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…
Here is a man whose life has reached its uttermost simplicity, his longings are reduced to one. The whole force of his being is concentrated upon a single aim. "One thing have I desired, that will I seek after." I do not suppose he had been able to say this always; there was a time when, if he spoke his heart, he said, "Many things I desire." All of us have gone through that, some of us are going through it still. The child is possessed by what Wordsworth called "chance desires." Every shop window is crowded with objects of desire; he wants so many of the sweet and pretty things, that it is cruelty to ask him to say which. There is another stage. The same great poet sings, "He became the slave of low desires." Many a man is set on things which cannot be called base, but they are low; they are natural and pleasant, but there is nothing exalted or exalting about them; if they do not degrade, they do not elevate. Many such things have we desired. We cannot help the fact that we start low, but we sin if we finish there. This man had passed through both these stages of experience. There came a moment when a new desire was borne into his life and leaped like fire upon the other longings there, and caught them up into itself. "One thing have I desired; that will I seek after." And this experience is not so singular as may appear. Life is a process of simplification; the many things that we desire in youth dwindle, or rather coalesce into one dominant desire, just as the many streamlets of the hills all join the river in the vale. Every man down at the core of him desires one thing. The difference between them is in the thing which they desire. This man has told us what it was he had at heart when he exclaimed, "One thing have I desired." It was to dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of his life, to observe His beauty, and to inquire in His temple. Translated into modern speech that means, "The one thing for which I long above all others is to be true and noble, and like God; I want to be the best that God can make me, I pant to attain the highest that is possible for me. That is the passion of my soul for which I live, and pray, and toil each day and all day long."
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.