by Fred G. Zaspel
One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: 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 seek him in his temple (Psalm 27:4).
There is something deeply refreshing about this verse. Here David reveals the most earnest yearnings of his heart. His supreme desire, he says, “this one thing I ask,” is to be caught up with thoughts of God. He wants above all things to be drawn away from himself and his circumstances and to have his attention riveted on the person of God. Nothing for David was more satisfying than this. His heart knew only one object that could bring fulfillment, and that was God.
There is something here that is reminiscent of Augustine’s famous prayer, “Thou has created us for thyself, and our hearts are restless save as they rest in thee.” This is David’s heart exactly. His chief desire was to go the house of God, there to be reminded of his great Lord, and gaze, as it were, on his majestic beauty.
David is in this respect no different from any Christian. Every Christian’s highest satisfaction comes from an increasing acquaintance with God. The knowledge of God is the promised crowning blessing of the new covenant (Jeremiah 31:34), and it is of the very essence of the eternal life we enjoy in Christ (John 17:3). This great glory enjoyed by every Christian — we know God! And we have all found that in our acquaintance with Him we have realized our deepest joy.
I have found this in my own experience, of course, as you have. I have noticed it particularly in the experience of Christians who are suffering or facing difficulty of whatever kind. What they want most at such a time is to be reminded about God — in the words of David, “to gaze upon his beauty.” What we want is to be able to lay hold of some massive truth, something solid and eternal, that will provide a resting place for our mind and heart. And we find it in God alone.
And so, our favorite songs, our favorite sermons, our favorite books, our favorite topics of study and conversation are those that fill and shape our minds with truth about God’s person and work — songs, sermons, and books that bring us to gaze on his beauty, as it were, and adore him just for who and what he is and what he has done.
Anything less than “gazing on the beauty of the Lord” inevitably fails to satisfy the deepest longings of the human heart. Created in God’s image we are content only with an increased understanding of and acquaintance with him.