The one thing I ask of the Lord—the thing I seek most—is to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life….
My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.” And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.” Psalm 27:4, 8 NLT
Although I have read Psalm 27 many times, something struck me in a new way in my most recent reading of it. I thought, “This psalm is about relationship with God.” And it is. The opening words make that clear: “Yahweh is my light and my salvation.” It does not say, “Yahweh gives me light and saves me.” It is not about what he does for me, but who he, in himself, is to me and for me. I think then of Jesus’ words, “I am the way, the truth, the life” (John 14:6). These are all in him; get him, and you get them; don’t get him, and you don’t get them. It’s all about personal relationship.
But I mustn’t seek a relationship with God through Christ in order to get these things. They are all byproducts of the main thing – knowing him! And that’s what we see in this psalm. Does David want deliverance and protection? Of course. Does he look to his God for them? Yes. But look at the underlying theme: I don’t want to live on my own with a little help from God in the rough places. I want to live in his very house. I want to experience his presence. I want to have conversation with him (the NLT rendering of v. 8 captures well the sense of the Hebrew “your face will I seek”).
On the other side of the coin, what would be ultimate loss? It would be for God to turn his face from me, to turn his back on me (v. 9). But that will never happen so long as there breathes in us one desire to be his. “Even if my father and mother abandon me, Yahweh will hold me close” (27:9 NLT). What a thought! To be held in his arms, to gaze into his face, to hear his whisper in our inmost ear. That is salvation.