I. Read Psalm 27.
A Psalm of David.
The Lord is my light and my salvation;
Whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the defense of my life;
Whom shall I dread?
2 When evildoers came upon me to devour my flesh,
My adversaries and my enemies, they stumbled and fell.
3 Though a host encamp against me,
My heart will not fear;
Though war arise against me,
In spite of this I shall be confident.
4 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.
5 For in the day of trouble He will conceal me in His tabernacle;
In the secret place of His tent He will hide me;
He will lift me up on a rock.
6 And now my head will be lifted up above my enemies around me,
And I will offer in His tent sacrifices with shouts of joy;
I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the Lord.
7 Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice,
And be gracious to me and answer me.
8 When You said, “Seek My face,” my heart said to You,
“Your face, O Lord, I shall seek.”
9 Do not hide Your face from me,
Do not turn Your servant away in anger;
You have been my help;
Do not abandon me nor forsake me,
O God of my salvation!
10For my father and my mother have forsaken me,
But the Lord will take me up.
11 Teach me Your way, O Lord,
And lead me in a level path
Because of my foes.
12 Do not deliver me over to the [i]desire of my adversaries,
For false witnesses have risen against me,
And such as breathe out violence.
13I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord
In the land of the living.
14 Wait for the Lord;
Be strong and let your heart take courage;
Yes, wait for the Lord. (NASB)
Introduction – This Psalm’s theme is confidence in the presence of God. This confidence removes fear. This can be seen from the outline or structure of this Psalm. One of the literary aspects of the Psalms is parallelism. Parallels do not just affect one line compared to another: “Whom shall I fear?/Whom shall I dread?” – These parallels extend to the outline or structure of the entire Psalm. This Psalm is in two sections (1-6, 7-14) and these sections form a mirrored parallel:
A) Confidence in God’s Presence (vv1-3)
B) Praise for God’s Presence (vv4-6)
B’) Prayer for God’s Presence (vv7-12)
A’) Confidence in God’s Presence (vv13-14)
(This kind of parallel structure is a called a chaism or chiasmus.)
We should have confidence in God because He is our light, our deliverance, and our defense (v1). The result of this is faith, not fear; rather we worship instead of worry. Fear comes when that which we trust fails. Anxiety is produced when our “light” is not the Lord. This Psalm speaks to our tendency to have worry and anxiety. Here there is a contrast between worry and worship. Worry uses the same faculties as worship. In both our thoughts and words are present, as well our emotions and imaginations. Worry is imagination used in futility. But worship is using all of our faculties aright. We should seek God’s presence because only in seeing Him as He is, will we worship Him as we ought. True worship involves meditation, seeing the beauty of the Lord, and the sacrifice of praise (4 & 6). This kind of worship lifts us above our enemies (5-6) and helps us cry out for God’s presence in the times when we feel abandoned (vv9-10). There is a surprising turn in the mood (v7). It shows the ordinary experience of believers. We prepare in worship and then we face life challenges. If we have confidence in God because He is our light, deliverance, and defense; and if we have prepared by worship (meditation, God’s beauty, and praise), then despite our “day of trouble,” we will return to confidence in God’s presence. Despair will come “unless we believe.” Acting in faith. we will “see the goodness of the LORD” (v13). The spiritual disciplines to practice are patience and prayer instead of anxiety and fear.
Reflect on this Psalm by answering these questions in your own words.
- In recent days have you found yourself trusting in your resources (money), your natural abilities, or other people (spouse, family, friends, leaders, government, etc.) more than the Lord? In what ways?
- Despite your confessed faith, write down a few anxieties that haunt you?
- What would peace and patience (“waiting” v14) look like in your life? List at least three ways you could demonstrate peace and patience because of God’s presence.
II. Pray Psalm 27. Write out a prayer which is about your life now, including the themes of this Psalm.