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…
In this psalm we have shown us David's comfort. It was altogether in the Lord, and in his faith that God would destroy his cruel enemies. Hence he had great courage (ver. 3). And now in the text we come to his chief care and concern: "One thing have I desired," etc.
I. CONSIDER THIS GENERALLY.
1. By "one thing" he means that this was the chief and principal thing. There are differences in things, but this includes all. And God requires this supreme regard from us, for so only will the soul be in earnest, and this which David desired is the chief thing for the soul's good.
2. The affection itself, in its degrees. He desired this "one thing," and he would still "seek after it." Desires are the aims of the heart, and determine its character. This was a spiritual desire, stirred up by the Spirit of God. We may test our being really Christians by our desires. If we be such, then they will be spiritual, fervent, constant, springing from the love of God, tending to His honour, and leading us to diligent use of means, and greater than any earthly desire.
3. Its object. Of the Lord he desired this "one thing." When we have holy desires, turn them into prayers.
4. Its earnestness. "That will I seek after." Prayer must be with importunity.
1. "That I may dwell in the house," etc. By this David meant the sanctuary, the type of the Church, the true house of God on earth. For there God is present. Now here David would ever dwell, because so he would dwell in God's love and care; and in love to and for Him; and all this continually. His present attainment in good things does not satisfy him; he yet is hindered by much inward corruption: there is yet far more to be realized, and where God is present all good must be.
2. "To behold the beauty of the Lord." God is beautiful. This seen in His house, for there we see His grace and love in Jesus Christ our Lord. And the house of God is beautiful also because the angels are present there: and because of the order of the Church, and the means of salvation — prayer, the Word, the Sacraments — which .are there. And the praises of God are delightful. How evil, then, the condition of those who care not for the house of God. Seek after spiritual senses, whereby you can apprehend this "beauty of the Lord." If as yet you fail to behold it, writ still on the ordinances, come to them in believing prayer: meditate much upon them. To induce us to seek this love for the house of God, let us remember that so only can true glory rest upon us: that our souls were made to behold the glory of God, and that disregard of His ordinances will cause God to depart from us. If we do not prize heavenly things we shall not be allowed to keep them.
( Sibbes, Richard.)
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.