One thing I ask (Psalm 27)

I love these words from Psalm 27

“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[c] in his temple.”[1]

They stick in my head but it is important to not miss the context.  David is not simply singing about enjoying worship in the temple. The context is this:

The Lord is my light and my salvation;
    whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold[a] of my life;
    of whom shall I be afraid?

When evildoers assail me
    to eat up my flesh,
my adversaries and foes,
    it is they who stumble and fall.

Though an army encamp against me,
    my heart shall not fear;
though war arise against me,
    yet[b] I will be confident.[2]

I remember being chased by the bullies who used to torment me at school and running into the newsagents on the estate where the owner allowed me to wait until the gang had got bored of waiting and went home.  I suspect that doing so may well have made them a target for abuse and vandalism too, especially as Asian owners of a shop already at risk or racism. 

This is the point of David wanting to be in God’s house. He says that it is here, not in his palace, not in the stronghold but in the house of God, The Tabernacle that he will find safety, solace and protection.  David trusts in the God who is strong and great, the God who is mighty to save.  He knows that he will find refuge in him.

How does God protect us from our enemies and take away our fear? Well, we know that the risk of physical harm from abusers, bullies and persecutors will not go away, nor the emotional pain of being subject to taunts, nor the impact on our reputations of being falsely accused. 

However, what we do know is this.  If the aim of an attack (and this is what our ultimate enemy seeks ) is to break our relationship with God and to destroy our identity then we do not have to fear that. We trust in the one who holds us safe in the palm of his hand. Our lives are hid in Christ meaning that our new identity, our new name, our status as ransomed, healed, restored, justified is secure.

Therefore, the safest place to be is clinging to Christ, finding our home with him.


[1] Psalm 27:4.

[2] Psalm 27:1-3.

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