# 112 A journey through the Psalms. Psalm 27 The essence of worship.

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If I was able to write intimate poetry to my wife then maybe I would write something like:

“Here’s the one thing I desire, my beloved,
the one thing I seek above all else:
I want the privilege of living with you every moment in our house,
finding the sweet loveliness of your face,
filled with awe, delighting in your glory and grace.
I want to live my life so close to you
that you take pleasure in my every conversation.”

Well, now I have to admit that originally these (modified) words were NOT written by a husband to his beloved wife, but were written by David (in Psalm 27) to God. Such was the intimacy of his relationship with God. And such is the intimacy available to us today in our relationship with God, through Christ.

Read slowly the following words of David to God and ask if you could speak like this concerning your heart’s desires towards your Heavenly Father. And if not, then ask yourself, why not?

Here’s the one thing I crave from God,
the one thing I seek above all else:
I want the privilege of living with him every moment in his house,
finding the sweet loveliness of his face,
filled with awe, delighting in his glory and grace.
I want to live my life so close to him
that he takes pleasure in my every prayer.
    In his shelter in the day of trouble, that’s where you’ll find me,
for he hides me there in his holiness.
He has smuggled me into his secret place,
where I’m kept safe and secure—
out of reach from all my enemies.
    Triumphant now, I’ll bring him my offerings of praise,
singing and shouting with ecstatic joy!
Yes, listen and you can hear
the fanfare of my shouts of praise to the Lord
!    (Psalm 27:4-6 The Passion Translation)

We read here that David’s desire is twofold.

to gaze on the beauty of the Lord
and to seek him in his temple.  (verse 4 NIV)

Wilcock says, “to know ever more intimately the beauty of the Lord’s Person and the wonder of his will… [these combine] as the one thing he wants above all others.” (see references # 5)

Kidner suggests that such a desire is “the essence of worship; indeed, of discipleship.” (see references # 29)

And Blaiklock adds that “Seeking the face of God” (verse 8), “realizing his presence, is the first movement of prayer.” (see references # 37)

Sadly, it is just too easy to get caught up in the busyness of life, including in serving the Lord, and somehow forget why we are here and why we are doing what we are doing. When this happens, we need to remind ourselves of the words of Jesus to the church in Ephesus:

I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance… You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first.  (Revelation 2:2-4)

I guess it happens a bit too often that a husband (or a wife) is just too busy for what really matters in life in the midst of earning a living, gaining promotions, climbing the corporate ladder, (caring for the family) or even serving in full time Christian ministry. All this resulting in neglecting key relationships with spouse and/or children.

It seems, that, in their relationship with God, this is what was happening in the church in Ephesus in the 1st Century AD. Despite all their hard work and endured hardships, somehow they had let slip the most important part of what Christianity is all about – love for God and one another. About seeking above all else “the beauty of the Lord’s Person and the wonder of his will”. About “true worship…[and] real discipleship”. And about confident “prayer” to the Father.

The solution given to this group of believers remains the same for all people in the same situation ever since:

Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first.  (Rev. 2:5)

Maybe Paul was conscious that this could happen when earlier he wrote to the church in Ephesus with the words:

 I pray that out of [the Father’s] glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.                (Ephesians 3:16-19)

On the other hand, maybe when you read the words of David in this Psalm, it really resonated with you and the desires of your heart. And you, like the Apostle Paul could say,  

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. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.  I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.     (Philippians 3: 7-11)

And so, in this psalm, David recognizes that in loving and seeking God for who he is, not only is it why we are here anyway, but it is the only really sensible thing to do in life. Where else will he find a shelter in the day of trouble as God hides [him] there in his holiness? Then he continues, He has smuggled me into his secret place, where I’m kept safe and secure—  out of reach from all my enemies. (27:5)

No wonder he then exclaims:

    Triumphant now, I’ll bring him my offerings of praise,
singing and shouting with ecstatic joy!
Yes, listen and you can hear
the fanfare of my shouts of praise to the Lord
!    (27:6)

Father, the psalms challenge me where it really matters – in my relationship with you. Too often my prayers are mechanical, full of religious words but lacking true devotion to you. Teach me to ‘seek your face’, to examine my heart and allow myself to embrace the wonder of who you are, grasping, even a little, the depths, the width, the length, the height of your great love. Amen.

 

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