn away from his God, but accepted God’s judgment on his sin with compliance.

And the Scriptures radiate many more powerful moments in David’s life which reflect his submission to God, his judgments according to the Word, and his all-consuming passion and adoration of God.

So when he says, “One thing have I asked of the LORD,“ we know that this prayer is the one prayer among them all; it is his consummate desire and hope, the deepest and most urgent longing of his soul.

And what is this longing, this deepest hope? “That I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life.”

Wouldn’t God look with pleasure on David as He received this prayer? Oh yes, because when David longed for something, it was God’s presence that he wanted most. And because, when he prayed for an everlasting relationship with the Lord, he actually used words, out loud, talking to God; he asked God for what he desired. He didn’t sit around wishing, but he acted—just as he said he would do—”One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after.” He is going to go to the temple daily to seek God! He wants to soak the presence of God into his heart, to contemplate the awesome characteristics of His mighty Sovereign, and rejoice in the reality that he knows his God. He will praise God there, sing to Him, write songs about Him and to Him, and join in corporate worship as well.

Then he adds one more thing to his to-do list in the process of seeking to be with his God. He not only wanted to gaze on the beauty of the Lord, but he intends “to inquire in His temple.” It isn’t just worship he wants, it is also wisdom. He’s going to study, talk with the priests and leaders, ask questions, and debate their answers.

He intends to make God his top priority for his attention, and the great joy and resource of his life. In spite of his drastic sins, David truly and humbly repented, and worked at seeking out and knowing his incomparable God.

Dear friends, I am humbled by this man, by his deep hunger for God, and for how the events of his life were under the control of our God. Yes! Certainly, David was a man after God’s own heart! May we all, each one, go and do likewise, and may God receive and affirm us in all our desires for Him.

Jesus Christ… First in our allegiance Fixed in our attentions Foremost in our affections Focus of our adoration


For Reflection

  1. What is your deepest longing?

  2. Does it center on your Lord and Savior?

  3. If not, will you pray for God to equip and bless you with great love for Him and unwavering faith in Him, and for a life ordered by His wisdom?


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