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.
For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle and set me high upon a rock. Then my head will be exalted above the enemies who surround me; at his tabernacle will I sacrifice with shouts of joy; I will sing and make music to the LORD.
What is your greatest desire? If you could have one request what would it be?
Moses with the awesome responsibility of leading the people of Israel to the Promise Land prayed this to God.
If your presence does not go with us do not send us up from here. Exodus 33.15
Solomon, I response to God’s invitation ‘Ask for whatever you want me to give you? 1 Kings 3.5 asked for ‘a discerning heart to govern God’s people and to distinguish between right and wrong’
David wanted above all to dwell in God’s presence.
These three all wanted, above all else, to be in the presence of God and to know God with them. Being just men, they inevitably failed in many ways but they had a right focus namely that God would be at the centre of their lives.
Why was this? In the case of David in this psalm, which is the focus of our attention again today, he was so awed by the ‘beauty of the LORD’ that he wanted to ‘gaze’ upon it aware that in the presence of God he was safe, sheltered, firmly established on the rock and ultimately victorious over his enemies, causing willing sacrifice, shouts of joy and song.
There is surely a sense that we, today, living post the cross, have even more reason than David for desiring to be in the presence of our Saviour; to appreciate what he has done for us; to give him first place in our lives and to acknowledge that without him we are helpless and hopeless.
Clearly although this was David’s desire, his life as shepherd; anointed king; fugitive, ruler of God’s people; adulterer and murderer; head of a divided family facing rebellion from his son, Absalom and many other issues, often failed to live up to his desire to be always in God’s presence. But his focus was right and because of this he knew the blessing of God in spite of failure.
Are we so enraptured with our God, our Saviour, that we long to be in his presence? There are so many things that will divert us from that goal but let us be sure that it is there and that it is the chief focus of our lives.
Even when we fail to achieve such a great desire we may rest on God’s grace and mercy for:
As a father has compassion on his children so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust. Psalm 104.14
That truth should encourage us to desire what David desired, to be constantly in the presence of such a God.