1 The Lord is my light and my salvation—
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
of whom shall I be afraid?
2 When the wicked advance against me
to devour me,
it is my enemies and my foes
who will stumble and fall.
3 Though an army besiege me,
my heart will not fear;
though war break out against me,
even then I will be confident.
4 One thing I ask from the Lord,
this only do I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to gaze on the beauty of the Lord
and to seek him in his temple.
5 For in the day of trouble
he will keep me safe in his dwelling;
he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent
and set me high upon a rock.
6 Then my head will be exalted
above the enemies who surround me;
at his sacred tent I will sacrifice with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make music to the Lord.
7 Hear my voice when I call, Lord;
be merciful to me and answer me.
8 My heart says of you, “Seek his face!”
Your face, Lord, I will seek.
9 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,
God my Savior.
10 Though my father and mother forsake me,
the Lord will receive me.
11 Teach me your way, Lord;
lead me in a straight path
because of my oppressors.
12 Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes,
for false witnesses rise up against me,
spouting malicious accusations.
13 I remain confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living.
14 Wait for the Lord;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the Lord.
(Psalm 27:1-14 NIV)
In this wonderful psalm, we see David addressing a problem common to all of us: fear.
We often think of David as fearless – after all, as a youth, he confronted and killed a bear and a lion when they tried to take one of his sheep. And he confronted and killed Goliath, the giant Philistine who had been taunting and ridiculing the entire Israeli army for weeks.
But David did struggle with fear. And in today’s text, we see David the private person share his thoughts and concerns, not David the public figure, not David the king.
When you and I face fear, what do we typically do? Either try to run from it or build a “battle plan” to face it and address it head-on, right? We try to deal with the fear in our own strength.
But David had a different approach. He remembered God’s goodness, power, and protection in the past, and wrote down what God had done for him. David was not filled with self-confidence, but rather, God-confidence (vv. 1 – 3).
In verses 4 – 6, notice what David asks for. He does not ask for an immense army to protect him, or an impenetrable fortress to retreat into. Rather, he presses deeply into the Lord, his refuge and strength. Notice the pronouns that David uses in this section – “I”, “me”, “my” – personal words, not corporate words. This is an entry from David’s personal diary, not the entries in the king’s daily activity log.
Verses 7 – 8 are David’s direct request of the Lord, and the Lord’s answer. David simply asked for the Lord to hear him, not demanding God’s attention but requesting God’s mercy (v. 7). The Lord answered, not audibly, but in David’s heart, quietly, in that small inner voice, God’s spirit, that said, “seek His face!”. And David’s immediate response was that of simple compliance and obedience – “Your face, Lord, I will seek.”
Likewise, we are called to abide in the Lord, to seek His face and trust Him for the daily grind of life. If God gave us the blueprint for our lives, we would either try to negotiate the bad parts out, or run ahead of Him and experience all the good stuff on our own. Instead, we are called to walk with Him.
David feels alone and abandoned by everyone else (including his own parents), and asks God not to turn His face away because of David’s fearful heart. David is confessing his sin of fear and lack of trust in the Lord during this difficult time. Once again, David places His trust and confidence in the Lord (v. 10).
In verses 11 – 13, David asks the Lord to lead him through the tough times ahead. David is not out of danger, but rather in the midst of it. And David’s confidence is in God alone.
David concludes by reminding himself to wait for the Lord, to be strong in the Lord, to wait for the Lord’s leading, courage, and deliverance (v. 14).
May we take David’s words and plan to heart as we face our fears today.