One of my favorite books is “Rocket Boys” written by my friend Homer Hickam. The book (which was made into the movie “October Sky“) tells the story of Homer’s journey from the son of a coal miner in West Virginia to a rocket scientist with NASA.
Rocket Boys is a story of wanting and valuing something so much, you do whatever it takes to gain it. One of the things I love about the book is the determination of Homer and his 5 fellow “rocket boys” to reach their goal even when the odds are stacked against them.
For example, you need to know calculus to be a rocket scientist — a subject which had never been taught in Homer’s high school. One of his teachers convinced the principal to offer calculus during Homer’s senior year. The principal limited the class to 6 students but 7 applied. Since Homer had the lowest grades, he missed the cut. Yet because he was so determined to reach his dream, after nearly failing algebra and trigonometry, he taught himself calculus.
That same kind of single-minded desire is at the heart of Psalm 27. Only the desire in the Psalm is not rocket science, it’s the desire to know God and be known by him. To me the most striking words in the Psalm are the two tiny adjectives in verse 4 “one,” and “all.”
One thing I have asked from the LORD, that I shall 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 meditate in His temple. – Psalm 27:4
In this Psalm, David’s makes only one request: to dwell in the house of the Lord. Essentially he’s asking for a relationship with God. He wants to know and be known by God so well that he feels at home in God’s presence.
The “one” suggests David’s single-minded desire and the “all” reveals the consistent determination to gain it.
Psalm 27 teaches us that the one desire worth staking our life around is knowing God. Because if we have that, then we have everything worth having.
Just like Homer needed to learn calculus to build rockets, the stories of the Bible teach us who God is. Bible study may seem overwhelming, but the best way to get to know God is to read His book. We just need the desire and determination to study it.
Photo used here under Flickr Creative Commons.