GETTING THE MESSAGE/Psalm 27:4
We are in the midst of a crisis in our country, and practically all over the world. Ambitious men have always sought to take advantage of a crisis, and our self-preservation instinct is easily preyed upon. A crisis provokes various reactions from people; some helpful, some not. Fear can mobilize in a good way or bad way.
The Lord teaches his people to look at crisis situations in the light of his Word. The verse we are looking at this week points us to Christ in the midst of a fearful world. It shows us that Christ is suitable for our need and blessedness in any situation.
The psalmist envisions a worst case scenario in verse 3: "Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear." The reason? He has already said in verse 1: "The Lord is my light and salvation." That is claiming a lot. Yet, that is what we are promised in Christ.
Before we enter the hallowed ground of verse 4 (which is for Christ's sheep), let me say that if you don't know Christ, the Scriptures depict him as rich in mercy. He is of such a nature he doesn't ignore prayers for mercy. He welcomes all who come to him. So look to him; call upon his name.
Verse 4 begins with the attitude of the redeemed sinner. He is single -minded in his desire to worship in the presence of the Lord. The sentence, "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," is a description of what the Lord Jesus identifies as the "pure in heart."
The believer wants to "gaze upon the beauty of the Lord." He is enraptured with searching the depths of Christ. He has tasted the heavenly gift, that the Lord is good, and there is undying desire to be in his presence.
Luke 17 tells us the story of 10 lepers who were healed by Jesus. All rejoiced over such a blessing, to be cleansed from such a terrible plight. Yet only one returned to seek out the Lord. He had been given more than cleansing. He wanted to be in the presence of and worship the Lord. He would forever more worship in light of his cleansing. And so do all who belong to Christ.
This desire in the Christian springs from apprehending the dying love of Christ. The light of Christ reveals to us what a great salvation he has accomplished for us. It isn't only the work of Christ, but the person of Christ that is revealed by his light. Though he was in very nature God, he took our nature to himself to serve us, while we were yet sinners.
The" beauty" of the Lord is in his attributes; his love, holiness, power, eternal, infinite, unchangeable being, full of goodness and truth. He is the Lord, and yet took the curse upon himself so we might know God. And God was pleased to give him to us, though we were enemies.
Anyone who tries to add their own goodness or works to the merits of what Christ has done, calls into question whether they have ever tasted (truly) of the heavenly gift. The soul described in this verse would categorically detest the thought of anything in his own hands diminishing the glory of what Christ has done on his behalf. His desire is to glorify the Lord, not diminish his work.
You can never plumb the bottom of Christ's love; He never upbraided his disciples for past sins. Rather, he washed their feet knowing they would abandon him at the cross. We are naturally afraid to come into the presence of God for he is a consuming fire, but Christ washing our feet teaches us we may (in him) walk into holy ground and be welcomed. He will take us by the hand if need be.
The angels long to look into these things, not only because of the staggering sight of the Lord of glory taking on the nature of the creature and being crucified as a curse, but also because they cannot know God the way a redeemed sinner can. They cannot know what it is to be dead in sins and then made alive by grace. The beauty of the Lord is seen in additional light by the elect of God.
You may know the lines of John Newton's hymn: "How sweet the name of Jesus sounds in a believer's ear! It soothes his sorrows, heals his wounds, and drives away his fear." Apt words for redeemed souls going through a world of tribulation.