I have a brief disclaimer here for you! This is my first attempt at a blog post with the goal to walk the reader through a passage. Usually, in a blog post, I try my best to be brief and concise, honoring the time of my reader. However, with this experience, I learned that when it comes to breaking down the scriptures, there is simply so much good information worth including. Therefore, I suggest you set aside a bit of time to read through this while studying the verses. If you make a point to do this, I know our God will bless your efforts.
It’s not often I take hours and hours to study a chapter from God’s Word. I wish I could say this was a weekly practice of mine, but that would not be true. I did, however, set lots of time aside recently to study Psalm 27:1-14. You see, in my small group Bible Study that meets every Thursday, 9:30-noon, in my friend, Sara’s home, is taking turns this year leading a Psalm of our choice. I led our group on November 9, 2017. I find it to be such a rich time to spend with God when I do take time out to really study a passage.
I chose this Psalm for many reasons. It has been a favorite of mine for the past decade. For the sake of time, I will not go into the reasons I am drawn to this one so much, but I would love to share details with you in person should we get the chance.
Also, for the sake of time and space here on this post, I will only break down the following verses for us: Psalm 27:1-4; 7-8; 13-14.
Most of my studying of this Psalm revolved around Charles H. Spurgeon’s Treasure of David Writings. I suggest you open your Bible and take time out to read through the verses now or as you go through the notes on each verse.
The writer, presumably David, was clearly pursued by enemies. Still, this Psalm is a song of cheerful hope, well-fitted for those in trial who have learned to lean upon the Almighty arm. The 27th Psalm may be read in a threefold way:
David sounds forth his sure confidence in his God, along with his love of communion with God. (verses 1-6)
David prays fervently. (verses 7-12)
David concludes with an acknowledgement of the sustaining power of faith in his own personal case, along with an exhortation (encouragement, persuasion) to follow his example. (verses 13-14)
Verse 1: Notice the words “my” and “me” which makes this statement very personal. Salvation finds us in The Dark, but it does not leave us there. It gives light to those who sit in the valley of the shadow of death. After conversion, our God is our Joy, our Comfort, our Guide, our Teacher, and in every sense He is our Light. He is light within, light around, light reflected from us, and light to be revealed to us. Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life. Of whom shall I be afraid? These 3 questions form a epithet, to show that the writer’s hope was fastened with a threefold cord which could not be broken. (see Deuteronomy 33:27, Romans 8:35, and Ecclesiastes 4:12)
Application: Have you and I claimed these promises that God is our light and our salvation? How do you and I rely on the strength of God in hard times?
Verse 2: Here a past deliverance is recorded, along with evidences of the tremendous trials David found himself in.
Application: What enemies are you and I facing today? (illness, grief,adversity, lack of resources, marital/parenting issues, depression, a self-induced stronghold, or __________) Do you and I trust our God to conquer our enemies?
Verse 3: There is no doubt that the shadow of anticipated trouble can be a more prolific source of sorrow than the trouble itself, (most of us would admit to be worriers) but faith puts a strong support to the back of courage, and throws out of the window the dregs of the cup of trembling. Though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident. When it actually comes to push of pike, (I call this ‘when the rubber meets the road’) faith’s shield will ward off the blow; and if the first brush should be but the beginning of a war, yet faith’s banners will wave in spite of the foe. Application: Have you and I been delivered out of great danger or uncertainty? Let us praise and thank Him for this deliverance.
Verse 4: One thing. Divided aims tend to distraction, weakness, disappointment. Have I desired what we cannot at once attain, it is well to desire. God judges us very much by the desire of our hearts. He who rides a lame horse is not blamed by his master for want of speed, if he makes all the haste he can, and would make more if he could; God takes the will for the deed with his children. Of the Lord. This is the right target for desires, this is the well into which to dip our buckets, this is the door to knock at, the bank to draw upon. That will I seek after. Holy desires must lead to resolute action. The old proverb says, “Wishers and ‘woulders’ are never good housekeepers, “and “wishing never fills a sack.” That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life. For the sake of communion with the King, David longed to dwell always in the palace; so far from being wearied with the services of the Tabernacle, he longed to be constantly engaged in them, as his life long pleasure. To behold the beauty of the Lord. An exercise both for earthly and heavenly worshippers.
