Sunday, June 3, 2012

Psalm 27

The following study is intended to accompany an individual reading of this Psalm. It is written as study notes, rather than as a devotional. This is a personal study I have made of this powerful psalm over the past month. During this time it has gripped my heart, and I have read it repeatedly, studied it deeply, and prayed it often.

Verse 1: 
Darkness represents danger, but light dispels darkness, eliminating immediate danger.
Salvation is rescue from danger.
Fear is a dark shadow that envelops us and ultimately imprisons us within ourselves. We can conquer fear by trusting in the Lord who brings salvation.
Stronghold is a strong place of protected safety. My life is in the Lord, who is to me an impenetrable fortress of safety and protection.
With God’s protection there is no need to be afraid.
Verse 2: 
“Devour my flesh” can also mean “to slander me”. It is a picture of wild animals, tearing at flesh.
Because God is my light, salvation and stronghold, instead of the enemy’s rabid attack against me succeeding, that enemy will himself be crippled and incapacitated.
Verse 3: 
Heart – the center of the human spirit, from which springs emotions, thoughts, motivations, courage, action.
No matter what arrays itself against me, the center of my human spirit remains
confident (in the Lord) and without fear.
This fearless confidence is because God’s light is an immensely powerful
light, moving at the speed of light. And it is because God’s salvation (His rescue) is a salvation (rescue) of such power, that no opposition can stand against it. And it is because God Himself is my stronghold of such strength that He is impenetrable and impervious to the enemy – and I am hidden in Him, even when everything seems to be breaking loose around/against me!
Verse 4: 
The “key” to this stronghold/place of safety and protection: Constantly abiding/living in the Lord’s presence, as daily practice – living out of the reality of His presence on a daily basis.
“Gaze upon” – to behold with admiration, affection and worship. He becomes the focus of my attention - consequently the enemy and his attack is peripheral and blurred, and no longer holds power/sway over me.
Verse 5: 
Since I live daily in His presence, when trouble comes, I am hidden in His presence, which is a place of stronghold for me – and am safe there.
Not only am I safe, but He sets me “high upon a rock” - above my circumstances, and more importantly, high above the enemy. Note: this is not “self-help” – it is not me who “rises above the circumstances”, but God who by His power, sets me there as I continually abide in His presence.
Verse 6: 
“My head will be exalted above the enemies who surround me…” This expresses triumph over the enemies who are defeated, even though the trouble they bring seems to surround me on every side.
This further moves me to worship God!

Verse 7:  
We often run to God when we experience difficulties. But David sought God’s presence every day. When troubles came his way, he was already in God’s presence and prepared. The application for my own life is clear!
Verse 8:  
Also means: “To you, O my heart, He has said, ‘Seek My face!’”
Amplified Bible: “… inquire for and require My presence as your vital need.”
My response (Amplified Bible): “… Your face – Your presence – Lord, will I seek, inquire for and require – of necessity and on the authority of Your word.”
Verse 9:  
Expresses desperate need of Him. I come to Him impoverished and desperate.
Verse 10:  
We have experiences in life of those who are closest to us betraying, wounding and abandoning us, leaving us with an excruciatingly painful void.  Not only can God heal that hurt, but He is the One who we can know with absolute certainty, will never, ever treat us that way. He always loves us, welcomes us, shelters and protects us, and lovingly works for our good.
Verse 11:  
When the enemy is attacking and oppressing me, life’s pathway can seem not only rocky, but very confusing. I don’t know which way to turn. But through abiding in His presence, I am able to know God’s will, and to trust Him to show me the next step and the way forward. Additionally, in the place of strong safety I have in Him, the enemy is prevented from throwing detours and hindrances in my way as I follow God’s leading.
Verse 12:  
An honest and desperate plea that God would not leave me to the enemy’s devices. David has already stated that this will not be the case, but now he is praying it as a prayer. We so often struggle with what we feel to be a dichotomy between faith, and our feelings of fearful desperation. Here we see that there is no contradiction between making sincere, faith-filled
declarations, and praying desperate prayers like these! The Bible tells us that God is mindful of our frailty, and a prayer like this acknowledges our own frailty and inadequacy, and our utter dependence on Him.
Verse 13:  
Based on all that has been said above, and based on the irreproachable goodness of God’s character, I am confident that I will see the answer to my prayers in my lifetime, this side of eternity!
Verse 14:  
Amplified Bible: “Wait and hope for and expect the Lord; be brave and of good courage and let your heart be stout and enduring. Yes, wait for and hope for and expect the Lord.”
Rather than taking matters into my own hands (trying to manage and control the outcome), I should wait patiently for the Lord’s response.
Waiting for the Lord means looking to Him with dependency and trust (not passivity) – this is what enables me to be strong and courageous.
David knew what it was like to wait on/for the Lord – he was anointed as king at 16, but didn’t become king until 30! In the interim, Saul kept trying to kill him!  Waiting for God is not easy, because we carry a sense of urgency for our circumstances. However, God often uses our waiting to refresh, renew and teach us. Another Biblical example of this is Joseph, who was released from his adverse circumstances at just the right time for God’s purposes to be gloriously fulfilled beyond his dreams!