Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Living in God’s House

Leslie Basham: In the middle of all your busyness, are you keeping your priorities straight? Here’s Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: Whatever you do in the course of the week, are you saying, “One thing I want is to live in the house and the presence of the Lord all the days of my life”?

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author of Choosing Gratitude, for May 13, 2019.

If you can only ask God one thing, what would you choose? The Bible tells us that King David was surrounded by powerful enemies, but he made just one request of God, and that one thing wasn’t deliverance from adversaries. Nancy is going to explore David’s surprising response to trials in this series on Psalm 27 called “One Thing.”

Nancy: How many of you remember the name Keith Green? Oh, a lot of you! Good. Keith Green, who lived from 1953–82, was a singer and songwriter who lost his life in a tragic plane accident at the age of twenty-eight. A couple years before his death, he went through a period of just spiritual dryness. He was serving the Lord, doing what he knew to do, but he just felt like he wasn’t as close to God as he had been at one time.

He tells the story how late one night he cried out to the Lord and just said, “I want You to refresh my heart. I want You to give me a new, tender heart.” And during the middle of that night, he wrote this song, which he then sang for the first time at a gathering later that week. This is Keith Green.

Keith Green:

Oh Lord, You’re beautiful,
Your face is all I seek.
For when Your eyes are on this child
Your grace abounds to me.

Nancy: Now, that song (and we’ll hear a little bit more of it later) is taken from a wonderful passage in Psalm chapter 27, and I want to invite you to turn there. We’re going to look particularly at one verse from Psalm 27 over these next couple of days, but I want you to get the context for how that verse appears. The verse is Psalm 27, verse 4, but let me begin reading at verse 1.

The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold [the refuge] 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 (vv. 1–3).

Now let me stop there just before we get to verse 4 and set this up for us. The psalm tells us that this is written by David. At the very top in your Bible where it says Psalm 27, then it says, “Of David.” David wrote this. We don’t always know who wrote the psalms, but in this case we know it was written by David.

We don’t know when he wrote this. We don’t know what circumstances he was going through at the time. Sometimes the psalms do tell us, “This was when such-and-such was happening in David’s life.” But we know David went through a lot of times of trouble. We know he went through a lot of hard places. And this could have been any one of those.

He’s in serious trouble, and look at the description there:

  • There are evildoers assailing him. They’re trying to devour him.
  • He talks about his adversaries and his foes.
  • He talks about an army encamped against him.
  • He talks about war rising against him.

And then in verse 12, we didn’t read this, but he says, “false witnesses have risen against me, and they breathe out violence.”

So do you get the picture? Have you ever been somewhere that sounds a little bit like that? Feels a little bit like that? Maybe not in a literal sense of war, but people’s tongues and attitudes are surrounding you and being destructive. This is a big mess. At the time David couldn’t see the outcome. He didn’t know what God was doing or where this was all going to go.

But at the same time, what do you see in these first three verses? It’s repeated three times: David was not afraid. Verse one: “Whom shall I fear? Of whom shall I be afraid?” Verse 3: “My heart shall not fear.”

Now, what he just described sounds pretty fearful to me. It sounds like dreadful, terrifying circumstances. But something in David causes him to say, “My heart is not afraid.” In fact, he says he’s confident. The end of verse 3: “Though war arise against me, yet I will be confident.” Regardless of what was going on around him, David was not afraid, and he is confident.

How can this be? Why was this? It’s because his eyes were fixed—where?—on the Lord. He doesn’t start this passage, this psalm, by talking about the enemies and the evildoers and the adversaries and the foes. He does talk about them. They’re very real.

But his starting place is the Lord. “The Lord is my light and my salvation. The Lord is the stronghold (the refuge) of my life.” And he realizes that it’s God’s character, the promises of God, the presence of God, that are greater and more powerful than all his enemies combined.

Now, he could see his enemies. You can’t see God. And isn’t it the temptation to walk by sight instead of by faith? To be terrified by what we can see rather than confident in what we can’t see?

So he says, “The Lord is my light in the darkness. The Lord is my salvation and my deliverer. The Lord is my refuge and my safe place.”

And then, having established that, his heart is settled, verse 4 and following, I think, gives us a clue to how David could come to that place. Verse 4 is the one we’re going to focus on most, but I want to read verses 4–6 here, Psalm 27.

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.

Now, if you just read those first three verses, and you saw all the things he was up against, you’d think, How could this guy be singing? How could he be joyful? How could he have shouts of joy?

