If you could ask God for one thing, what would it be? Our imagination might run wild with the possibilities; from curing cancer to material prosperity we immediately turn to the pragmatic. Biblically, we might think of Solomon, to whom God grants a single desire (1 Kings 3:5-6). In that moment, the young king asked for wisdom and God was so pleased with this request that he granted him riches as well.
But what if his father was asked this same question? What would David ask for? Fortunately, we don’t have to guess, because he tells us in Psalm 27:
“The Lord is my light and my salvation;
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life;
of whom shall I be afraid?
When evildoers assail me
to eat up my flesh,
my adversaries and foes,
it is they who stumble and fall.
Though an army encamp against me,
my heart shall not fear;
though war arise against me,
yet I will be confident.
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.” (1-4)
This was the single request of David: that he would be with God and gaze on his beauty forever. Incredible. This is the heart of a man who God loves. This is what it looks like when someone genuinely hungers and thirsts for righteousness: they want the Lord more than anything. Nothing is more desirable to David than the beauty of God’s face—he seeks it at the expense of everything else.
“You have said, ‘Seek my face.’
My heart says to you,
‘Your face, Lord, do I seek.’” (v. 8)
Yet, this doesn’t mean that David loses something in the pursuit, rather he gains his hearts greatest desire and more: a fearless, confident lifestyle (2); shelter and protection (5); victory (6a); happiness (6b). When we make God our everything, in the end we lose nothing. Yet, because of our doubt and fear, we become distracted, pursuing other elements of this life in hope that they will fulfill our desire. In reality, the only one who can fill the hole in our heart is the one who made it.
Here is the beauty of this entire Psalm: God wants to be pursued. He speaks to each of us, inviting us into the journey: “Seek my face.” We stumble and fall as we run after this invaluable treasure, but if we continue our pursuit despite the many distractions, we will discover the Lord who is “our light and salvation” (v. 1).