REASON TO BELIEVE
Heavenly Father, on the first day and first Sunday of a new year, I thank you for the wonder of life and the mystery of your love.
Read PSALM 27
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[a] 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 27:2 Or slander
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectRecognizing God’s care for you, bring all your anxieties before him honestly now.
There is dynamic interplay at work in this psalm, between confidence in God and seeking after God. The psalmist’s confidence in God (v 1) drives him to seek God’s presence (vs 4,7,8) which, in turn, serves to consolidate his confidence in God (vs 13,14). This affirmation of trust in God is occasioned by acute adversity – a matter of life or death (vs 2,3). The precise nature of the threat remains unspecified, so this psalm is appropriate for use in any circumstances that tempt us to surrender faith to fear.
The focus of God’s presence for the psalmist is the temple (vs 4,5). His prayer that God will come to his aid and guide him through the present crisis is set in the context of his desire to continue to be able to enjoy encountering the divine presence in the house of the Lord. However, this is not something the psalmist does in isolation. To talk of the temple as he does is to reference the worship life of Israel. Trust and confidence in God are renewed here in community – and this psalm (like all psalms) was provided and preserved for community use.
In light of this, the worship life of our churches should be an essential means of seeking and finding fresh confidence in God, doing so in honest acknowledgement of those terrors that threaten our trust in him.
Meditate on Psalm 27:1. As you do so, note how emphasizing different words affects its power and your understanding.
Yes Lord, I resonate with the psalmist; I want a personal and dynamic relationship with you: to reflect on you, and to seek you above everything else.
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