“One thing have I asked 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 gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple” (Psalm 27:4).
If you’ve ever seen The Wizard of Oz, you’ll remember the famous scene where Dorothy was able to magically go home by tapping her ruby slippers together and said, “There’s no place like home.” She had been trapped in the land of Oz and experienced so much trouble there that all she wanted was to be home. Home is meant to be a place of safety, a place where you can get away from all the problems of your life. Even if your home is not this way, you want it to be. All of us desire to have a home where we can rest, feel safe and be ourselves.
When David wrote Psalm 27, he didn’t have a home because he was constantly on the run from people who were trying to end his life. David often wrote Psalms about people who wanted him dead, the friends who had betrayed him and countless other tragedies that he encountered. We would expect that the thing David would most pray for, seek after and strive for would be to stay alive. However, David’s concern isn’t just to live longer, but to live in the presence of God. David writes that there is “one thing” he is seeking: to “dwell in the house of the Lord,” which is to find his home in God’s presence.
God’s presence is found through faith, and faith overcomes fear.
David found confidence and overcame the fear of death only because he lived in God’s presence. He believed that even in the worst of circumstances, he was safe. He says, “Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear. . .” (v. 3). But it’s not his own ability or any circumstance that gives him this assurance. It’s not even the stability of his earthly home that causes him to feel safe because he writes that though “. . . my father and my mother have forsaken. . . the Lord will take me in” (v. 10). David found everything he needed in the presence of God, and that gave him security and confidence to live life without fear.
How can we dwell in God’s presence here on earth? First, we can only be in God’s presence through faith, and faith comes from God’s word (Romans 10:17). David writes that he wants to “gaze upon the beauty of the Lord,” and this is something that can be done by reading, thinking and meditating on what God has spoken to us. God has communicated to us about Himself through Scripture, so spending time in the Bible allows us to be in the presence of God. So we should dwell in it, make our home there and find rest.
Secondly, we find God’s presence when we pray. Brother Lawrence, a monk who wrote the famous book The Practice of the Presence of God, said this, “There is not in the world a kind of life more sweet and delightful, than that of a continual conversation with God; those only can comprehend it who practice and experience it.” When we pray, we are seeking God’s will and speaking to Him with words of praise, adoration or requests. Just as a child can go to a loving father and speak to him about anything, we can go to God.
Lastly, we can find God’s presence when we are with His people. In the Old Testament, the temple represented the place where God dwelt on earth. In the New Testament, God tells us that we are His temple. 1 Corinthians 3:16 says,
“Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?”
Instead of God’s presence being in a specific place, it is now in His people. This means that we can seek God in prayer and Scripture reading because He dwells in us. It also means that we can experience God through other people. As we come together, hearing God’s Word and exercising our spiritual gifts, we sense God’s presence. In loving, serving and being served by God’s people, we see God working in our midst. Many Christians still feel lost, afraid, insecure and powerless because they have not allowed themselves to experience the family of the church. For many, this is the missing piece of their Christian life. It’s in the church that you’ll receive accountability and mutual encouragement as we struggle through life together. The more time we spend with God’s people, in God’s Word and in prayer, the more we will experience God’s presence in our lives. And when we fully enter into His presence, we’ll find that it’s home.
Search the Scriptures:
- Psalm 23:4-6
- Hebrews 10:24-25
- 2 Timothy 3:16-17
- 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Questions to Consider:
- Do you have this sense of “longing for home”? Would you say that you are seeking to fulfill this longing in Christ or in something else?
- Why do people often struggle with fear? How have you dealt with it in the past?
- Have you generally viewed people at church as a family or have you had difficulty with this? How can you work on seeing people in the church as part of your family?