Read: Psalm 27:2, 3, 9, 10, 12
Psalm 27 is used by Jews as a tool for self-examination, repentance, and confession during the Ten Days of Repentance that begin with Rosh Hashanah and end with Yom Kippur. Why do Jews use Psalm 27, and not Psalm 51, David’s quintessential expression of repentance? Perhaps because Psalm 27, while it doesn’t mention repentance, encourages a life lived in such close fellowship with the Lord that there is no time left for sinful thoughts or actions. Also, this psalm points the way to a living without fear, and fearfulness can be the cause of sinful thoughts and actions.
Think About It: What sources of fear are reflected in vv. 2, 3, 9, 10, and 12 of Psalm 27? To what actual events in David’s life might these sources of fear be linked? What threats tempt me to fearfulness? Who might fear lead to sin in my life?
Prayer: Lord, when I am afraid, I will trust in You.
Read: Psalm 27:1; 2 Samuel 22:29; Psalm 118:6; Psalm 119:105; Isaiah 60:19 – 20; Luke 11:34 – 36; John 8:12; 9:5; 2 Corinthians 4:4
David encouraged himself not to fear by reflecting first of all on who God is: his light, his salvation, and the stronghold of his life. David experienced the need for a stronghold in which to shelter during his days as an outlaw, but he recognized that no cave, mountain fastness, or fortress was truly secure. Any security that he enjoyed was because of the Lord’s favor. Security for David was not in a place, but in his relationship with his Savior. The many times David found himself in dire circumstances were like darkness for him; salvation from God dawned like light in that darkness, time after time. David saw that God was inclined by His very nature to protect him from those things that threatened him.
Think About It: Do I find my security in places where I feel comfortable – or in my relationship with the Lord? What is the source of light in my life – where does my salvation come from; where do I go for direction; what helps me understand essential life issues?
Prayer: Thank you Lord for being my light, my salvation, and the stronghold of my life.
Read: Psalm 27:5, 8, 10; Isaiah 4:6; 25:4; Amos 5:6; Isaiah 40:11; 49:15
David encouraged himself not to fear by reflecting on what God does. David said that God hid him in His shelter in the day of trouble, and lifted him up upon a rock (Psalm 27:5). The rock in the wilderness is a frequently used symbol in the psalms, because in the wilderness a high rock provided shade, shelter, and safety. David said that God told him to seek His face (Psalm 27:8). Evangelical Christianity tends to emphasize the invitation to come to Christ; in contrast, David described the God’s imperative to seek His face. David said that God would take him in even when his father and mother had forsaken him (Psalm 27:10). The Lord was his last hope, his only hope, and his best hope. David saw that not only was God by His nature inclined to save and protect him, He acted to provide protection and salvation.
Think About It: Does Jesus invite me to follow Him (R.S.V.P.) – or does He command it (Matthew 4:19, 8:22, 9:9, etc.)? Have I obeyed His imperative? How and when have I experienced God’s protection in a time of trouble?
Prayer: Thank you Lord, for Your actions in providing for my safety and shelter in times of trouble.
Read: Psalm 27:2; Psalm 7:15; Psalm 9:3; Proverbs 26:27; Ecclesiastes 10:8
David reflected that he need not fear those who assailed him and sought to devour him, because they would stumble and fall. In Psalm 9:3 David attributed this stumbling to God’s presence. Whether the assailants are aware of God’s presence may not be a crucial point. It seems to be the way things are: “Whoever digs a pit will fall into it” (Proverbs 26:27). On the lengthy list of David’s assailants, Saul and Nabal stand out as examples of this kind of stumbling, because David forbore to lift his hand against them, and they fell through other circumstances.
Think About It: What are some other examples, biblical and otherwise, of those who set out to harm others but stumbled and fell in the process? What can I learn from these examples?
Prayer: Lord, thank You for your inexorable justice.
Read: Psalm 27:4; Psalm 65:4; Psalm 84:1 – 2; Exodus 33:18; Luke 10:38 – 41
David did not fear, although he had many rational reasons for anxiety, because the desire of his heart, the goal of his existence, was close fellowship with the Lord. David expressed that close fellowship in terms of always “dwelling in the house of the Lord” and being “in His temple,” which indicates he had a sense of being always in God’s presence. Wherever David was, he knew that God was there. Wherever he was, he could always “inquire” – the Hebrew word also means “meditate” – on the Lord.
Think About It: The pagan idolater can gaze upon the graven image of his god; but there were no graven images of the Lord for David to look at. How did David – and how can I – “gaze upon the beauty of the Lord” (Romans 1:19 – 20; 2 Corinthians 3:18, 4:6)? What are some ways to meditate on the Lord (Philippians 4:8; Colossians 3:1 – 2)?
Prayer: Lord, show me Your glory!
Read: Psalm 27:6 – 12; Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16; Hebrews 13:15
David did not fear his many assailants because his emotional energies were channeled into spiritual practices: offering sacrifices with shouts of joy, singing and making melody to God (Psalm 27:6), and crying to God in prayer (Psalm 27:7). David’s prayer requests (Psalm 27:9, 11, 12) dealt with issues that were potential sources of anxiety: that God not forsake him; that God would help him find the right path for his life; that God would not give him up to the will of his adversaries. Meditation and reflection on God’s person and attributes (Psalm 27:4) are also spiritual practices in which David engaged.
Think About It: What are some spiritual practices, whether corporate or personal, in which I regularly participate? What practices do I find most helpful in dealing with fear? What practices do I find helpful in dealing with temptation?
Prayer: Lord, I offer to You my sacrifice of praise.
Read: Psalm 27:13 – 14; Hebrews 11:13 – 16; 13:14; Isaiah 8:17; 25:9; 30:18; 40:31
David did not fear because of his faith. David believed that he would see God’s goodness “in the land of the living.“ The Talmud teaches that the “land of the living” refers to the world to come, that is, to our heavenly home. Not every injustice and painful experience is resolved in this life. David experienced many deliverances from trouble, but he also had his share of painful losses. Those losses did not cause him to lose faith, which might have happened had he demanded specific answers according to his own time schedule. Instead he was willing to wait for the Lord’s answers in the Lord’s good time; he looked forward to the resolution that would come with his eternal reward. Therefore, he was willing to “wait for the Lord” through seasons of difficulty and pain. David concludes Psalm 27 with an imperative: “Wait for the Lord.”
Think About It: Am I willing to wait for the Lord? Do I have one or more issues on which I am waiting for the Lord? Do I believe I shall look on the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living?
Prayer: Lord, thank You that one day I shall behold Your goodness in my eternal home.