We Want God (Psalm 27:4) - Radical
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We Want God (Psalm 27:4)

“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.”
– Psalm 27:4

This verse is so powerful and convicting. One thing I’ve asked of the Lord that I will seek after, one thing. You know, sometimes when my family is sitting around the dinner table, we’re sitting around with our four kids, they’re 12, 10, seven and five years old, and we’ll play kind of just conversation games where okay, if you had one wish, what would you ask for? And so that’s kind of what I’ve got on my mind when I read the beginning of Psalm 27:4, one thing I’ve asked the Lord, that I will seek after. So if you could have anything, if you could ask for one thing, what would you ask for?

Do we primarily see God as useful? Or do we primarily see God as beautiful? We must come to God to get God.

Psalm 27:4 Calls Us to Dwell in the House of the Lord

Think about that in your life, what would you ask for? One thing. And I think for many of us, if we were really honest, what comes to our mind is yes, something, some gift that God might give, some way that He might provide. Something that He might do. It might be in our lives, it might be in somebody else’s life. So what one thing would you ask for? And what I love about Psalm 27:4 is that what he asks for is just to be with God.

One thing I ask for, this is the one thing I seek after. I just want to dwell in the house of my Lord all the days of my life. To gaze upon His beauty, that’s what I want more than anything. And where I’m really convicted is, if there’s any inclination in me, if I was going to ask for one thing, to ask for this gift or this provision or God to do this or that in a certain way, then I think what I’m showing is that what I really want is something besides God.

This Verse Calls Us to Look to God as the Ultimate End

I want Him to do this or that, I want Him to provide this or that, and in the process, God is becoming a means to an end, which is not the way our hearts are supposed to be. Our hearts are supposed to look to God, not as a means to an end, but God as the end. He’s the one we want. He’s the one we need. This is the danger of the so-called prosperity gospel that’s being sold all over the world, like come to God and you can get health, come to God, put your faith in God and you can get wealth, come to God and you can get prosperity. It misses the whole point. You come to God to get God. He’s the one we want. He’s the one we need.

Psalm 27:4 Defines Ultimate Fulfillment 

But even those who would not claim the so-called prosperity gospel, we’re still tempted to see God as useful for all these things we really want. I guess the question we need to ask is do we primarily see God as useful or do we primarily see God as beautiful? Do you primarily see God as useful in your life for all these other things you want? Or I want? Or do you and I see God primarily as beautiful, like if you were to ask just one thing we want, our answer would be we just want to be with God.

We want to gaze upon His beauty. Not as a means to some other end, but as the end. We just want God. And this is what our hearts are designed for. This is what we’re created for. This is where we are intended, designed, created to find ultimate fulfillment. Not in gifts from God, not in provision from God in this way or that way, but in God, period.

Psalm 27:4 is a Reminder to Seek After the Lord

That’s why Heaven, Revelation 22:4, here’s the picture, we will be with God, we will see His face. Revelation 21, God will be with us. So we pray God, make that our heart’s desire, not that God make yourself our heart’s solitary desire. Oh, God, we pray that. Make yourself our heart’s solitary desire. I love you, with all our heart and all our soul and all our mind and all our strength, oh God, forgive us for the ways our hearts get divided.

Forgive us for the ways we without knowing it, in a sense we just look to you as a means to an end, we want to use You to get this or that when this or that will never satisfy us. Even the greatest things we might ask for will never satisfy us. You alone can satisfy us. So we ask, God help us to gaze upon your beauty and to find the depth of fulfillment You’ve designed for our hearts in You alone.

God, make us a people who find you beautiful, more than we find you useful. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

David Platt serves as a pastor in metro Washington, D.C. He is the founder of Radical.

David received his Ph.D. from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and is the author of Don’t Hold Back, Radical, Follow MeCounter CultureSomething Needs to ChangeBefore You Vote, as well as the multiple volumes of the Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary series.

Along with his wife and children, he lives in the Washington, D.C. metro area.


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