One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek Him in His temple.
Psalm 27:4 NIV
David knew all about anxiety, with his life and reputation under threat even from those close to him. But he also knew God and His goodness. He knew where to find peace. We are better equipped to practice the presence of God, even in our busy lives — we have the Holy Spirit, the Helper, who will always lead us to finds heaven’s perspective on our situation.
Life is stressful, unpredictable, full of anxiety — any casual conversation will settle into this theme at some point. At a time of objective uncertainties — an epidemic which is still glaring up, no certainty about future protection and no actual cure, economic collapse and no roadmap for recovery — there is plenty to be anxious about. But David, whose life and reputation was continually threatened, had a way of regaining personal security.
David, writing this poem, was concerned with security. He became idolised by Jews as their greatest and most God-fearing king, which is partly why it was so significant that the Messiah was of David’s line.
David, we could say, was Israel’s best king but he had the worst enemies, and some of them were in his own court! Security was important to a man who was constantly under threat of being murdered, physically or verbally.
Security in God’s will
And for David, security was first and foremost about being close to God, in His will and tracking His guidance.
The “one thing” for Him is “dwelling in the house of the Lord”. So how does that translate? Becoming a cathedral verger?
For David, the place of God’s presence was the tabernacle. He didn’t get to build the actual temple — Solomon did. But under the Old Covenant, the sense of place was important. The Samaritan woman took issue with Jesus about which mountain was the place to offer God worship — Mt Gerazim for the Samaritans, Mt Zion for the Jews.
In Christianity it is a quite an extreme ‘high church’ view to see a church building as the place of the presence of God. Those who have come into a personal relationship with God through receiving Jesus have a freedom to experience God through their personal relationship, and their reading of His word. That’s any place, any time, and no need for an intermediary.
We live in the presence and awareness of God through having given our lives to the One who gave His life for us — Jesus.
We can live in the presence of the Lord, to be aware of the beauty of the Lord, and to seek Him by asking the Holy Spirit to be our connection with heaven. And this is our security.
The context of David’s words are full of “the day of trouble” with armies besieging, the wicked advancing, and false witnesses making malicious accusations. There were plenty of people around to give him a rough ride! When we feel insecure, it is that same feeling of being surrounded, of not being in a safe place.
David knew God was for him
But David knew that God was bigger, and he knew that God was for him. He had God’s covenant promises. He knew His call — it had been delayed, opposed, with frequent attempts on his life, before the actual coronation. His security was knowing God in His life and listening to Him, not the rattling spears of his enemies.
We can translate that into our world. Our God is the same faithful God. It’s easier for us to draw close to Him because of Jesus. If we draw near to Him, He draws close to us and reassures us that we a re His.
Perhaps it’s a bit more difficult for us to hear His voice, with all the noise and distractions of life, broadcasts, media, travelling and general busyness — but that is an area we can control. We can create some quiet, give God some space. It is up to us to seek Him, to be living in His presence and seeking the true perspective which the Holy Spirit shows us.
That’s God’s remedy for anxiety, and there’s no kind of lockdown that can keep us from that.
The good news is that we can ask Jesus into our heart and life and make that transition to knowing God personally. We don’t have to find Him in His temple because we ourselves become a temple of the Holy Spirit.
Lord, I feel assaulted by life, and fear and anxieties keep pressing in.
But I come to You in Jesus and I ask You this:
that I might draw close to You,
to know Your presence and gain Your true perspective.
Thank You so much that I have privileged access to You at any time,
and I have Your promises all the time.Remind me again, as I regard Your beauty, Your kindness — and Your wisdom. Amen.
Design a way that works for you, to create some ‘holy space’ when you can talk to God and He can talk to you.
Tell Him about your two or three biggest anxieties right now. Resolve that during the day, you are going to be mindful of what He may be saying to you, or showing you, about them