Tag Archives: Christianity

Psalm 27: A Psalm of Fearless Trust in God

A Psalm of David.

The Lord is my light and my salvation;
Whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the defense of my life;
Whom shall I dread?
2 When evildoers came upon me to devour my flesh,
My adversaries and my enemies, they stumbled and fell.
3 Though a host encamp against me,
My heart will not fear;
Though war arise against me,
In spite of this I shall be confident.

4 One thing I have asked from the Lord, that I shall seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,
To behold the beauty of the Lord
And to meditate in His temple.


5 For in the day of trouble He will conceal me in His tabernacle;
In the secret place of His tent He will hide me;
He will lift me up on a rock.
6 And now my head will be lifted up above my enemies around me,
And I will offer in His tent sacrifices with shouts of joy;
I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the Lord.

7 Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice,
And be gracious to me and answer me.
8 When You said, “Seek My face,” my heart said to You,
“Your face, O Lord, I shall seek.”
9 Do not hide Your face from me,
Do not turn Your servant away in anger;
You have been my help;
Do not abandon me nor forsake me,
O God of my salvation!
10 For my father and my mother have forsaken me,
But the Lord will take me up.

11 Teach me Your way, O Lord,
And lead me in a level path
Because of my foes.
12 Do not deliver me over to the desire of my adversaries,
For false witnesses have risen against me,
And such as breathe out violence.
13 I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord
In the land of the living.
14 Wait for the Lord;
Be strong and let your heart take courage;
Yes, wait for the Lord.

Out of all the things David asks of the Lord, which one is the highest on your lists of things that you would want from God today? I indicated mine in bold above.

There is pleasure in gazing upon the mighty and majestic. When the subject is perfectly mighty and majestic in all His ways, then there is a corresponding satisfaction. This gratification does not come automatically, hence the need and request for a place to “dwell” and “meditate.”

Word Cloud

What’s a word cloud? An attractive arrangement of randomly positioned words, where the most important words are bigger than the others.

This shows this psalm to be a prayer and the disclosing of one’s heart.

Here is what Word Cloud looks like after removing 3 words “Lord,” “me,” and “I” from the list. Consider these to be keywords.

The following is taken directly from The Treasury of David by Spurgeon.

————

More and more is the conviction forced upon my heart that every man must traverse the territory of the Psalms himself if he would know what a goodly land they are. They flow with milk and honey, but not to strangers; they are only fertile to lovers of their hills and vales. None but the Holy Spirit can give a man the key to the Treasury of David; and even he gives it rather to experience than to study. Happy is he who for himself knows the secret of the Psalms.

C. H. Spurgeon Clapham,
November, 1870.

Title and Subject

Nothing whatever can be drawn from the title as to the time when this Psalm was written, for the heading, “A Psalm of David,” is common to so many of the Psalms; but if one may judge from the matter of the song, the writer was pursued by enemies, Ps 27:2-3, was shut out from the house of the Lord, Ps 27:4, was just parting from father and mother, Ps 27:10, and was subject to slander, Ps 27:12; do not all these meet in the time when Doeg, the Edomite, spake against him to Saul? [1 Samuel 21:7 through 22]

It is a song of cheerful hope, well fitted for those in trial who have learned to lean upon the Almighty arm. The Psalm may with profit be read in a threefold way, as the language of David, of the Church, and of the Lord Jesus. The plenitude of Scripture will thus appear the more wonderful.

Division

The poet first sounds forth his sure confidence in his God, Ps 27:1-3, and his love of communion with him, Ps 27:4-6. He then betakes himself to prayer, Ps 27:7-12, and concludes with an acknowledgment of the sustaining power of faith in his own case, and an exhortation to others to follow his example.

We Can Have Confidence

Here are some clippings from a short article reminding us that we can have confidence in the midst of these difficulties.

