David is referring to the temple of God as the house of the Lord.
Psa 27:4 One thing have I desired 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 behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple.
David desired to dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of his life, because he wanted to look on God’s beauty and to inquire in His temple. During his time, the temple of God dwells only in tents and usually they move it from one place to another. Inside the temple, the ark of the Covenant can be found. 2Sa 6:17And they took in the ark of the Lord, and put it in its place inside the tent which David had put up for it: and David made burned offerings and peace-offerings to the Lord.
2Sa 7:5-6 Go and say to my servant David, The Lord says, Are you to be the builder of a house, a living-place for me? For from the day when I took the children of Israel up out of Egypt till this day, I have had no house, but have gone from place to place in a tent.
King David wished to construct a temple for the Lord God, but it did not come to fruition because his hands have shed blood. His son Solomon fulfilled his plan. It was believed that King Solomon built the temple of God, later called Solomon’s temple between 970-930 B.C. It became the main place of worship and sacrifices were made there as a replacement for the many portable sanctuary since the time of Moses.
According to historical records, the temple was damaged during Israel’s slavery by the empire of Babylon (586 BC). According to the book of Ezra, the temple was built again (Second Temple) by the order of Cyrus the Great (538 BC) after the fall of the empire of Babylon. The construction lasted for almost 23 years during the reign of Darius the Great (515 BC).
In 20 B.C. the temple was built again by Herod the Great after it was destroyed and profaned many times. And although the construction was under the Roman empire, it was later managed by the Jewish people. Later, the temple was destroyed in the year 70 A.D. The Jews failed to rebuild it during their revolts against the Roman empire. In the 7th century Jerusalem was captured by Muslims and on the site of the temple, they build the Islamic shrine known as the Dome of Rock.
From its history, we can trace that the temple of God was a place of worship. Sacrifices and services were held here by the servants of God like Moses, David and others. For King David, the temple is not only an ordinary building, it is the house of the Lord where they gather to praise God and pray to Him. Isa 56:7 I will make them come to my holy mountain, and will give them joy in my house of prayer; I will take pleasure in the burned offerings which they make on my altar: for my house will be named a house of prayer for all peoples.
Why David desired to dwell in the House of the Lord all the Days of his Life?
From here, we learn what kind of servant of God David is. For him, God is his refuge, hope, salvation, pastor and because of these, David offers his life to the Lord. His desire to dwell in the house of God all the days of his life signifies his intention to be with God and that means he doesn’t want to be separated from God’s grace and mercy.
David’s reasons consist of two things: (1) to behold the beauty of the Lord and (2) to inquire in His temple. He wants to see how beautiful is serving the Lord because he knows that serving the Lord is a form of holiness and being holy is beautiful in God’s eyes. Not all beautiful things are holy in God’s eyes, but all holiness are beautiful to God. Anyone who wishes to serve God must serve Him in the beauty of His holiness. And this is what David wants to see.
Psa 96:8-9 Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come into his courts. O worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness: fear before him, all the earth.
In David and God’s eyes, the services done in the temple are all beautiful. David was delighted to see all these beautiful services made to God. Psa 110:3 Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning: thou hast the dew of thy youth. Psa 29:2 Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.
David also know that holiness can be found in the house of the Lord. Psa 93:5 Thy testimonies are very sure: holiness becometh thine house, O LORD, for ever.
Secondly, David wants to inquire in the temple of the Lord. He wants to seek something. Seeking is different from mere looking. We can imagine how David wanted to look for everything inside the house of the Lord. But did David want to look only for the things inside the house of God? What is the meaning of David’s desire to inquire?
The other meaning of the word inquire is to ask. David wants to seek and ask about God’s words and commandments. And the commandments of God can surely be found inside the house of God. Literally, the ark of the Covenant, where the Ten Commandments can be found is inside the temple of the Lord. In Ezra 7: 23, we can read, Whatsoever is commanded by the God of heaven, let it be diligently done for the house of the God of heaven:
What about in the New Testament? What does it say about the house of God? Is it the same physical structure? Apostle Paul describes the church of God as the house of God. He writes, 1Ti 3:15 But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.
We have learned that the church of God is the spiritual body of Christ - Col 1:24 Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church:This is where we can found redemption and forgiveness of our sins - Col 1:14In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:
Also, those who were called are also placed inside the house of the Lord, which is the church of God - 1Co 12:28 And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.
Jesus Christ is the head of this church and His church are made up of people, a congregation of faithfuls - Heb 3:6 But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.
Comparing the house of God mentioned by David in the Old Testament and the house of God discussed in the New Testament, the temple or the physical structure is the place where holiness, prayers, services and sacrifices were done. The church of God is a congregation made up of people called upon to serve God. They are both house of God, in both we can found the commandments of God, the beauty of serving God, the beauty and holiness of worshiping the one and only true God.
Each member of the church becomes a part of the house of God - 1Co 3:16-17 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are. And not only do they become part of the house of God, but as well as they become children of God - Eph 1:5-6 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. If they are children of God, then they dwell in the house of God - Joh 8:35 And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever.And they are heirs to the promise – Gal 3:29 And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
The Bible narrates how the early Christians give importance for their being part of the house of God. They endured everything in life. Even if sufferings are there, even if they are poor, these did not become hindrance for them to continue their generosity, to help others, to help the members of the church, to help in the duties of the church to preach the words of God.
2Co 8:1-5 Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia; How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality. For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves; Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God.
Even if there are many persecutions going on that time, they continue to serve God - Act 2:46 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, Act 2:42 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.
Even if life is at stake, even in death, they give importance to their spiritual duties. Heb 11:35 Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.
Like David and the early servants of God, we are all invited to see the beauty of God and His holiness, let us inquire in His temple, in His house, let us worship Him, offer Him praises and thanksgiving, and sacrifices, which are all beautiful. Let us manifest the beauty and holiness of God within us.