This past week, Randall Gruendyke led us to examine our lives in view of the standard set out in Psalm 1. Are we the blessed man who lives every moment delighting in and meditating on God’s law? Seriously? How can we be? Through Christ and Christ alone we receive the righteousness of the One Righteous Man. Through Him alone we are the blessed of God, the redeemed of the Lord.
This week, we will look at life for the redeemed man, the one who is planted and nurtured by God. The picture may surprise. In Psalm 27, David reveals his life, a life of storms and turmoil and personal sin. It is not a walk in the park. But through all the upheaval, it is a life lived in light of his relationship with the God who made him and saves him. It is not a life in a sheltered garden. Like our lives, it is full of circumstances to raise fears, worries and doubts.
As you read through Psalm 27, look at the aspects of David’s life that he shows us. So much of it is a list of enemy attacks. Through this litany of adversity, his heart keeps turning to the Lord, the one who saved him from the “paw of the lion and the paw of the bear” and the giant Philistine. Though the enemies keep coming, he keeps remembering. He focuses on God’s past interventions and prays for future salvation with confidence, even though he needs to tell his heart to take courage. Like us, he still fears what may come.
The key to David’s confidence in spite of fears, seems to be the close relationship he has with the Lord. He knows the One he serves. He serves a great God, greater than all his enemies. He serves a beautiful God, whom he seeks after earnestly. He serves a God who speaks to him and whom he eagerly answers. He serves a saving God who will not forsake him though he sins. He serves a God closer than his parents, who blesses him in the “land of the living.” As you think of these aspects of his relationship with God, think of your own view of Him. Is He to you as He was to David? Since we have more revelation of God than David had, might not our view of God be even more compelling, more active, more all-consuming? But is it?
Pray through this psalm as your own prayer. Which verses are easy to identify with as your own? Which are harder? Are there some that make no sense at all to you? As you prepare for Rob Lister’s sermon on Psalm 27 this week, keep praying through these verses and let them have their effect on your heart. Perhaps we too can learn to bring all our yearnings down to, “One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after.” What is the “One thing”? “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:33 For David, and, I hope, for us, God Himself is the One Thing, the source, the means and the goal of all things, whom David seeks and cries to and beholds. If He isn’t that “one thing” for us, let us remember, as David did, all His mercies and blessings toward us. Then ask the Holy Spirit to change our hearts until He is our One and Only heart’s desire.
Eugene Peterson, in Praying the Psalms, offers this prayer as a short summary of Psalm 27: “I refuse, O God, to live fearfully or cautiously. I name my fears one by one and turn them over to you, and find them simply trivial when set alongside your majesty. With lifted head I will live in your light and salvation, through Jesus Christ. Amen.”
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7
Resources: Spurgeon, Treasury of David, http://www.spurgeon.org/treasury/treasury.php
Bible Gateway, dozens of Bible translations, www.biblegateway.com
Eugene Peterson, Praying the Psalms
Mahalia Jackson singing verses from Psalm 27, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ucci_QQLWKg