We Can Have Confidence

  • Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket
  • Isaiah and Augustine have much in common. Both faced seismic political change and social upheaval. Doomsday predictions swirled around them both. People were packing their bags and lacing up their running shoes. Some were hiding in caves. Nevertheless, both Isaiah and Augustine faced these cataclysmic changes with confidence and courage because they had their eyes fixed upon God.
  • We also learn that confidence in God is not an excuse to disengage or to retreat from our present circumstances.
  • Confidence in God is not a reason to have overconfidence in our stratagems or in politics. That, too, is a lesson history teaches us.
  • Instead, confidence in God means boldness to deploy that which God has instituted and to rely upon the means He has given us.

The Most High

That they may know that You alone, whose name is the Lord,
Are the Most High over all the earth.
Psalms 83:18

Coming to the end of this psalm we see the point and purpose of this petition and plea – the knowledge of God. Stand before a skyscraper and marvel at its height and grandeur. Feel small before it as you peer up into the sky above and yet know God is greater, God is higher, God is most high. If a tall building can impact you in any way, then how much more a divine living being?

Man builds towers (Genesis 11:3-4) to expand his dominion and kingdom, but God is greater.

Man hides himself from God’s greatness and that deprives him of the very life he seeks to have (Genesis 3:7-10).

This psalmist knew like Jesus knew that life consists of peering up at the Most High.

John 17:3 “This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.

The following is taken directly from The Treasury of David by Spurgeon.

————

EXPOSITION

That men may know that thou, whose name alone is JEHOVAH, art the most high over all the earth. Hearing of the Lord’s marvellous deeds in defeating such a numerous confederacy, the very heathen would be compelled to acknowledge the greatness of Jehovah. We read in 2 Chron 20:30, that the fear of God was on all the neighbouring kingdoms when they heard that Jehovah fought against the enemies of Israel. Jehovah is essentially the Most High. He who is self existent is infinitely above all creatures, all the earth is but his footstool. The godless race of man disregards this, and yet at times the wonderful works of the Lord compel the most unwilling to adore his majesty. Thus has this soul stirring lyric risen from the words of complaint to those of adoration; let us in our worship always seek to do the same. National trouble called out the nation’s poet laureate, and well did he discourse at once of her sorrows, and prayers, and hopes. Sacred literature thus owes much to sorrow and distress. How enriching is the hand of adversity! The following attempt to verify the Psalm, and tune it to gospel purposes, is submitted with great diffidence.

O God, be thou no longer still,
Thy foes are leagued against thy law;
Make bare thine arm on Zion’s hill,
Great Captain of our Holy War.

As Amalek and Ishmael
Had war for ever with thy seed,
So all the hosts of Rome and hel
Against the Son their armies led.

Though they are agreed in nought beside,
Against thy truth they all unite;
They rave against the Crucified,
And hate the gospel’s growing might.

By Kishon’s brook all Jabin’s band
At thy rebuke were swept away;
O Lord, display thy mighty hand,
A single stroke shall win the day.

Come, rushing wind, the stubble chase!
Come, sacred fire, the forests burn!
Come, Lord, with all thy conquering grace,
Rebellious hearts to Jesus turn!

That men may know at once that thou,
Jehovah, lovest truth right well;
And that thy church shall never bow
Before the boastful gates of hell.

 

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

That men may know that thou, whose name alone is JEHOVAH, etc. Early English History informs us, that some bloodthirsty persecutors were marching on a band of Christians. The Christians, seeing them approaching, marched out towards them, and at the top of their voices, shouted, “Hallelujah, hallelujah!” (Praise Jehovah). The name of the Lord being presented, the rage of the persecutors abated. Josephus says, that the Great Alexander, when on his triumphal march, being met near Jerusalem by the Jewish high priest, on whose mitre was engraved the name of Jehovah, “approached by himself and adored that name,” and was disarmed of his hostile intent. There was significance and power in the glorious old name as written by the Jews. But the name of Jesus is now far more mighty in the world than was the name Jehovah in these earlier ages. —”The Dictionary of Illustrations,” 1872.