Well, it’s because of what we read about in verse 4: “One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after.” Let’s just pause there.

David is a king. He’s the CEO of the nation. He’s the commander-in-chief of the military forces of Israel. But they’re all in a desperate place. All around him are these powerful enemies and this opposition.

And in this desperate place, David lifts his eyes up to the Lord. He doesn’t talk to his enemies. He talks to the Lord. And he says, “One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after . . .” I think the NIV says there, “This only do I seek”—one thing, this only do I seek. David has just one request to ask of the Lord.

And you think about him: He’s a powerful man. He has a lot of contacts. He knows a lot of people. He has a lot of resources at his disposal. So if he has just one request, what do you think he might ask? Victory over his enemies? An effective battle plan? For God to make his problems go away? A way to escape his problems? What would you have asked if you were in the position we saw described in verses 1–3?

David says:

One thing have I asked of the Lord, that only do I seek: [What is it?] 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.

Now, I don’t know about you, but you you’ve got enemies around you 360, this does not sound like a very practical battle plan or plan for survival. Do you think? I mean, it sounds like he’s a little contemplative here. He’s going to go live this cloistered life. But he’s got his enemies all around him. What good is this going to do?

He says, “This is the number one priority of my life. One thing have I asked of the Lord, that’s what I’m going to seek after.” This is the one thing which he would earnestly seek and pursue, that on which he would focus his efforts and his attention. He’s saying, essentially, “Lord, if You don’t give me anything else, please give me this one thing.”

David’s “one thing” in the midst of this crisis: “That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, [Why? So I can] gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and [so I may] inquire in his temple.”

David says three things:

One: “I want to live in the presence of the Lord.”
Two: “I want to look on His beauty.”
Three: “I want to learn from Him.”

Now, the one thing is to live in the presence of the Lord. And the reason he wants to do that is so he can look on His beauty and he can learn from Him, “inquire in His temple.”

Today we’re going to focus on that one thing: “That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life.” That’s where I want to live. And then tomorrow we’ll talk about looking and learning—looking on His beauty and learning from Him as we live in His house.

This is the “one thing” that David asks for and longs for above all else: “That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life.”

Now, he’s not talking about physically taking up residence in the temple, which hadn’t even been built yet. And he isn’t talking about dropping all his other earthly responsibilities to live a cloistered life. David has obligations. He had work—as you do. He had family—as you and I do. He had these things that go on day after day, just keeping life going.

Laura is sitting here. She’s the mother of ten children. You’ve got some things to do, Laura. You can’t just go sit in the church house all day long and think about Jesus. This doesn’t sound very practical, does it?

But David is saying, “I want to live my life, wherever I may be, whatever else I may be doing at the time, constantly conscious of the presence of God, thinking about Him, fellowshipping with Him, living with Him.”

Now, we have Christ in us, the hope of glory. We have His Holy Spirit who lives in us. He says, “I just want to be aware that I am in God’s presence, that I’m in God’s house, that my body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. I want to live with Him. I don’t want to have a church compartment of my life, a spiritual compartment of my life, and then the whole rest of my life. I want it all to be about living in fellowship and relationship with Him.”

Now, remember what’s happening while he’s saying this? He’s got these enemies all around him, breathing out threats. But what’s he focused on? “God, I want to be with You. I want to be in Your house.”

Is that your desire? Not just on Sunday but on Monday through Saturday, whether at home, at work, at church, grocery shopping, traveling, sitting in meetings, cleaning up the kitchen, working out at the gym, eating out with friends? Whatever you do in the course of the week, are you saying, “One thing I want is to live in the house and the presence of the Lord all the days of my life”?

Matthew Henry is an old-time commentator who says about this verse:

All God's children desire to dwell in their Father's house. Not to sojourn there as a wayfaring man, to tarry but for a night; or to dwell there for a time only, as the servant that abides not in the house for ever; but to dwell there all the days of their life, as children with a father.

You see, this is a family relationship David has with the LORD. He says, “I want to be with You all the days of my life.”

Well, in an even sweeter and richer sense than David could have possibly understood pre-Calvary, we today are a part of a household of faith. We’re part of His family. And our heart’s desire, if you’re a child of God, this is a desire you have, and that’s to live in His house, to live in His presence. Not just in His neighborhood. Not just near where God lives. But under the same roof with Him.

“I want to be with Him. I want to be near Him. I don’t want to just step in and out of God’s house occasionally, throughout the course of the week or maybe on the weekends. I want to be in His house, under the same roof with Him all the time.”

