For the Love of God, Volume 2/August 20
From Gospel Translations
1 Samuel 12; Romans 10; Jeremiah 49; Psalms 26—27
PSALM 27 SHARES SOME THEMES with its nearest neighbors (Pss. 26, 28) but is more exuberant than either.
(1) The Lord is my light (27:1-3). Light is an evocative figure for almost everything good: truth, knowledge, joy, moral purity, revelation, and more. Here the word is linked with “salvation” and “stronghold” (27:1); light is associated with security. David faces enemies who attack him like a pack of wolves, but if the Lord is his light and salvation, David will not be afraid. With a God this sovereign, this good, this self-revealing, this delightful, how will he not also be our security?
(2) The Lord is my sanctuary (27:4-6)—in the double sense that the word has in English. On the one hand, the theme of the first three verses continues: God is David’s sanctuary in the sense that he is David’s protection, his stronghold: “in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling” (27:5). But on the other hand, this “sanctuary” spells infinitely more than mere political security: “One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life” (27:4). This does not mean that David entertains a secret, impossible desire to become a Levite. Rather, he has a profound passion to live his life in the presence of the living God. That is the locus of security.
(3) The Lord is my direction (27:7-12). David does not envisage his relation with God as something static, but as his lifelong pursuit. Moreover, he understands that this pursuit simultaneously shapes him. If he seeks God’s face as he ought (27:8), if he begs for mercy so that God will deal with him in compassion and not in wrath (27:9-10), then he will also learn God’s ways and walk in a straight path (27:11). This cannot be said too strongly or too often: to claim that one is pursuing God without concomitant reformation of life and growing conformity to the ways of God is wicked and dangerous nonsense.
(4) The Lord is my hope (27:13-14). However true it is that God is the believer’s refuge, sometimes in this broken and fallen world it does not feel like it at the moment. The truth is that God’s timetable is rarely the same as ours. Often he demands that we wait patiently for him: his timing is perfect. His vindication of his people often takes place in history (27:13), but rarely as soon as we want; nevertheless his ultimate vindication is priceless. “Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD” (27:14).