Psalm 27: The One and Only “One Thing”

Praying the Psalms

“One thing I have asked from the LORD, that I shall seek:
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.”
(Psalm 27:4)

It’s curious – or is it? – that this “one thing” Davids asks is actually a trinity of things.

To dwell.
To behold.
To inquire.

First, he is both asking and seeking. He is asking God for this, because he knows it must come from Him as a gift. This “thing” belongs properly to God, and so it is His to give. And yet David also seeks it, for the kingdom of God seems to be ordered in this way – that the best things are had by those who will seek for them. The search itself, the way to them, is also part of their intrinsic goodness. They would not be so worthy had we not set our hearts to search them out.

This is the dynamic of prayer. We ask, and He answers – “Seek.” Perhaps the seeking makes clear not only the thing, but the heart behind the thing. We ask for a thing, and God invites us into His Person, there to find ourselves in Him, and every other thing added unto us.

But back to this trinity.

To dwell in the house of the LORD.

Oh, this is His place, His presence. This is His residence. To dwell where He dwells, to live and move and His being. To find our refuge, our shelter, our resting place, our refreshment. To find our home. To find our family and our good Father.

To behold the beauty of the LORD.

As if the first was not enough – this! To come face to face with beauty, not in the abstract, not with a work of art, but with the Artist. To have eyes opened, veil lifted, and not burn up at the glory of Him all. To gaze – and gaze – and see our very Lord Jesus.

To inquire in His temple.

And now, dwelling in a vision of this our God, to have the audacity to inquire. To make the most intimate of conversations. This inquiry is also a meditation. We find the dialogue of prayer is not cut and dry, but a continuous exchange of thought, as deep calls to deep, as the Spirit within us cries out. A question becomes a conversation. Our minds are renewed in the mind of Christ till we begin to see with His eye.


This “one” thing is indeed great. In this threefold action – dwell, behold, inquire – we have a most perfect communion.

He says, “Seek My face,” and in the secret place He bestows a beatific vision. From every angle we are seen, known, and loved.

No wonder the tabernacle is filled with shouts of joy! This one thing, this singular search, ends in a plurality of praise.

“I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the LORD!”




Lindsey Gallant
A northern girl living the island life. Follower of Jesus. Writer, book nerd, nature lover. Homeschool mom and Charlotte Mason enthusiast. Prefers pen and paper.

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