What is your favorite thing?
I sang at a wedding. Once. Yes, they are still in recovery. The song was “The Greatest Thing.” It is a lovely tune about God. As sung at that wedding, it had an obvious double meaning. A summary of the words is: “The greatest thing is knowing…loving…serving You.” I think it was in the key of D.
Psalm 27 uncovers David’s heart and his greatest—favorite—“one”—thing. As you read the song, sit for a while with verse 4, “One thing I have asked of the LORD, that I will seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple.”
There is a flow to Psalm 27. Like a mystery book that progresses in intensity, unveiling more and more details and scenarios, David’s song moves steadily toward a fitting commitment. Initially, there is affirmation, “The LORD is my light and my salvation” (v. 1). Right away, David gives attention to God’s personal name, Yahweh—the “LORD.” Your “devotional,” personal time of worship will reap a harvest of joy as you track these ten uses in the psalm and pray the verses around them in light of the use of God’s name. The promises are immeasurable.
David the psalmist often speaks of his enemies (vss. 2-3). Our affirmations of belief and faith are tested, too. The world is not a friendly place; it isn’t home. We travel lightly in anticipation of our ultimate move. In the flow of inspired words here, David has moved from confession of his (our) troublesome circumstances to longing—longing for release and a better, ultimate place of safety and security (vss. 4-11). Do you ever talk to God in this way?
Back to verse 4 for a minute. The verse is not fantasy or escape from our purpose and mission while earthbound. It is the beating heart of followers of Christ to soon live in the presence of Christ (Philippians 1:21), to worship God, to gaze upon God in all His beauty (glory), and “to inquire” (NAS). There will be answers given to the unanswered questions we have. “…Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known” (1 Corinthians 13:12, NIV).
David then moves from verses 4-10 to devotion in verse 11, “Lead me on a level path”—the “narrow road” the New Testament would say. To walk with Christ and on his righteous, wise, holy road is our delight. And, there is promise (vss. 12-13) and expectation as we wait (v. 14). No doubt, waiting is the hardest part of longing.
Have you floated down a nearby river, shooting the rapids, going where the flow takes you? Following Christ is like that—thrilling, scary, risky, and peaceful all at once. David knew.
I invite you to join David and to plunge into the river called Psalm 27.