One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life…
This is the singular disclosure, the private feeling of a great man full of power: but Scripture teaches us in this way, not only by laws but by lives as well; and while its rules speak very clearly, its examples are more forcible still. The grace of the Holy Spirit offers us to-day to ascertain from David the inclination Christians ought to have for the services of the Church. Every one of us has a bias, an habitual motive, a master impulse, which, as other influences weaken, makes itself felt. To know what this is, is to know the key to the character, and the clue to the conduct. David's impulse is a good one: he tells us his secret: it is an inclination to religion — the best bias in the world. He did not want, like some, to have the wings of a dove, and fly into the holy sanctuary, away from the duties of life which lay before him, and to choose some new set of duties for himself. His part was given him by the will of God: it was to serve his generation in active life. To have left this for the pleasures of uninterrupted religious worship would have been to abandon duty for inclination. The services of the Church are not the only duty of Christians in the world; but they are the one duty which prepares us to do our other duties well. David's wish was, that he might feel so much interest in religion, and have such an assurance of God's presence in the Church, as always to take pleasure in going there, always to profit while he was there, and always to bring so much good away with him that, though his body might be absent from the temple, his heart might still remain in it, and the memory of its services might be his spiritual food. We are convinced by experience that the necessary business of life tends to drive religion out of our heads, even if it does not drive it out of our hearts. We are quite annoyed when we find ourselves out, and can see how some little matters of only passing interest have made us quite forget for a time the presence of God. We do not wish to be ungrateful or worldly. This will not do, we think. We must try again to be more spiritual. This will grow by practice (1 Corinthians 15:46). There is comfort in this, that by trying we shall be improved, and that it is by gradual and imperceptible training we hope some day to be able to say with all our hearts, "One thing have I desired of the Lord, and that will I seek after; that I may remember my Church constantly, and live in the presence of God." It is a good beginning to have a clear object in view: "One thing have I desired." And it is better still, after having clearly fixed on one's object, to steadily pursue it: "that will I seek after." If we walk uprightly, and speak uprightly; if we despise the gain of oppression, and shut our eyes from seeing evil; then thy heart shall crave for the rest of the blessed, thy mind shall company with the saints in glory, thy loving ear shall catch the echoes of their song, and (Isaiah 33:17). This was the final object of David's desire: this the end of his search. This was why he would inquire and dwell in the temple, that there, in heaven's rest, in all the days of heaven's life, he might behold the beauty of the Lord.
(T. F. Crosse, D. C. L.)
Parallel VersesKJV: One thing have I desired 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 behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in his temple.