Seek, Gaze, Dwell.
King David was adept at finding and creating trouble. Regardless of his situation, he knew to turn to God for help when he was in over his head. It was his faith that turned his eyes to the Lord, and he begged God to keep his heart and mind pure so that he might glorify God with his life. Like most people, David fell far short of his intentions to live a pleasing life for God, and he lost the privilege of building the temple because of it. Murder and infidelity have a way of interfering with blessing. Even still, David longed to know God with his whole heart.
David wrote Psalm 27 as a song of confidence in the Lord’s delivery from trouble. His ultimate goal was to find himself dwelling in the house of the Lord, gazing at His beauty, and meditating on the precepts of YHWH. The order of actions in this passage appears to be in reverse. While the end desire is dwelling, inquiring and gazing come first.
One thing have I asked of the Lord,
that will I seek ( שָׁאַל;šā’al ) after
The word translated “seek” here is an earnest petition. The repetition implies urgency: I’m asking, I’m begging for this one thing. In the middle of threats, trouble, and war, David focused on one request: He wanted to be in the center of God’s hand.
that I may dwell (יָשַׁב ;yāšaḇ)
in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
To dwell is to remain, stay, or better still, inhabit. It is a belonging to a place and a people of like minds and hearts. It is an invitation to be fully present and included in the dwelling place. But inhabiting a place, being at home in it does not happen all at once. There are steps that precede being fully absorbed into a dwelling. It’s like David said, “This is what I desperately want” and working backward he developed the process of how to get there.
to inquire ( בָּקַר ; bāqar) in his temple
The first step to belonging is seeking out what it means to belong, to ask where a place to dwell in peace and safety might be found. It may be like arriving in a new town without any connections, looking for a place to be where like-minded people already are. The only way to find such a place is to ask for direction. Asking people is one way to…