PART 29 – ONE THING I ASK (MONDAY 10/2/20)
‘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. For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock.’ (Psalm 27:4-5)
One thing…this only
What are you looking for? What do you most need? What will satisfy you? This psalm, written by David, points to what we are all truly looking for. All of our thirst for conquest, greatness, love, beauty, security, status… are, ultimately, a thirst for knowing God through Jesus. When we truly know God, and in this life we will only know in part, our deepest desires are met by Him. Augustine wrote,
“You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.”
This does not mean that when we know Jesus we become passive in regard to research, exploration, love… But, we understand that these things are not our reason for living but are gifts from God and point to the glory of our great Creator and Saviour.
Jesus is the ‘one thing’ that our heart needs. To the extent that we can agree with David in these words, is the extent to which we are truly living in the way that we are designed to live.
That I may dwell in your house
The one thing that David wants is to dwell in the house of the Lord every day. For him this meant to go to the tabernacle (the structure before the temple was built), bringing sacrifices and joining the people in public worship. Sounds quite unspectacular if we fail to see that God dwelt in this structure! His visits were not to an interesting, even inspiring structure; No! his visits were to meet God.
To Gaze on the beauty of the Lord
David, speaking of gazing of God’s beauty is not to be taken as seeing with the physical eyes. God is invisible except on rare occasions. David saw God with the eyes of faith. One of the ways that they, as we, gaze on His beauty is by singing together. The psalms were written to teach, savour and experience the beauty of God. For example, David composed many of the Psalms we have in the bible. Psalm 8 for example, which sings of the beauty of the Lord.
‘Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory in the heavens. Through the praise of children and infants you have established a stronghold against your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger. When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them? You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honour. You made them rulers over the works of your hands; you put everything under their feet: all flocks and herds, and the animals of the wild, the birds in the sky, and the fish in the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas. Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!’ (Psalm 8)
God’s beauty is seen in his majesty, and it is also seen in his mercy. "Who am I", David is singing, "that I should know and be known by such a God!"
If you, like David, could ask for one thing from the Lord, what would it be? World peace, healing, someone to become a Christian…? There are many good and right things to desire that God do for us, but, if we don’t desire, above all things, to know and love Him, we have missed it! Before doing things for God, or Him doing things for you, He wants you to know Him! Paul wrote,
‘But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things.’ (Philippians 3:7-8)
How do you begin your personal devotions and your worship with others? Do you begin with desire and anticipation of meeting God? Do you begin with thanks? Do you express who He is as revealed in scripture? Are we ready to hear His voice? May knowing Him be our ‘one’ - first - thing.
David had a ‘seek first’ approach to life. This week, in our response each day, let’s endeavour to meditate on and memorise Matthew 6:33 (see notes below).
TIPS ON MEMORISING SCRIPTURE
We will only do this, and persevere in doing this, if we believe that it's truly important to hide God's word in our heart. So get faith!
Don't disqualify yourself if it's hard - it is hard!
Write the text somewhere that's easy to find and use - a note on your phone, a post-it on the fridge...
Include the reference (book/chapter/verse) throughout the process
Read it slowly and carefully x 10 (Don't rush or dismiss this accurate repetition)
Recall it, without looking as much as possible x10
Do this a few times through the day - a habit is best formed by doing this at the same times, and places each day.
Revise regularly (and revise previously memorised verses)
Make it a habit to learn new verses - skill comes over time
USE IT! Actively use it to pray, worship, counsel, prophecy, and counter temptation and lies by quoting truth - it’s the sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:17).
TIPS ON BIBLICAL MEDITATION - THE 'COME TO JESUS DAILY METHOD'.
Biblical meditation is to prayerfully read, repeatedly, a section of the bible and pray, worship and respond as God leads. Here are a few tips and questions, what I call the 'come to Jesus daily method', to help you when meditating:
PRAY - Ask for the Spirit to help you and to speak to you. Keep the goal in mind - having a relationship with God!
WRITING- Writing/journaling is often a great help as you answer the questions below. Remember, don't allow worry about spelling, punctuation, grammar, perfection... to stop you from writing - it's between you and God. In meditation, I encourage you to write in the first-person, speaking to God - "I see that you are...I sense you speaking to me about...I pray for...."
GOSPEL- What does God, through this text, say to you about salvation through Jesus?
UP- What does God, through this text, say you about Himself – His worth, character, attributes, will, promises…?
IN- What does God, through this text, say about you, His church and how we are to relate?
OUT- What does God, through this text, say about non-believers and our mission?
RESPONSE – Is there anything else that you want to pray, worship God about, do, ask forgiveness about, ask God to help you to change…?