MAY 8 – THE BEAUTY OF THE LORD

One thing have I desired 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 behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in his temple.

—Psalm 27:4

What does perfection mean? According to Webster, perfection means “the highest possible degree of excellence.” That which is perfect lacks nothing it should have and has nothing it should not have. Perfection is fullness and completeness. Something that is perfect is not lacking in anything and doesn’t have anything it shouldn’t have….

When we apply perfection to God, we mean that He has unqualified fullness and completeness of whatever He has. He has unqualified plenitude of power. He also has unqualified fullness of wisdom. He has unqualified knowledge. He has unqualified holiness.

When I say that a man is a perfect singer, I qualify that in my mind. I think, Well, he does the best a person can. But when I say that God is holy, I do not qualify it. I mean it fully and completely. God is what He is and that’s it. God’s power and being, His wisdom and knowledge, His holiness and goodness, His justice and mercy, His love and grace—all of these and more of the attributes of God—are in shining, full, uncreated perfection. They are called the beauty of the Lord our God. AOG182-183, 186

Lord, Your beauty is overwhelming in its perfection, and I wonder why we would ever want to look at anything else! Amen. [1]


27:4 Poor Peter tried to defend his Master by cutting off the ear of the high priest’s slave. But Jesus replied to Peter, “Shall I not drink the cup which My Father has given Me?” His one desire was to dwell with God, and since the pathway to glory led first to the cross, He was prepared to endure its suffering and shame. His language was:

One thing I have desired of the Lord,

That will I seek:

That I may dwell in the house of the Lord

All the days of my life,

To behold the beauty of the Lord,

And to inquire in His temple.

There is something indomitable about “one-thing” people. They know what they want and are determined to get it. Nothing can stand in their way.[2]


4 Boldness of faith is not naive belief. The external difficulties are insignificant in comparison with the psalmist’s deep desire to experience more fully the presence of God. In God’s presence fear is banished. The longing for God’s temple expresses the intensity of the psalmist’s seeking after God himself (cf. Mt 6:33). The enjoyment of God’s presence assures the evident goodness and love of God (cf. 23:6).

The psalmist desires to dwell in the temple of God for the rest of his life (cf. 15:1; 23:4–6). The temple was the visible expression of God’s presence and was sought after by the godly. While sitting in God’s temple, he planned to “gaze” on the Lord’s beauty and to “seek” (inquire after) him in his temple. In the act of gazing on the Lord’s beauty, the psalmist submits himself fully to experience the beneficent fellowship with God. God’s “beauty” is an expression of his goodness to his people (cf. 16:11; 90:17). When Moses saw his glory, the Lord revealed his perfections of love and compassion (Ex 34:5–6). The “beauty” of the Lord is his favor toward his own (cf. 90:17; 135:3; see C. S. Lewis’s intriguing essay “The Fair Beauty of the Lord” [Reflections on the Psalms, 44–53]; Reflections, p. 931, The Ark of the Covenant and the Temple).

In the experience of God’s presence, the psalmist also intends to “seek” him (cf. 73:17). Little consensus exists on the meaning of the verb “seek” (see A. A. Anderson, 1:222–23). Was the psalmist seeking him as in the day of trouble, or does the word have a more technical sense? It is probable that he was looking for a divine word or action that would satisfy the longing in his heart (cf. v. 8). The desire for God’s presence arose out of a need. The psalmist is not an escapist, for he wants to hang on to God until he is fully assured of his glorious presence.[3]


27:4. David further expressed his confidence in the Lord by his longing to dwell in His house. He would love to abide there all his life, to enjoy His beauty and to seek Him there in the temple. (Hêḵāl does not refer here to Solomon’s temple since it was not yet built. The Heb. word means a magnificent structure, such as the tabernacle; cf. vv. 5–6; 5:7; 1 Sam. 1:9; 3:3; the temple, 2 Kings 24:13; or a palace, Pss. 45:15; 144:12; Dan. 1:4.)[4]


27:4 One thing. The primary issue in David’s life was to live in God’s presence and by His purpose (cf. Pss 15:1; 23:6; cf. Paul’s “one thing” in Php 3:13).[5]


27:4 David, the author of this psalm, could have called the tabernacle a “house” (Josh. 6:24; 1 Sam. 1:7; 3:15) and a temple (1 Sam. 1:9; 3:3). On dwell in the house of the Lord, see Ps. 23:6. God’s beauty is what the faithful yearn to gaze upon (i.e., to behold with admiration and affection) as they seek him in worship.

27:4 Enjoyment of fellowship with God in his presence anticipates the joy of knowing God through Christ (John 15:11; 16:24; 17:3; Rev. 22:4). Christ opens the way into the heavenly sanctuary (Heb. 10:19–22).[6]


27:4 the house of Yahweh The psalmist wants to dwell in the temple, Yahweh’s dwelling place. He is essentially saying he wants to remain in Yahweh’s presence, as a place of joy (Psa 16:11; 21:6).

consider The Hebrew word used here, baqar, means “to examine” or “to scrutinize.” Here it may describe a prayerful search for Yahweh’s will or a meditative reflection.[7]


27:4 One thing I have desired: This puts God’s will first in my life. See Phil. 3:13, 14 for a similar desire expressed by Paul. The perfect heart is unified with a single desire: God and His fullness. inquire in His temple: Direct communion with God.[8]


[1] Tozer, A. W., & Eggert, R. (2015). Tozer on the almighty god: a 365-day devotional. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[2] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 586). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[3] VanGemeren, W. A. (2008). Psalms. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Psalms (Revised Edition) (Vol. 5, p. 283). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[4] Ross, A. P. (1985). Psalms. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 1, p. 814). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[5] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Ps 27:4). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[6] Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 970). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[7] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Ps 27:4). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[8] The Open Bible: New King James Version. (1998). (electronic ed., Ps 27:4). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

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