Psalm 27:4 - The Verses Project

Bible Psalm 27:4

Posted August 18, 2014

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.

Last week we looked at Psalm 27:1-3 where David declared God to be his light, salvation, and stronghold in the midst of great hardship. As we continue on into this chapter, we get insight into David’s prayer life. One could only imagine the list of things that David needed, and yet here he intriguingly asks for one thing. Not the destruction of his enemies, not for justice; he asks God for God. This singular request comes to us by means of 2 clusters of 5 verbs (2 in one, 3 in the other).

Ask & Seek

David’s prayer life consisted both of asking and seeking. David was honest in his asking; his prayers were filled with desire (“one thing have I desired…”). His desire wasn’t haphazard and whimsical, but rather had a direction: namely God Himself (… of the Lord…). Like David, may our prayers be filled with desire, but a desire for God that leads us to ask of Him and seek Him. Prayer is never a passive thing for the Christian. To ask something of God is not to merely seek out an answer, but rather to seek out God Himself. Prayer is a pursuit of relationship with the God of the universe.

Dwell, Gaze, Inquire

This “one thing” that David desires works itself out in three similar verbs: to dwell, gaze, & inquire.

To dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life - The house of the Lord (or tabernacle or tent or temple) represented closeness to God, communion with Him. David did not want to just stop by the temple to take a quick tour of the facility, but rather set up residency there. It was at the temple that the God of Israel made Himself known and His people drew near to Him. David wanted to not just be there for a season, but for all the days of his life. This wasn’t a seasonal hype for David, but a lifelong pursuit. Though away from the temple, David longed to be near the house of the Lord that he might be near to God Himself, which leads us to the next verb.

To gaze upon the beauty of the Lord - In Psalm 34, David calls us to “taste and see” that the Lord is good. Here David desires to gaze on God’s beauty; he saw God as beautiful and lovely and right. Oh that we would recover a sense of God’s beauty in worship, that we would think of Him as lovely and desirable. Spurgeon commented on this, “We must not enter the assemblies of the saints in order to see and be seen, or merely to hear the minister; we must repair to the gatherings of the righteous, intent upon the gracious object of learning more of the loving Father, more of the glorified Jesus, more of the mysterious Spirit, in order that we may the more lovingly admire, and the more reverently adore our glorious God. What a word is that, "the beauty of the Lord!" Think of it, dear reader! Better far—behold it by faith! What a sight will that be when every faithful follower of Jesus shall behold "the King in his beauty!" Oh, for that infinitely blessed vision!”

To inquire in his temple - Some translations say, “to meditate in his temple.” This truth presupposes a living God who desires relationship with His people, not a dead or distant deity. God desires make Himself known. As we seek Him out in Scripture and prayer and in the gathering of His church, may we be expectant that God will reveal Himself to us!

May David’s prayer become the prayer we pray. God, we want You more than “stuff” and “things”. Give us Yourself! You are our truest home & dwelling place. You are true beauty. You are the One we think on and ask of and desire to know more and more.


Song by Joel Limpic & Aaron Strumpel.
Artwork by Jonathan Lindsey.