JEHOVAH is one of the incommunicable names of God, which signifies his eternal essence. The Jews observe that in God’s name Jehovah the Trinity is implied. Je signifies the present tense, ho the preterperfect tense, vah, the future. The Jews also observe that in his name Jehovah all the Hebrew letters are literae quiescentes, that denotes rest, implying that in God and from God is all our rest. Every gracious soul is like Noah’s dove, he can find no rest nor satisfaction but in God. God alone is the godly man’s ark of rest and safety. Jehovah is the incommunicable name of God, and is never attributed to any but God: Thou, whose name alone is JEHOVAH.

The most high. His being the High and lofty One, notes forth the transcendancy and super excellency of his divine being in himself, and that it is utterly of another kind from creatures, and indeed that it only is truly being. When the Psalmist says,

That men may know that thou, whose name alone in JEHOVAH art the MOST HIGH over all the earth, he thereby argues his height from his name, that his name is alone Jehovah, and therefore he is most high, and in that very respect. Now Jehovah is the name of his essence, “I AM,” and he is MOST HIGH in respect of such a glorious being as is proper alone unto him. Thomas Goodwin.

HINTS TO THE VILLAGE PREACHER

The Golden Lesson: how taught, to whom, by whom, through whom?

Let Them Go

Let them be ashamed and dismayed forever,
And let them be humiliated and perish,
Psalms 83:17

Notice the word “let.” It means to permit; to allow; to suffer; to give leave or power by a positive act. God is holding them back from this everlasting fate, but the Psalmist now requests He let them go. Let them be this; let them be that. Like a ship and crew that gives way to the wind and the storm.

Acts 27:15 and when the ship was caught in it and could not face the wind, we gave way to it and let ourselves be driven along.

Secondly, notice the word “forever.” Read again this request with that word emphasized. It underscores how contrary to God, how contrary to life, how contrary to our purpose in life to love that these evil people have become to earn such an enduring punishment as this. It is a capital offense of the highest kind.

The following is taken directly from The Treasury of David by Spurgeon.

————

EXPOSITION

Where no good result followed, and the men remained as fierce and obstinate as ever, justice was invoked to carry out the capital sentence.

Let them be confounded and troubled for ever; yea, let them be put to shame, and perish. What else could be done with them? It was better that they perished than that Israel should be rooted up. What a terrible doom it will be to the enemies of God to be “confounded, and troubled for ever,” to see all their schemes and hopes defeated, and their bodies and souls full of anguish without end: from such a shameful perishing may our souls be delivered.

HINTS TO THE VILLAGE PREACHER

The righteous fate of persecutors, and troublers.

Shaming The Evil Ones

Fill their faces with dishonor,
That they may seek Your name, O Lord.
Psalms 83:16

Those so wed to evil that they would destroy God’s people or anyone ought to be stopped and if not stopped shamed.

I will let Calvin speak on this verse:

When he declares (verse 16) that, as the result of this, they will seek the name of God, he is not to be understood as speaking of their being brought to true repentance, or of their genuine conversion. I indeed admit that the first step to genuine repentance is when men, brought low by affliction, willingly humble themselves. But what is here meant is nothing more than a forced and slavish submission like that of Pharaoh, king of Egypt. It is a case of frequent occurrence for the wicked, when subdued by adversity, to give glory to God, for a short period. But they are soon again carried away with a frantic madness, which clearly discovers their hypocrisy, and brings to light the pride and rebellion which lurked in their hearts. What the prophet desires is, that the wicked may be compelled by stripes to acknowledge God, whether they will or no, in order that their fury, which breaks forth because they escape with impunity, may at least be kept under restraint. This is more clearly apparent from the 17th verse, where he distinctly prays that they may be destroyed forever; which would not at all correspond with his previous statement, were it regarded as a prayer for their being brought to repentance. Calvin’s Commentaries

The following is taken directly from The Treasury of David by Spurgeon.

