David seeks one thing: אותה אבקש otah avakesh, this I would seek.
The one thing is to dwell, to dwell in the Lord’s house:
שבתי בבית יי כל ימי חיי
Shiv’ti b’veit Adonai kol y’mei chayyai
That I would dwell in the house of Adonai all the days of my life
Shiv’ti is an infinitive, a verbal noun, with the first person suffix attached, “my dwelling in the house of Adonai.”
What is this state of lifelong dwelling in God’s house that David seeks as the one thing, the most important desire of his life?
He does not mean that he will bring his bedroll into the Tabernacle courts and sleep there, taking all his meals and hearing all his subjects there. He does not mean he will never leave the sanctuary.
David’s life involved disruptions, distresses, wars, and at times fleeing Jerusalem. Yet he took great comfort in having access, regularly and often to the sanctuary. There he inquired of God, worshipped, and felt the nearness of the Presence.
David’s great request was access to regular nearness to God at the place of nearness, the sanctuary where the Name of God dwelt. Like David we have access to regular and frequent nearness to the congregation, at which God’s Presence is mystically present. Short of the even more intimate and continual immersion in the Presence which we will know in the life to come, to have access to Shabbat, to the congregation, to the daily minyan, to communal prayer and the promised presence is perhaps a gift we do not value highly enough.