I am honoured and thrilled to welcome back Mandy from Blue Collar Theologian who has written our guest post today on Psalm 27. When Mandy volunteered to cover this precious Psalm my heart skipped for joy. My earliest memory of this Psalm is of my grandmother reading it to me as a lad; years later it meant much more to me as a believer. Having read this over several times I must say it is an excellent study deserving deep attention, it will richly reward any time spent on reading it. So dear reader here is Mandy…
Psalm 27 is one of Alan’s most beloved passages and I hope I will serve God, Alan and you dear reader well with this devotional.
A Psalm Of David.
1 The Lord is my light and my salvation;
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the strongholdof 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 ona 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!
David’s confidence in this psalm comes from being in a covenant relationship with Yahweh. David knows Yahweh intimately in both His Person and His Work, hence referring to Him as his “light…salvation…stronghold” (v 1). According to VanGemeren, ““Light” and “salvation” pertain to the work of God in giving relief and victory, crowning his people with his blessings…The purpose of the stronghold is to protect those who seek refuge (Psalms REBC, 2008, p. 281). David will not be afraid of his enemies and adversaries (vv 1b-2). Due to the Lord’s past protection, he is confident the Lord will divinely protect him against those who encamp against him (v 3).
David’s desire to “dwell in the house of the Lord” (v 4; cf. Ps 23:6) is second to none. “The temple was the visible expression of God’s presence and was sought after by the godly” (p. 283). David’s gazing on the Lord’s beauty is “an expression of his goodness to his people” (p. 283). When is the last time God’s people, individually and collectively, gazed on His beauty?!
David again refers to the Lord’s protection, where he will be hidden, concealed and lifted up above his enemies (v 5-6). From Genesis to Revelation the Bible is filled with songs of praise for the Lord’s protection and deliverance (Ex 15; Judges 5; 2 Sam 22; Luke 1-2; Col 3:16; Rev 4-5). David is no different and he offers “sacrifices with shouts of joy…sing[ing] and mak[ing] melody to the Lord” (v 6). Oh that God’s people today would rejoice in His protection and deliverance with singing and making melody!
In verses 7-10 there is a sudden mood change. David has gone from confident to anxious noted by the imperatives “hear…be gracious…answer” (v 7). David’s heart (mind, will and emotions) is seeking the Lord’s face (v 8). “Face” here refers to favor. David does not want the Lord to refuse him favor and blessing by hiding his face (v 9a). When David asks the Lord “turn not your servant away in anger” (v 9b) he means “do not reject my prayer with anger. The basis for this appeal is that God has been his help” (A. Ross, Psalms KEL, 2011, p 631). David then makes an appeal for the Lord to not forsake him (v 9d) because his father and mother have forsaken him (v 10). “Forsake” in verse 10 is most likely proverbial. David’s parents have “forsaken” him because they are deceased; as such, he “felt that he had no one to turn to for advice or support; and so the appeal to the LORD is more urgent. He would be saying to the LORD, do not abandon me because I am already alone” (p. 632). In his next breath, David affirms that the Lord will take him in (v 10b), meaning the Lord will take care of him. The Lord always has and always will take care of His people.
Because of his enemies, David commands the Lord to both teach (v 10) and lead him on a level path (v 11). “Only the Lord can take the psalmist and God’s people out of their distress and lead them into safety” (VanGemeren, p. 285). False witnesses have come against David and he prays asking the Lord to not give him up to their will (v 12). Although David is experiencing many difficulties and hardships from his adversaries, he ends this psalm “on a triumphant note” (p. 286). In verse 13, David genuinely “believes” that he will taste God’s “goodness” in fellowship, protection, guidance, and victory (cf. 23:6). The hope is based on the promises of God and on God’s covenantal name, Yahweh. “The land of the living” denotes “life” on earth over against the state of death” (p. 286).
In verse 14, “while these words were first addressed as an encouragement to [David’s] own heart, they had the intended effect of encouraging each and every godly person to draw courage from them” (VanGemeren, p. 286). The Lord NEVER gives us faith, comfort and encouragement in Him to keep it to ourselves! (2 Cor 1:3-7).
Father God, may we never stop longing for You and Your return. Lord may we seek after You and not the things of this world. Lord God, may we look for opportunities to share Your goodness with others. Lord God, for the reader who does not know You, may they seek You in the land of the living while there is still time. Lord God, may we face our trials, sicknesses and hardships confidently. Help us Lord when we are in time of doubt and anxiety to be quick to say, “the Lord is my light, salvation and stronghold.” Amen.