Application: Is our personal relationship with Christ the “one” thing that soothes our sorrows, guides us in difficulty, strengthening us in weakness? If not, why not? Today, let us claim Him as our One and Only.
*Message one of us in Leadership here on LWLC if you want to chat about this or anything else.
Verse 7: Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice. The pendulum of spirituality swings from prayer to praise. As a good soldier, David knew how to handle his weapons, and found himself much at home with the weapon of “all prayer.” Note his anxiety to be heard. Pharisees care not a fig for the Lord’s hearing them, so long as they are heard of men, or charm their own pride with their sounding devotions; but with a genuine man, the Lord’s ear is everything. The voice may be profitably used even in private prayer; for though it is unnecessary, it is often helpful, and aids in preventing distractions. Have mercy also upon me. Mercy is the hope of sinners and the refuge of saints. And answer me. We should expect answers to prayer in His perfect timing.
Application: Do you and I pray expectantly? Do we believe that God hears us when we call out to Him?
Verse 8: In this verse we are taught that if we would have the Lord hear our voice, we must be careful to respond to his voice. The true heart should echo the will of God as the rocks among the Alps repeat in sweetest music the notes of the peasant’s horn. Seek ye; Thy face, Lord, will I seek. The voice of the Lord is very effectual where all other voices fail. When thou saidst, then my heart, my inmost nature was moved to an obedient reply. Note the promptness of the response–no sooner said than done; as soon as God said “seek, “the heart said, “I will seek.” Oh, for more of this holy readiness! Would to God that we were more flexible towards the divine hand, more sensitive of the touch of God’s Spirit. Remember, it is during our most painful times, when we seek Him, we will find Him every time.
Application: Do you and I practice Psalm 46:10, “Be still and know that I am God,” listening with our whole hearts for His still, small voice? A C.S. Lewis quote speaks to this: “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts in our pain. It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”
Verse 13. I remain confident of this: Hope is heaven’s balm for present sorrow. In this land of the dying, it is our blessedness to be looking and longing for our fair portion in the land of the living. We must believe to see, not see to believe; we must wait the appointed time, and stay our soul’s hunger with foretastes of the Lord’s eternal goodness which shall soon be our feast and our song.
Application: Do we lean into God’s Mighty Arms when you are walking through a trial? Do we go to “the throne” before we go to “the phone”?
Verse 14. Wait on the Lord. Wait at his door with prayer; wait at his foot with humility; wait at his table with service; wait at his window with expectancy. Be of good courage. A soldier’s motto. Be it mine. Courage we shall need, and for the exercise of it we have as much reason as necessity, if we are soldiers of King Jesus. And he shall strengthen thine heart. He can lay the strength right upon the weak place. Let the heart be strengthened, and the whole machine of humanity is filled with power; a strong heart makes a strong arm. What strength is this which God himself gives to the heart? Wait, I say, on the Lord. David, in the words “I say,” sets his own private seal to the word which, as an inspired man, he had been moved to write. It is his testimony as well as the command of God, and indeed he who writes these scanty notes has himself found it so sweet, so reviving, so profitable to draw near to God, that on his own account he also feels bound to write, “Wait, I SAY, on the Lord.”
Application: Sometimes God says “Yes”. Sometimes He says “No”. And sometimes He says “Wait”. Are you and I willing to trust Him while we are in a “waiting room”? How might God ‘grow us while we are waiting?
I am currently reading a book brought to my attention by one of our members, Julie Preston Franklin: In the Middle of the Mess: Strength for this Beautiful, Broken Life, by, Sheila Walsh. In this book, Walsh references Psalm 27 as she shares transparently and courageously struggles she has had in her life journey and how she is learning to use the spiritual applications of confession, prayer, and meditation on scripture. Sheila Walsh demonstrates how we can experience new joy as children of God who are fully known, fully loved and fully accepted. And this Psalm that we have been studying here today helps us to do this as well.
In closing, I hope and pray that each of us here at LWLC will find great encouragement and courage to go forward as a soldier in Christ’s Army.
About the Author: Joan Page serves on the ‘Ladies Who Love Christ’ Leadership Team & is a wife, mom & avid writer. She shares her life experience and inspiration & encouragement on her blog ‘Pages from Joan’ at http://www.JoanWPage.com