Now, I was just meditating on that verse recently, which is how this short series came about, thinking about God’s house.

God’s house is holy. So to say, “I want to dwell in the house with the LORD,” is to say, “I want to live in an atmosphere of holiness. I don’t want to enjoy sin. I don’t want to tolerate sin, because there’s no sin in God’s house.”

There’s fullness of joy in God’s presence, Psalm 16 tells us. And to say we want to live in the house or the presence of God is to want to be joyful believers. Not always down in the mouth or downcast or discouraged. But if there’s fullness of joy in His presence, we want to be in His presence. That means we want to be joyful believers even when hard things are happening.

God welcomes others to His home. Not just us. But others—poor people, needy people, sinful people. That means if we’re going to be in God’s house all the days of our lives, we need to be willing to welcome poor and sick and needy and sinful people into our lives.

What I’m doing here today is a great joy, teaching the Word. I love doing this. But I tell you where real life and ministry happens for me. It’s when I’m home in my study and the phone rings, or I get a text or email from somebody who’s needy, somebody who’s struggling, somebody who needs prayer or encouragement or counsel, somebody who’s struggling, and I stop what I’m doing, and I say, “This is God’s house, and we welcome poor, sinful, needy people here. Come on into my house. Come on into my heart. Come on into my schedule.”

Now, that’s not easy because I’m, like, I want to go from point A to point B and get there the most direct way possible. And those interruptions . . . moms, you know what I’m talking about? You’ve got your life planned, and your kids don’t operate on your schedule or your plan. But to be in God’s house is to be willing to welcome needy people into our lives.

God doesn’t live in isolation. He lives in covenant community with all His family, which says that as people live in the house of God, we’re not going to be lone rangers. “I love Jesus, but don’t need the church.” That way of thinking is not what David is thinking about here, what he has in mind.

“I want to dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life.” That means, with all the other people who are part of the family of God. “I want to be with them.” We’ll choose and value a lifestyle of relatedness to God’s people—even some who don’t have it all together (which would be all of them, including us). And it means we’re not going to be annoyed or resentful when people “intrude” into our lives who need Jesus. God welcomes them.

He doesn’t live in isolation. He lives in community even with Himself—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. He is a relational God, and we’re going to be relational people with Him and with others if we want to live in His house all the days of our lives.

He is the Head of His house. And that means, if we want to live in His house, we’ve got to be willing to live by the rules of His house, under His authority and His wisdom. It means we’re not large and in charge. It means He is. We worship Him. We bow before Him. We surrender to Him. We say, “Yes, LORD. You are the Lord of this house.” If you want to live in the house of God all the days of your life, in the presence of God, that means you’ve got to be willing to say, “Yes, LORD.”

And then, He is the Protector and the Provider of His home, which means, as those who live in His house, we will gratefully receive His protection and His provision. We’re not going to rely on our own resources or our own ability to meet our needs.

I think about my husband when I think about God in this way. My husband loves anticipating my needs, even a lot of my wants. I mean, I can’t sniffle in my house before he’s got a Kleenex before me. (Sounds of laughter. Yes, say that again: Isn’t that sweet? He is. He’s precious! Hi, Honey.)

Robert Wolgemuth: Hi, Baby.

Nancy: He’s sitting in the back of the room here—tearing.

But Robert loves to protect me. He loves to provide. Now, he’s not a perfect husband. I’m not a perfect wife. And I say that because you could listen to me, and you’d think, Oh, if I just had a different husband, my life would be easier.

But many of you who are married, you know what it is to have a husband who cares about you. Not perfectly, not perfectly the way God does, but it gives us a glimpse. Good men who are good fathers and husbands give us a glimpse of our heavenly Father who’s our Protector and our Provider.

And one of the things Robert said to me when we were dating, and I’ve not forgotten, he said, “I loved to be needed.”

God loves to be needed. He loves for us to need Him, and to not say like two-year-olds do, “Me do this myself. Me do this. Me do this. Me do this. Me do this.” It’s a hard thing for a mom, isn’t it? Because you want to help. And you know there are some things a two-year-old can’t do. And yet, God wants to be our Protector, our Provider, and to let us welcome Him to help us, to say, “LORD, I need You.” He loves hearing us say that.

