The Beauty of the Lord

The Beauty of the Lord

Psalm 27


“One thing I have asked from the Lord, that I shall seek:  that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord and to meditate in His temple.”


            As Israel’s king, David would have faced many challenges.  Leading a nation demands complete dedication of time and energy as decisions must be made, dignitaries must be engaged, and pressures of the nation require constant attention.  Along with these, he faced the constant threat of invaders and internal plots to overthrow him. In this Psalm 27, we see David give us clues about the many challenges he faced as a king. He mentions evildoers who seek to devour him (vs. 2), the threat of war (vs. 3), days of trouble (vs. 5), and the perils of enemies (vs. 6).  Even his own family has forsaken him (vs. 10), and people have spread lies about him to discredit and dethrone him (vs. 12).  It would have been easy for David to allow fear to grip and paralyze his soul. It would have been easy for these things to be the center of his prayers. 

            When David came into the temple, his one request was not for deliverance from these trials.  Instead, his request was that he might be allowed to dwell in the temple and worship the beauty of the Lord.  This is what gave him hope.  His confidence did not come from the strength of his armies or his political maneuverings; it was found in the person of God and the worship of him.  For David, security was grounded in his relationship with God. 

            The requests we make in our prayers reveal what we desire and value. We bring many requests to God.  We pray for our health and the health of our loved ones and deliverance from adversity and troubles so that we might enjoy life. Indeed, there is nothing wrong with asking for these things.  God invites us to bring all our concerns to him in prayer. However, David points to a more excellent prayer request.  David’s greatest desire was to “behold the beauty of the Lord and to meditate in his temple.” The greatest prayer we can pray is for God to reveal himself to us so that we might find our delight in him.    

            For David, the search for God and the celebration of him is grounded in God’s law.  to delight in God and meditate upon him is interwoven with our delight in his law and meditation on his word.   In Psalm 1, we read that the one whom God genuinely blesses meditates day and night upon the law.  As we saw yesterday, the Bible is more than just a story of our salvation; it is the avenue by which we know God. If we delight in God, then we will delight in the study of his word, for it is the revelation of God. This delight brought David to the temple and the worship of God’s people. The temple was not just the place where God was present; it was the place where the people gathered to worship as a nation in mutual celebration of God.  For David, the praise of God was a communal activity in the presence of God’s people (see Psalm 149:5-9).  If we love God, we will also love being with his people, joining together in the anthem of praise. 

            What is your greatest desire in life?  If you could ask God for one thing, what would it be?  For David, the answer was easy, “To dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord.”  That is a prayer worth praying and one God delights in answering. 



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