Petition and Pursuit

“One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after…” (Psa 27.4a, ESV)

I don’t know about you, but this text seems ironic–especially in light of David’s final exhortation in this psalm to “Wait for the Lord!” It reminds me of the old WW I song, “Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition.”

If I ask something of the Lord, should I then also seek after it? How does that constitute waiting for Him?

There is more than one thing going on in this psalm. The immediate context is that of a desperate circumstance in which David is crying out to God for His help and expressing his confidence that God will give it. But a second layer is David’s own spiritual life: “…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.” (v4b,c) To pursue such a desire is never contrary to God’s will, and simply expecting it to happen on its own is naive.

On the other hand, “waiting for the LORD” in times of trouble is essential and can be frustrating to our own earthly-minded sense of urgency. Yet that is what David did and what he tells us to do.

When I ask God for a greater intimacy with Him, His answer is, “Go for it!”

Sometimes, when I ask Him for immediate help with what I think is unbearably urgent, He says, “Wait for it!”


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