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 the wicked advance against me
to devour me,
it is my enemies and my foes
who will stumble and fall.
Though an army besiege me,
my heart will not fear;
though war break out against me,
even then I will be confident.
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.
Then my head will be exalted
above the enemies who surround me;
at his sacred tent I will sacrifice with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make music to the LORD.
Hear my voice when I call, LORD;
be merciful to me and answer me.
My heart says of you, “Seek his face! ”
Your face, LORD, I will seek.
Do not hide your face from me,
do not turn your servant away in anger;
you have been my helper.
Do not reject me or forsake me,
God my Savior.
Though my father and mother forsake me,
the LORD will receive me.
Teach me your way, LORD;
lead me in a straight path
because of my oppressors.
Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes,
for false witnesses rise up against me,
spouting malicious accusations.
I remain confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the LORD
in the land of the living.
Wait for the LORD;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the LORD.
David makes a plaintive plea in this psalm when he says very poignantly: One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord forever (Psalm 27:4).
There are about fifteen times that the phrase "one thing" appears in Scripture. Four instances stand out, apart from David's prayer that we just heard.
One is when Jesus was invited to dinner by his close friends Mary and Martha. While Martha busied herself in the kitchen, preparing supper, Mary sat at Jesus' feet, listening to him. A little annoyed that her sister was not helping her, Martha asked Jesus: "Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me alone to do the serving? Tell her to help me." The Lord said to her in reply, "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her" (Luke 10:41-42).
And what is that one thing? To sit at the feet of Jesus and listen to him; to sit at the feet of Jesus and love him; to sit at the feet of Jesus and be loved by him. Of course, we need to serve him like Martha did, but service comes after relationship. A servant needs to know the master to serve him well, yes?
A second instance is when a rich young man went to Jesus, claiming to be righteous but unwilling to give Jesus the one thing he asked for: himself. Jesus looked at him and loved him. "One thing you lack," he said. "Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." (Mark 10:21).
Then there was a man who was born blind. After Jesus heals him, the religious leaders interrogate him, accusing Jesus of being a sinner. Refusing to get intimidated by them, he tells his story, which is simple. He replied, "Whether he is a sinner or not, I don't know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!" (John 9:25).
And then there was Paul, who walked the narrow path that leads to life. It wasn't an easy path, as we all know too well, and he sometimes fell as we do. However, he never lost sight of the heavenly goal. He declared: "Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 3:13-14).
For something a little different today, here is a song I wrote titled "One Thing." I hope you like it. https://youtu.be/HhZd4Ac7JOU
God be with you.