The One Thing
by Joseph Franks
The Awesome God
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 evildoers assail me to eat up my flesh, my adversaries and foes, it is they who stumble and fall. Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, yet I will be confident. (Psalm 27:1-3)
Light come forth from God. He is the one who, through his Word and Spirit, illuminates our path in the midst of carnal darkness. When all about us seems evil and dark, he is the Sun of Righteousness who encourages us with his radiant presence.
He is the one who seeks and saves the lost. He is the lover of tax collectors and sinners who provides unmerited salvation for his believing friends.
And be comforted by this, he never loses one whom he claims as his own. He is the stronghold, and he never fails.
Therefore, why should we live in fear of anything or anyone? If God is for us, why do we care who is against us. Sure, the devil, the world, and the flesh may continually assail and seek to eat us up, but they will ultimately not be successful. While they stumble and fall, I will walk in humble confidence under the powerful hand and watchful gaze of my Heavenly Father.
The Invitation, Passion, and Pursuit
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. For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will lift me high upon a rock. And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me, and I will offer in his tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing and make melody to the Lord. Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud; be gracious to me and answer me! You have said, “Seek my face.” My heart says to you, “Your face, Lord, do I seek.” Hide not your face from me. Turn not your servant away in anger, O you who have been my help. Cast me not off; forsake me not, O God of my salvation! For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the Lord will take me in. Teach me your way, O Lord, and lead me on a level path because of my enemies. Give me not up to the will of my adversaries; for false witnesses have risen against me, and they breathe out violence. (Psalm 27:4-12)
Have we heard the invitation of Christ? Do we also understand it to be his command as well? Listen again, God has invited and commanded us to seek his face.
Therefore, when we rightly understand our foes, our weakness, the magnificence of the Lord, and his most gracious invitation/command, we will surely ask for one thing — that we might enjoy intimate communion with the Almighty God in his house of safety, education, and mirth. Enjoying and glorifying God in his holy presence will surely be our chief interest and ask.
But not only will such divine communion be our chief interest and matter of supplication, it will also be our chief pursuit. We will not merely supplicate and talk, but we will seek after and take action. We will be overwhelmed with a desire to enter his temple and:
- Gaze upon beauty
- Inquire of him
- Be hidden in his shelter
- Be concealed under the cover of his tent
- Be lifted high upon his rock
- Have our heads lifted up above our enemies
- Offer sacrifices
- Shout with joy
- Sing and make melody
- Be taken in by the Lord
- Be taught the Lord’s ways and lead on level paths
Knowing the benefits of life with the Father in his house, we will do all we can to put wings to our prayers.
Or at least we would if we were wise?
The Final Chapter
I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living! Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord! (Psalm 27:13-14)
When our earthly days are over, our sweet communion with Jesus will just be getting started. We who look to Christ and hunger to enjoy and glorify him in this life, will receive in full-measure that for which we have prayed and pursued. Oh friends, there is life; this is followed by death; and for those of us clothed in his righteousness, this is followed by the “land of the living.” For this fantastic existence we wait, and it causes us to be strong in the midst of our foes. With the Lord’s help now, we can take anything thrown at us by the devil, the world, and our wicked flesh. So wait with great hope brothers and sisters! Keep going persecuted church! Sin-sick disciple, keep fighting and looking for glorification. One day, all of us in Christ Jesus will see him face to face. We will be held in his arms, and we will enjoy and glorify him without sin. Yes, one glorious day is coming when we will sing, shout, dance, and bow in his house. The “one thing” we have most desired, that will be ours without measure and without ceasing.
However, until then, let’s get to the house of the Lord with great regularity. He waits to specially comfort us when we gather as his church. Since this is the “one thing” we need, and the “one thing” for which we pant and supplicate, why not make this the “one thing” around which we schedule everything else in our life. Let’s supplicate and seek his face. Let’s go to the place where the assembly of saints are gathered and enjoy spiritual communion with Christ and his friends.