Ever want to read the Bible, but need some help? Join me as we look at Psalm 27 and try to understand it clearly.
1 The Lord is my light and my salvation;
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life;
of whom shall I be afraid?
2 When evildoers assail me
to eat up my flesh,
my adversaries and foes,
it is they who stumble and fall.
3 Though an army encamp against me,
my heart shall not fear;
though war arise against me,
yet I will be confident.
4 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.
5 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.
6 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.
7 Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud;
be gracious to me and answer me!
8 You have said, “Seek my face.”
My heart says to you,
“Your face, Lord, do I seek.”
9 Hide not your face from me.
Turn not your servant away in anger,
O you who have been my help.
Cast me not off; forsake me not,
O God of my salvation!
10 For my father and my mother have forsaken me,
but the Lord will take me in.
11 Teach me your way, O Lord,
and lead me on a level path
because of my enemies.
12 Give me not up to the will of my adversaries;
for false witnesses have risen against me,
and they breathe out violence.
13 I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living!
14 Wait for the Lord;
be strong, and let your heart take courage;
wait for the Lord!
Do you feel anxious often? Ever worry on a regular basis? Have you ever had trouble sleeping at night because of the thoughts constantly running through your mind? Thoughts like, “Why does _______ hate me?”, “Where am I going to get the money?”, “How am I going to handle the unrealistic expectations of others?” If so, I want to offer the only thing that’s helped me when I’ve asked those very questions—a bigger perspective. Psalm 27 is listed just above and in it we see the solution to constant anxiety and worry. Let’s look at it together.
First thing we see in verse 1 is a confidence that God is on the writer’s side. We see that the author, David, has experienced betrayal (vs 10) and various attacks, both physically and verbally (vs 2, 4, 11-12). Despite all of these troubles, he’s confident. Confident in what? Confident that he will not be crushed, destroyed, or abandoned completely. David is sure that despite his circumstances, things will work out in the end. Not immediately, or even soon, just in the end. It’s this confidence that allows him to hold his head high while staring down a horde of his enemies, which, if you know about the life of David, is both a figurative and literal statement. What gives David this confidence? Why does he trust that God will take care of him in the end?
The reason that David can have this great confidence and be rid of the anxiety and worry of life is because he’s been shown God’s trustworthiness time and time again. Early on in David’s life, God help him fight and win against a guy that was bigger, stronger, and far more seasoned than himself by what seemed like a “lucky shot” from his slingshot. David read of what God had done in Egypt—freeing the Israelites, parting the sea, destroying all the armies that fought against them, etc… Throughout David’s life, he won battles he should have lost, escaped capture and death miraculously, and was put in higher and higher positions despite a multitude of literal enemies. Time and time again, when David’s life seemed to be about to crumble, God took care of him, not only that, he often used the difficult situations that David was in to grow him in leadership, popularity, or dependence upon God. David was confident of his future welfare because he frequently saw God take care of him and read of him doing the very same for his people throughout generations.
When David considers all these things, he’s overjoyed. He can’t help but say, “My heart says to you your face, Lord, do I seek.” Nothing brings him more joy than being with God, as if he were seeing him face-to-face. If you haven’t figured it out by now, Psalm 27 is a prayer/poem/song. The prayer aspect is the important part for us. What we see here is David talking about his difficult circumstances and his confidence directly to God, which leads him to exclaim, “How great is God!”
Do you want this confidence? Do you want to be free of anxiety? Do you want to get rid of the soul-ache you have from how your life is out of your control? Do what David did, look at the ways God has taken care of you up to now. How has your life gone when you thought things would burst apart at the seams? How has it gone for others in your life who have had crises? If it doesn’t cast out all worry, don’t fear, there’s something else that is meant to help. It’s something David didn’t have but you and I do. We have a sign that God is in control and will take care of us no matter the cost.
Look at Jesus. Perhaps the only man who had more enemies in the Bible than David would be Jesus. David never fell into the hands of his enemies, but Jesus did. David died a happy, old man. Jesus died young and in tremendous agony. Both were strong men of God, and they had some startling similarities, but their lives ended very differently. Why? It’s because Jesus was God in the flesh to be overtaken by enemies– so we wouldn’t have to be. Jesus’ death took the force of our enemies, only not our physically ones, but our spiritual enemy, sin. The evil that dwells within all of us is what Jesus died for and died by. All to make sure that sin would not get the last laugh in our lives.
If you look to Jesus, you’ll see that God was overcome by our greatest enemy, sin, to make sure it wouldn’t overcome us. Those who look to Jesus to conquer their sin will be guaranteed victory over it. Not only that, they get the confidence that David had towards the rest of his life. If God took care of our greatest enemy, he won’t let us fall to any others. Even if the present situation looks bleak, you and I can have comfort that this life is much shorter and less significant than eternity and God has shown himself trustworthy to care for our future.
See the sacrifice of Jesus and you’ll be able to say with David to your soul, “I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living!// Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!”