One thing I have desired of the Lord, that will I seek... Psalm 27:4a
This great psalm is the "anthem" of the High Holiday season. It is read twice daily from the beginning of the Hebrew month of Elul straight through to the end of the festival of Sukkot/Tabernacles in preparation for the High Holy days (Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot/Tabernacles).
Traditionally, this is a time for prayer, fasting and soul searching, yet the bridal overtones are astounding. Let's take a step through the door at verse four and I'll show you what I mean.
"Oneness" I Have Desired of the Lord
I call it a "door" because, in Hebrew, the number four is represented by a letter that has the pictograph of a door; the dalet. Therefore, spiritually speaking, verse four opens the door to what we read next. "One thing I have desired of the Lord, that will I seek..." It may surprise you to learn that the word "thing" is not expressed anywhere in the Hebrew Bible but was inserted by translators. Let's take a closer look at the passage in Hebrew for I believe we will discover something outstanding that is revealed in this "one thing."
The Hebrew word translated as "one" in this passage is echad. Echad is a very interesting word because it represents a unity while recognizing diversity and multiplicity within that oneness. A noteworthy place, especially at this time of year, where we see an example of this is in the dwelling place of God, the Tabernacle of Moses. The curtains were fastened together to create one (echad) glorious entity, the Mishkan (Exodus 26:6). Another example is in Ezekiel 37:19 where it is written that God will take two sticks and make them one (echad) stick in His hand. And last but certainly not least, we also see it in Genesis 2:24 when "...a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one (echad) flesh."
The bridal theme that is woven in Psalm 27 is revealed even more clearly as we look closer at echad in the Hebrew font. It is not written echad, with a "d" on the end but rather as echat with a "t." This seemingly insignificant detail is stunning because changing the end letter to the "t" makes it a feminine word. For David to use echat with the feminine ending would not only be incorrect grammar but it would be totally out of context. I believe his choice of the word echat reveals to us that he understood and possessed the bridal heart as he penned this psalm.
What did he want? What was he asking for? Keeping in mind that one "thing" is not written in Hebrew, I wonder, could King David have been seeking and desiring oneness or union with God? Could he have been saying "oneness I have desired of the Lord, that will I seek"? One with God. Hummm...that's a lot to ponder. What is one? What is oneness? "Union" is probably as good of an understanding as anything we might suggest. The pondering takes on new light as we read John 17:20-21. The Master said, "I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us..."
Engulfed in the Wonder that God Desperately Desires to Connect with Those Whom He Has Created
Imagine for a moment being one with all that God is, the very essence of His being. Being united with all that is pure and all that is good. Imagine your heart beating with His. Imagine His thoughts implanted in you; imagine His Divine will united with yours...imagine.
...the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints. To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Colossians 1:26-27
What is all this pointing to? I believe the answer is a true, deep and abiding intimacy with the Lord. Knowing Him, encountering Him, and being engulfed in the wonder that God desperately desires to connect with those whom He has created.
Marriage is the most intimate of relationships, and using the natural to define the supernatural, the Apostle Paul quoted Genesis 2:24 and said, "This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the Church" (Ephesians 5:32). Intimacy is cultivated in communion. This spiritual union unites the soul with everything He is. As we draw near to the Prince of Peace we will have peace. As we seek the wonderful Counselor we will receive His counsel. As we fellowship with the Comforter we will be comforted. As we engage with the God of love we will know a love that is so fierce that not even death can contain it.
The Lord Never Desired to Dwell in a Building
Why this message now through this psalm of the season? Because we need the presence of the Lord dwelling powerfully in our lives more than ever before, and I believe that the types and shadows found in Scripture reveal that we can have it. As I mentioned earlier, the Tabernacle of Moses embodies echad. This great structure was God's dwelling place. Interestingly, it was divided into three separate areas yet was one holy habitation. The first area was the outer court where all could enter, the second was the inner court where only the priests (Levites) could enter, and last but not least, was the holy of holies where only the high priest could enter once a year, on Yom Kippur, with the blood of the sacrifice.
The Lord never desired to dwell in a building; He wants to dwell in us, to be one (echad) with us. We are the dwelling place of God. "...you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit" (Ephesians 2:22). This is what drew Jesus to the Cross. As He breathed His last breath, the veil that blocked access to the Holy of Holies was split from top to bottom.
The Holy of Holies can be seen as a symbol of intimacy, for it is a space for only two: the priest and the Lord. Inside this chamber there is only once piece of furniture, the Mercy Seat, which also reveals the bridal paradigm. Let me explain.
God's Love for His People is Like a Husband's Love for His Bride
The Mercy Seat was placed upon the Ark of the Covenant. "And the cherubim shall stretch out their wings (kanaph) above, covering the mercy seat with their wings, and they shall face one another; the faces of the cherubim shall be toward the mercy seat. You shall put the mercy seat on top of the ark, and in the ark you shall put the Testimony that I will give you" (Exodus 25:20-21). This is considered the most holy of all pieces of furniture, for inside of it were the Tablets, the bedrock of our faith – the marriage contract binding God's people together with Himself. Thus the Mercy Seat can be seen as a symbol of God's love for His people, a love that is like a husband's love for his bride.
Even the wings of the cherubim reveal this marital relationship. The word for "wings" in Hebrew is kanaph (pronounced kaw-nawf', Strong's #3671). Not only is kanaph a wing like you would think of represented here, it is also the corner of a garment and the corner of a tallit (prayer shawl) – a garment that every devout Jewish man wears. God's instructions for this garment are found in Numbers 15:38, "Speak to the children of Israel: Tell them to make tassels on the corners (kanaph) of their garments throughout their generations, and to put a blue thread in the tassels of the corners (kanaph)."
The tallit can also serve as a huppah, which is the covering that a bride and groom stand under when they exchange their wedding vows. Looking at the Mercy Seat one might see the cherubim with their four wings and imagine those wings as a huppah, the bridal canopy.
We Can Come Any Time, Any Day, to the Throne of Grace
One thing do I desire – union with God and to be hidden under the wings of His mercy. Beloved, we can experience this today. We can come any time, any day, to the throne of grace and find whatever we need for any situation we may be facing. We can find the peace, the advice, the comfort, the love. We can find everything that God is, right there at the throne of grace, and the tallit (prayer shawl) reveals one possible way to get there – through the portal of prayer and meditation.
Through prayer and meditation we can transcend the worries of this world, and Psalm 27 is as good of a place as any to begin. He is our light cutting through the darkness and depression. He is our Salvation, seriously, whom shall we fear? He's got us in the palm of His hands and nothing can separate us from the Love of God in Christ Jesus. Truly, I would have lost heart time and time again, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
When everything is falling apart...press into the prize: oneness with God. Him in us – us in Him. Everything is better together. Amen and Amen.
A Psalm of David. The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked came against me to eat up my flesh, my enemies and foes, they stumbled and fell. Though an army may encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war may rise against me, in this I will be confident.
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. For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion; in the secret place of His tabernacle He shall hide me; He shall set me high upon a rock. And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me; therefore I will offer sacrifices of joy in His tabernacle; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the Lord.
Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice! Have mercy also upon me, and answer me. When You said, "Seek My face," my heart said to You, "Your face, Lord, I will seek." Do not hide Your face from me; do not turn Your servant away in anger; You have been my help; do not leave me nor forsake me, O God of my salvation. When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take care of me.
Teach me Your way, O Lord, and lead me in a smooth path, because of my enemies. Do not deliver me to the will of my adversaries; for false witnesses have risen against me, and such as breathe out violence.
I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the Lord!
Tiffany Ann Lewis
Dancing with the Flame of the Lord Ministries