I am always struck by our sense of self sufficiency when it comes to life. The story of the person driving around in a crowded parking lot, desperate to find a place to park her car is a classic example. If you have heard it before, forgive me because I am going to repeat it. Well this person eventually in desperation cries out to the Lord, “Lord, please, I really need to find a parking space. Lord, if you find one for me I promise I will spend time in prayer with you every day and go to church this coming Sunday.” Just at that very moment, right in front of her car there was the one and only parking space she had seen. Without taking a breath she said, “Oh, don’t worry, Lord, I’ve just found one.”
Life is difficult. We face challenges every day and we often see these as enemies. People compete against us, threaten us and even assault us and we feel vulnerable. In Psalm 27 King David also was feeling vulnerable and yet, instead of writing a song about how he was going to defeat his enemies (remember he was a remarkable general of his army and led his soldiers to many a victory, eventually expanding the boarders of Israel to their greatest ever) he writes about how it is God who will protect him and save him. David was under no allusion that his victories were his own. On the contrary he was a man of extraordinary faith and love for God. He knew that he had to rely upon God for everything, and I mean, everything! David knew that he had enemies both without and within his court. Life was tenuous especially for a person in his position.
The remarkable thing about David is his desire not to merely hold to the premise that there is a God and that he had to go through the religious rituals, but to encounter God in a very personal and real way. For David relationship with God was an imperative.
How is your relationship with God? Honestly now, when last did you experience the presence of the Lord in your life? All too often we get so involved in this life and the physical environment about us that we lose sight of the fact that the Lord is right here, patiently waiting for us to respond to Him. The problem is that sometimes it takes a while before God does make His presence felt. He wants us to persevere in our request for Him. And when He reveals Himself to us do we recognise it or discount it as some aberration of our imagination? I have often said that I believe God has spoken to me. Can I prove it? No, not in an empirical way I cannot. But the effect it has had on strengthening my faith and my relationship with Him makes me sure that it was really God speaking to me.
So when we face a challenge in our lives, it is all too easy to try and solve the problem ourselves than to put it into the hands of God. We even go as far as to point with derision and criticism at others who do rely heavily upon God and being impractical!
Life is hard and things go wrong. Our Lord does not fix everything; I am sure you are aware of that, but He does give us the strength to cope and the wisdom to do the right thing.
David ends this psalm with a wonderful statement. He is convinced that he will see the Lord’s goodness. He goes on to encourage us to three things. Firstly to be strong. Strength comes from exercise and perseverence. Strength helps us to overcome the obstacles that we find in our lives. In Ephesians 6:11 St Paul writes, “Put on the full armour of God so that you can fight against the Devil’s evil tricks.” Therein lies your strength.
Secondly, David calls us to be brave. Brave against who? Well the Scriptures say, “the Devil, your enemy, goes around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to eat.” (1 Peter 5:8). James says, “Stand against the Devil and the devil will flee from you.” (James 4:7). Finally David gives the third word of encouragement and that is to wait upon the Lord for his help. God does not work like a puppet on a string. He works in His time and for the overall benefit of His creation. Hang in there! God has a plan for you and it is a plan for your greater good. We serve a wonderful God who truly loves us.
- Rev Jonathan Meintjes
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 Saviour.
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.