What kind of music do we hear in Psalm 27? Because the Psalms are songs, I like to imagine the musical settings of each of these Psalms. Some are easy to imagine. David’s song of triumph in the beginning of Psalm 27 demands a score that swells with each of David’s pronouncements of confidence in God. But, does majestic, swelling music fit the end of the Psalm? Many Bible teachers think that David’s confidence in God has evaporated and David once again cries out in fear and desperation, throwing himself on his God. Some are so certain that this is true that they insist Psalm 27 originally had to be two Psalms joined together by some unnamed editor.
Could this be wrong? Is it possible that David is actually telling us in these last verses what the confidence in the first half of the psalm looks like in practice? Could he be demonstrating in this Psalm of confidence in God how this confidence appears when trouble shoves its way into our lives? David writes about God in the beginning of this Psalm. “The LORD is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear.” Perhaps, we should catch the subtle clue when David talks directly to God in verses 7-14. David would say to us, his fellow travelers in following God, here is what I know to be true, this is how I practice that knowledge. Here is a little glimpse of how I strengthen myself in God in the midst of trouble.
Our confidence in God’s deliverance is practiced in our pleading with God. If we believe firmly what David wrote about God in the first half of Psalm 27, how do we act when trouble comes? Is it not logical to look at how David responds? This is the purpose for the second part of this Psalm. Note first of all that this kind of faith is not expressed by inaction or stoic acceptance. “Hear, O LORD, when I cry with my voice! Have mercy also upon me, and answer me. When You said, ‘Seek My face,’ My heart said to You, ‘Your face, LORD, I will seek.’ Do not hide Your face from me; Do not turn Your servant away in anger; You have been my help; Do not leave me nor forsake me, O God of my salvation”(v. 7-9). His faith demands that he diligently seeks God.
Some insist that believing God’s promise to hear and answer our prayer means we do not plead with Him in our praying. Pleading shows unbelief. If this is true, someone needed to tell both Daniel and David. Daniel 9 records how Daniel read the promise God gave to Judah through Jeremiah, the prophet. In seventy years the LORD would restore the people to the Promised Land in seventy years. When he read this, Daniel recognized the time of restoration which God promised was near at hand, so he prayed and pleaded with God. “Then I set my face toward the Lord God to make request by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes.” For several verses, Daniel confesses the LORD’s righteousness and Judah’s open shame. Then, he closes his prayer with several pleas. “Now therefore, our God, hear the prayer of Your servant, and his supplications, and for the Lord’s sake cause Your face to shine on Your sanctuary, which is desolate. O my God, incline Your ear and hear; open Your eyes and see our desolations, and the city which is called by Your name; for we do not present our supplications before You because of our righteous deeds, but because of Your great mercies. O Lord, hear! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, listen and act! Do not delay for Your own sake, my God, for Your city and Your people are called by Your name” (Daniel 9:17–19).
Does anyone really doubt that Daniel believed in the promise of God? If it was not an act of unbelief, what was it? Could it have been the act of an active faith? Both Daniel and David firmly believed that God answered prayer and expressed this faith by urgent pleading with God to be heard. We must not forget that God is a personal God. He is not a robot. He wants us to ask Him for what we need when we need it. You remember the statement that James makes in James 4:2? “You do not have because you do not ask.” Pleading is an art that we need to cultivate and learn. God’s people do not plead and pray if they do not believe that He is the only one who can and will help.
David pleads with the LORD to hear him. No matter how much we know and trust God, it must be an ever present thought in our hearts when we come to Him that we do not deserve the least of His favors. In Psalm 130:3-4 we read, “If You, LORD, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But there is forgiveness with You, That You may be feared.” This realization leads David, even with his assurance in God, to cry out in a sense of desperation to God. He pleads for mercy and to be heard. We are to approach the Throne of Grace boldly but not arrogantly.
In verses 8-9, David gives us a glimpse into his own relationship with God. He is always ready to seek his God out. “When You said, ‘Seek My face,’ My heart said to You, ‘Your face, LORD, I will seek.’ Do not hide Your face from me; Do not turn Your servant away in anger; You have been my help; Do not leave me nor forsake me, O God of my salvation.” David is eager to seek the Lord’s face when bidden. Still, he gives voice to a plea to God. David wants an audience with God and makes that clear in his plea to God. Do we know how to plead with God? Maybe we should learn.
Practicing our assurance in God also involves remembering and reminding ourselves of who God is and what He does. If David really did lose his great assurance which he professed in verses 1-6, David still holds on to some great realities. “When my father and my mother forsake me, Then the LORD will take care of me.” David assures himself that God will take care of him. God’s faithfulness exceeds the natural faithfulness of his parents.
Good parents instinctively take care of their children. If even his most faithful helpers fail him, David knows that God will take care of Him. 1 Peter 5:7 contains a great exhortation “Casting all your anxiety on Him for He cares for you.” David believed in this truth before Peter wrote it down for us, and he [David] practiced it.
The second thing that David remembered was two-fold. “I would have lost heart, unless I had believed That I would see the goodness of the LORD In the land of the living. 14Wait on the LORD; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the LORD!” First, he believed that he would see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. God had not quit blessing him or using him in this present world. We give up holding on if we let go of this truth.
Second, He reminded himself of the importance of waiting. Several years ago there was a song, “Learning to Lean on Jesus.” I think that we need a song that teaches us what David reminds us to do, “Learn to wait upon the LORD.” We can wait because we know that God is in control and that although He is not in a hurry, He is never late.
What David is doing here is the truth the Apostle Paul teaches us in Philippians 4:8. “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.”
Confidence in God is shown lastly in seeking His way in our lives. Psalm 27:11–12 says, “Teach me Your way, O LORD, And lead me in a smooth path, because of my enemies. 12Do not deliver me to the will of my adversaries; For false witnesses have risen against me, And such as breathe out violence.” It is popular in some circles to think that God does not have a personal will for our lives. David does not agree with this thought in these two verses. The least we learn from this verse is that God does have a plan for our lives and that we should seek Him to understand the plan. The path is to be smooth, plain, or level. Still, David is praying that God will teach it to him. Surely, David is praying for God’s path for his life. This same David prayed in Psalm 86:11 for guidance from God. “Teach me your way, O LORD, I will walk in your truth, Unite my heart to fear Your name.” Does this not imply that God has a way and wants to show it to us?
In view of this seeking He is asking for deliverance from evil. David’s enemies were always around him and seeking to do him harm. The way of deliverance was the way in which God wanted him to walk.
So, we say we believe that God is all that David said in verses 1-6 of this Psalm. When the bottom falls out of our lives, do we seek God’s presence and plead with Him for His deliverance? Do we take time to remind ourselves about what we know to be true about our Lord and His Word? Finally, will we seek His will and way for our lives? If we do, we will understand and believe that God is our light and our salvation and we do not need to fear what mere humans can do to us.