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…
I. THE OBJECT OF DAVID'S DESIRE WAS to "dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of his life." God's house was, to David, the tabernacle, to Solomon, the temple, to any one, whatever spot is consecrated by God's special presence. A statelier pile was never reared for God to dwell in than that which crested the holy height of Moriah, and yet bow truly exclaimed the pious monarch in his dedication prayer, "Will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold the heaven, and heaven of heavens cannot contain Thee, how much less this house that I have builded?" The lofty soul of Isaiah thus sympathetically responds to this grand organ swell, "Thus saith the Lord, The heaven is My throne, and the earth is My footstool: where is the house that ye build unto Me?" (Isaiah 66:1, 2; Isaiah 57:15). Yet He inhabits also the contrite heart. He whom not even eternity can bound, who, on the contrary, calls eternity in every sense His own. can make a house of the contrite heart as well as of the heaven of heavens. How marvellous the condescension! And yet not so marvellous after all; for the heart of the contrite sinner, even in its wreck and ruin, is a grander thing than the mere place called heaven. An ancient sage grandly observed, "On earth there is nothing great but man; and in man there is nothing great but mind." David found God everywhere, but none the less did he love God's holy hill of Zion. And let the like love for our own sanctuary characterize us. To dwell here is to be in sympathy with all that is here that is spiritual and good. To all this one thing is essential. If we would "dwell in God's house," we must first "dwell in God." To be at home in His house, we must be at home with Himself. We must meet God in peace and love over the Great Sacrifice. The prodigal must return; the enemy must be reconciled. Then, like holy men of old, you will feel, "It is good for us to be here" — good to linger where Christ is, and where heaven and earth, Old Testament and New, conspire to give Him glory.
II. ITS CHARACTER. This desire of David was intense: "One thing," says he, "have I desired." Oh how impressive these "one things" of the Bible I Martha was cumbered about many things, but "one thing was needful." The rich young moralist had much, but "one thing he lacked." Paul had scope and faculty for varied action, but, as if gathering himself up into a thunderbolt, he said, "One thing I do." And such a desire could not stop short of being also a practical desire: what he desired as a "one thing," and desired "of the Lord," that, we are prepared to hear him add, "will I seek after." For our particular sanctuary many a desire has gone forth, many a prayer, many an effort. Then, all the more continue to pray and strive, and strive and pray, "that the word of the Lord may have free course and be glorified" in it.
III. ITS END — "to behold the beauty," etc. — to see, and to go on inquiring that he might yet further see, the beauty of the Lord — His moral glory, which rays forth in brightest splendour from the face of Jesus Christ. Whoever you are, whatever you need, behold the love of God, His beauty, in Christ, and come unto Him and live.
( T. Guthrie, D. D,)
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.