“The LORD is my light and salvation — whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life — of whom shall I be afraid? When evil men advance against me to devour my flesh, when my enemies and my foes attack me, they will stumble and fall. Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then will I be confident.” (Psalm 27:1-3) It is good for me to contemplate the psalmist’s attitude: challenged but confident. He is not living in a world of illusion. He fully recognizes the threats, the enemies, the possibility of future difficulties, and yet rests in the complete preparation that comes from having a covenant relationship with God through the Lord Jesus. Let the enemies arise! Let them threaten all they will! Because of divine power, provision, and protection, there is nothing to fear. Victory is the only possible outlook for the child of God!
“One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: 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 seek Him in His temple. For in the day of trouble, He will keep me safe in His dwelling; He will hide me in the shelter of His tabernacle and set me high upon a rock.” (Psalm 27:4-5) The psalmist realized that the only way to retain this condition of godly confidence was by dwelling continually in God’s presence, as close as he could be to his Lord. The children of Israel in Exodus 20:18 chose to stay at a distance when God spoke, and actually requested that God speak only to Moses, and not to them. These are the same ones of whom it was later written, “God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered over the desert.” (I Corinthians 10:5) Keeping our distance from God will never enable us to live in confidence and security.
We fear lest people would be deceived into thinking, like so many of the Jews apparently did, that there is salvation by association or by affiliation, in other words, that we can depend on our relationship with other people who are walking close to God. Regardless of how wonderful the group or fellowship that we may be a part of, salvation never comes by group membership! Having friends or family who walk in a living relationship with Christ can give us some marvelous advantages in life, but it will never save our soul! The psalmist understood that his source of security, hope, and joy was in dwelling deep within the temple — an Old Testament symbol of the Lord Jesus — instead of being content to go along with the shallow crowds who chose to keep their distance from God, yet trusted that by being “part of the group” they would somehow be kept safe in the day of trouble.
“My heart says of You, ‘Seek His face!’ Your face, LORD, I will seek.” (Psalm 27:8) We’re glad when our heart incites us often to seek His face, causing us to feel our need of an intimate approach into God’s presence. Yet at times, even when our heart is urging us to seek the Lord, the rest of our being is slow to respond, having other things to do, or feeling like later will be more convenient. It’s always rewarding when there is an immediate response of “Yes!” when our heart prompts us to pray. These times when we feel driven to prayer may often be the times when naturally we might hesitate to approach God, feeling unworthy or undone because of our sin, or because the enemy has gotten an advantage over us is some way, yet in such times we need more than ever what can be found only in His presence. Because of our Lord Jesus who opened the way through His sacrifice, we need never fear to approach God in our moment of need.
“Do not hide Your face from me, do not turn Your servant away in anger; You have been my helper. Do not reject me or forsake me, O God my Saviour. Though my father and mother forsake me, the LORD will receive me.” (Psalm 27:9-10) What an assurance we have through Jesus that in the most extreme circumstances, our God will not fail. We need not fear being abandoned! Though all others reject us, cast us out as renegades, reprobates, or hopeless cases, He will at that point claim custody of us! What love! What patience and care! There’s room for one more orphan in His household!
“Teach me Your way, O LORD; lead me in a straight path because of my oppressors. Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes, for false witnesses rise up against me, breathing out violence.” (Psalm 27:11-12) It’s a beautiful thing to watch abandoned children who finally have been adopted into a loving home, and to see their eagerness to become like their new parents; in so many ways, great and small, they imitate the ones who rescued them from their plight. Yes, there are still challenges in life, but each difficulty can be met head-on, knowing all will be well and the future is secure because we are learning from the one who has loved us and given Himself for us.
“I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.” (Psalm 27:13-14) The hope we have in Christ is not only for the life to come, but a here-and-now present reality. We aren’t defeatists, only waiting for death to resolve things. He delights in showering us with His blessings on a daily basis and proving by His gracious care that we are indeed His children. The secret of enjoying this provision is in learning to wait on Him. How often we’re tempted to take action by ourselves, yet our human weakness reacts in ways that are unlike God and incompatible with His will. True godly strength would often prompt us to do nothing on our own, but rather to trust with courage that holds fasts and waits until God gives clear answers, leaving the way open for Him to work in His perfect time and way. Waiting and trusting with patient confidence in divine strength and guidance will always enable us to glory in His triumph and share His victory.