Well, David said, “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.” Not just as an occasional guest, dropping in for visits now and then. Not just in some seasons. This isn’t a winter house or a summer home. This is a year-round home, the presence of God. David says, “I want to be constantly conscious of His presence every day and every season of my life”

Is that your desire? Is that what you want as a child of God to live in His home, His holy house, His joy-filled house, His welcoming home, His home where there’s a covenant community? Not living in isolation. That means using our homes and our lives to welcome and include and bring in people who need more of Jesus, to be in community with them. To live under His headship, to let Him be our Protector and our Provider.

All this, and probably so much more, is embodied in what it means to want to dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of our life.

Keith Green:

Oh Lord, You’re beautiful,
Your face is all I seek.
For when Your eyes are on this child
Your grace abounds to me.
Oh Lord, You’re beautiful.

Leslie: That’s Keith Green singing, “Oh Lord, You’re Beautiful.” Before that we heard from Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth.

If you feel like you’re facing powerful opponents like King David did, Nancy’s been reminding you of the one thing that will bring you peace.

One young woman has been learning what it means to seek the Lord and find peace when she’s tempted to worry. Her mom wrote to tell us what happened when they attended the True Woman ’18 conference last year.

Woman: My daughter gave her heart to Jesus at the conference last night. She often struggles with anxiety and depression, so I try to encourage her to take these thoughts captive and fight them with truth. But this weekend, these truths seemed to penetrate her heart and mind in a way they never have before.

Leslie: Nancy, it’s just one more example that when we proclaim the truth of God’s Word, it has amazing power to transform lives.

Nancy: Oh, it sure does, Leslie. You know, right now where I live up north, flowers are blooming. All that brown stuff has turned green, and there’s new growth everywhere. I love the spring as we see how death gives way to life all around us, and the world goes through a time of refreshing.

Well, that’s a picture of what this young woman experienced at the True Woman conference. I’m thinking of Acts chapter 3, where the apostle says that if we repent, if we turn from our sins, that times of refreshing will come from the presence of the Lord. That’s what happens when we’re born again.

And then once we’re raised to new life in Christ, we still need those times of refreshing from the presence of the Lord each and every day. And we want Revive Our Hearts to be a part of that process, pointing you to God’s Word and helping you to experience the sweet presence of the Lord as you walk in a lifestyle of repentance.

And in order for us to keep doing that, we need your support. You can pray. You can tell others about the ministry. And perhaps you’re in a place where you could support this ministry financially. We really need you to get involved.

And that’s especially true this month because a friend of Revive Our Hearts gave us a surprise. They came to us and wanted to offer a matching challenge. So here’s your challenge: If you’ve never given a gift to the ministry before, this friend will double your donation of any size, up to a challenge amount of $75,000.

So if you appreciate receiving this podcast day after day, and you’ve never sent a gift to support Revive Our Hearts, would you step up and help us take advantage of this entire challenge?

When you help meet this need with a gift of any size, we want to say “thank you” by sending a resource designed with you in mind. It’s called, Refresh. This is a lovely tool that will help you refresh your walk with the Lord each day for thirty days. It includes a booklet with devotional readings taken from a book that I co-authored called Seeking Him.

It also includes a set of cards with Scripture reflections and heart-searching questions to help you evaluate your walk with the Lord. And you’ll have a place to journal and to write down insights that the Lord gives you while your soul is being refreshed in His Word.

Leslie: You can see the Refresh journal for yourself at ReviveOurHearts.com, and that’s also where you can donate, or ask for the journal when you call with your gift. The number is 1–800–569–5959.

Tomorrow Nancy will be back in Psalm 27 to continue showing us what to do when circumstances threaten to overwhelm us, and she’s back now to pray.

Nancy: So, Lord, I pray that You would give us that one desire. Help us to seek after that one thing. When there’s lots going on around us, lots of things that can make us fearful, lots of things in our world that could cause us to live in terror, but to come into that eye of the storm, that quiet place, that sweet place where You live, to say, “That’s where I want to live, to be protected by You, to be provided for by You, to be directed by You, to be led by You, to experience Your joy, to be free from fear, to be confident.”

I pray that for myself. I pray it for my sisters here.

Oh, Lord, may we desire and long, above all else, that we would dwell in the house of the Lord forever so that we might behold Your beauty, gaze upon Your beauty, and that we might inquire in Your house, in Your presence, and get our direction from You—everything we need from You—that we might live in Your presence, that we might look on Your beauty, and that we might learn from You. And we pray it in Jesus’ name, amen.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth wants to help you set wise priorities in life. The program is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture is taken from the ESV.

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.

Join the Discussion