Psalm 27 (One Thing)

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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. (Psalm 27:4)

Psalm 27 is one of those many places in Scripture that bring us priceless clarity about our lives.

The psalm is like an old friend who firmly places his hands on our shoulders, looks us in the eyes, and reminds us about what really matters. Life slows down. The noise grows faint. The distractions are drowned out by what we most need to know.

Look, our friend says, this is truth. This is your one desire. This is your hope.


God is your light and your salvation. He is the stronghold of your life, and therefore, you have nothing to fear. Your enemies, even if they are an army or an entire war waged against you, will not stand. In fact, in the midst of the turmoil, when your seething adversary is making his assault on your soul, you can be confident. Not just okay; not just getting by; but confident. Your heart can be firm.

God is your light, and he will show you the way. He will lead you in his paths. God is your salvation, and he will rescue you from destruction. He will lift you high upon a rock.

God is your stronghold, and though everything else around you falters, he has hemmed you in. He has established your feet. The raging floodwaters may rise. A tsunami of affliction may build in the distance. But his hold of your heart is unshakable, and the most intimidating of waves is a mere splash compared to his power. He has you. He’s holding you.

Your Desire

This is your one desire. You want God. He is your Supreme Good — the unparalleled object of your soul’s deepest longings. And so you ask him for him. You seek him. To be near him. To gaze upon his beauty. To worship at his feet. That is it. All other goods, good as they truly are, are about this one, great, matchless Good. You want them because you want him, and because their goodness makes us wonder, as C. S. Lewis puts it, “What must be the quality of that Being whose far-off and momentary [flashes] are like this!” God is that one thing above all other things. He is our chief pursuit, and all other things we seek are for his sake.

Your Hope

This is your hope. You will look upon the goodness of God in the land of the living. That means you will be raised from the dead with Christ to live in his eternal presence. There is more life to be lived after our lives in this world are over. That is when real life, true life, the fullness of life, just begins. That is when the faint echoes of God’s goodness we’ve known in this world become visible, when our faith becomes sight.

On that day, when we look upon God’s goodness in the resurrection age, the fight will be over. The victory we’ve long tasted but partially enjoyed will invade our lungs in triumph. No more doubt. No more pain. No more struggle. We will see, more clearly than ever, the grace of God, the glory of Jesus, the wonder of his fellowship.

We will know then, most surely, what Psalm 27 tells us now: This is truth. This is our one desire. This is our hope.