————

EXPOSITION

Fill their faces with shame; that they may seek thy name, O Lord. Shame has often weaned men from their idols, and set them upon seeking the Lord. If this was not the happy result, in the present instance, with the Lord’s enemies, yet it would be so with his people who were so prone to err. They would be humbled by his mercy, and ashamed of themselves because of his grace; and then they would with sincerity return to the earnest worship of Jehovah their God, who had delivered them.

HINTS TO THE VILLAGE PREACHER

A prayer for the Pope and his priests.

Terrify Them

So pursue them with Your tempest
And terrify them with Your storm.
Psalms 83:15

Create a terror (a tempest, a storm) greater than the tempest and storm the evil ones concoct in order to dissuade them from their wicked course of action. When I read Revelation I wonder if all those natural disasters serve the same purpose – to knock the evil ones off their course.

The following is taken directly from The Treasury of David by Spurgeon.

————

EXPOSITION

So persecute them with thy tempest, and make them afraid with thy storm. The Lord will follow up his enemies, alarm them, and chase them till they are put to a hopeless rout. He did this, according to the prayer of the present Psalm, for his servant Jehoshaphat; and in like manner will he come to the rescue of any or all of his chosen.

HINTS TO THE VILLAGE PREACHER

Ver. 13-15. The instability, restlessness and impotence of the wicked; their horror when God deals with them in justice.

Burn

Like fire that burns the forest
And like a flame that sets the mountains on fire,
Psalms 83:14

Those fires in forest and mountain serve a purpose. The dead and worthless are consumed to give way to the living. May this dead and worthless evil that obstructs God be consumed in the same manner.

The following is taken directly from The Treasury of David by Spurgeon.

————

EXPOSITION

As the fire burneth a wood. Long years have strewn the ground with deep deposits of leaves; these being dried in the sun are very apt to take fire, and when they do so the burning is terrific. The underwood and the ferns blaze, the bushes crackle, the great trees kindle and to their very tops are wrapped in fire, while the ground is all red as a furnace. In this way, O Lord, mete out destruction to thy foes, and bring all of them to an end.

The flame setteth the mountains on fire. Up the hill sides the hanging woods glow like a great sacrifice, and the forests on the mountain’s crown smoke towards heaven. Even thus, O Lord, do thou conspicuously and terribly overthrow the enemies of thine Israel.

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Mountains on fire. Many of the mountains in this country are covered with dense forests. The leaves which fall every autumn accumulate, sometimes for years, until we have a particularly dry summer, when, somehow or other, either by accident or design, they are always set on fire, and burn sometimes for several days. The mountains in one of the States of the neighbouring Republic are on fire at this very moment while I am now writing, and have been burning for more than a week, and we can distinctly see the red glare in the sky above them, although from their great distance, even the tops of the mountains themselves from whence the flames arise are beyond the limits of our horizon. — From Philip Musgrave: or Memoirs of a Church of England Missionary in the North American Colonies.” 1846.

Fire has greater force on a mountain, where the wind is more powerful, than upon a wood situated in a valley. — Honorius Augustodunensis.

Humboldt saw forests on fire in South America and thus describes them. “Several parts of the vast forests which surround the mountain, had taken fire. Reddish flames, half enveloped in clouds of smoke, presented a very grand spectacle. The inhabitants set fire to the forests, to improve the pasturage, and to destroy the shrubs that choke the grass. Enormous conflagrations, too, are often caused by the carelessness of the Indians, who neglect, when they travel, to extinguish the fires by which they have dressed their food.”

Let us pray the divine aid to break this power and enmity of the natural man; that it may yield unto the word of grace; and let the wood, hay and stubble of all false doctrine perish before the brightness of the face of God. — Edward Walter. 1854.