Whom Shall I Fear (Psalm 27)
Structure of Psalm 27
A) Confidence in God’s Presence (vv1-3)
B) Praise for God’s Presence (vv4-6)
B’) Prayer for God’s Presence (vv7-12)
A’) Confidence in God’s Presence (vv13-14)
Confidence in God’s Light (vv1-3) - David confesses confidence in the Lord because all is in His hand. God has caused his enemies to fall in the past, there he confesses in faith confidence in God. We should have the same confidence in God: He is our light, our deliverance, and our victory (v1). The result of this is faith not fear and worship not worry. Fear comes when that which we trust fails. But if our trust is in God, He never fails. Even in the face of a host of enemies, “My heart will not fear” (v3). Confidence in our relationship with the Lord keeps us from fearing enemies and from the fear of man.
Concealing in God’s Presence (vv4-6) - David desired to dwell in God’s presence and be concealed there (v4). This setting of the presence of God is fascinating: David established a house of worship in Jerusalem on Mount Zion (1Chr. 16), even while the Tabernacle of Moses was in Gibeon (2Chr. 1:3). In the “Tabernacle of David” (Amos 9:11; Acts 15:16), he met the living God through praise and prayer (without animal sacrifices). He offered the sacrifices of praise, the fruit of lips which give thanks (v6; Heb. 13:15). David’s worship pictured the reality in which we live: new covenant worship and access to the Father through Christ. We must seek God’s presence because only in seeing Him as He is will we worship Him as we ought. True worship involves meditation which is contemplating the beauty of the Lord (vv4 & 6). This kind of worship lifts us above our enemies (5-6).
Comfort in Troubles (vv 7-12) - David cries out for God’s presence and for the Lord not to abandon him in the face of His enemies. False witnesses and adversaries had arisen. David calls on the Lord, rather than his own flesh. God called David to “seek His face” and David did so (v8). We should also cry out for God’s presence in the times when we feel abandoned, knowing that He will not forsake us (vv9-10). This surprising turn in the mood (v7) represents the ordinary experience of believers who are to cast their cares on Him (1Pet. 5:7). We prepare in worship and then we face life challenges. We must remember He will “take me up” - He will give comfort (strength) (v11).
Courage instead of Despair (vv13-14) - In the last verses David returns to the theme of confidence. He would have despaired except for faith in the Covenant LORD. So now David exhorts his brethren: “Wait for the Covenant LORD; Be strong and let your heart take courage . . .” (v14). If we have such confidence in God shown by our worship, then despite our “day of trouble” confidence and peace through the Lord will come. However, despair will come “unless we believe” in “the goodness of the LORD” (v13). The spiritual discipline to practice is patience instead of anxiety, peace in Him in place of panic.
Gregg Strawbridge, Ph.D., is the pastor of All Saints Church in Lancaster, PA. He became a committed follower of Jesus Christ at age 20, discipled in the context of a University Navigator Ministry. As a result of personal discipleship he went on to study at Columbia Biblical Seminary (M.A., Columbia, SC, 1990), as well as a Ph.D. in education and philosophy... read more