1The LORD is my light and my salvation
whom shall I fear?
The LORD is the stronghold of my life
of whom shall I be afraid?
2When evildoers assail me
to eat up my flesh,
my adversaries and foes,
it is they who stumble and fall.
3Though an army encamp against me,
my heart shall not fear;
though war arise against me,
yet I will be confident.
4One thing I have asked of the LORD,
that I will 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.
5For he will hide me in his shelter
in the day of trouble;
he will conceal under the cover of his tent;
he will lift me high upon a rock.
6And now my head shall be lifted up
above my enemies all around me,
and I will offer in his tent
sacrifices with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make melody to the LORD.
7Hear, O LORD, when I cry aloud;
be gracious to me and answer me!
8You have said, “Seek my face.”
My heart says to you,
“Your face, LORD, do I seek.”
9 Hide not your face from me.
Turn not your servant away in anger,
O you who have been my help.
Cast me not off; forsake me not,
O God of my salvation!
To Dwell in the House of the Lord
Imagine getting to spend as much time as you wanted in the most beautiful place on earth. And furthermore, imagine getting to ask God any question that comes to mind and hearing His answers. What would be your first question? What would be your hundredth?
In verse 4, David says that he wants to be in the house of the Lord. He wants this so much that he is emboldened to ask God to dwell there. And he keeps pursuing it. He wants to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord, and he wants to ask questions in God’s presence.
David’s image of dwelling in the presence of the Lord, gazing on His beauty, and asking questions sounds a bit like what Peter, James, and John experience at Jesus’ transfiguration. Peter even remarks that he wants to build three shelters so that they can stay there for as long as they like. But Peter doesn’t get his wish. And neither does David.
The world before and after verse 4 in Psalm 27 is not a picture of peace, of lingering over the beauty of the Lord, or of leisurely getting to ask any question that comes to mind. David paints a picture in this Psalm of being surrounded by enemies, of whole armies waging war and dwelling right next to Him. David spends so many of his earthly days fighting off enemies that he longs for days of peace and security, hidden from his enemies. He longs for beauty. David wants to have a long enough break from war so that he can build a temple of beauty for God to dwell in. But David never does this.
David never built a house for the Lord to dwell in, but the Lord built a house for David – not a dwelling place of stones and wood but a heritage, a lineage of kings that culminates with the King of Kings, Jesus Himself. Jesus became flesh and dwelt among us for a time. People listened to the beauty of His words and asked Him questions. After Jesus ascended into Heaven, the Holy Spirit was sent to be with us.
We look forward to the day when David and all of us will get what David asks for in Psalm 27, to dwell in the house of the Lord in the new creation for all of our days, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord, and to ask Him all the questions we please in everlasting life. But God’s presence isn’t only for the future. God is truly real and present with us now. We gaze upon His beauty when we read His Word, when we receive His sacraments, and when we spend time loving our neighbors.
- Where do you love to spend time? What is it that draws you to this place? What feelings do you have associated with spending time there?
Dear Jesus, thank You for being our stronghold when enemies surround us. Thank You for dwelling with us, so that we will dwell with You forever. Amen.