Psalm 27

Psalm 27
The Results of Trusting Jehovah in Adversity
Psalm 27. This is another Psalm of David, and it has a remarkably positive outlook, especially at the beginning. Then the opposition increases, and doubts arise, but in the end they take courage. It speaks of the confidence of the faithful in Jehovah’s protection, in spite of enemies around. Prophetically this Psalm describes the expressions of the faithful remnant under persecution.
A Psalm of David.
1 Jehovah is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? Jehovah is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
2 When evil-doers, mine adversaries and mine enemies, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell.
3 If a host encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; if war rise against me, in this will I be confident.
4 One thing have I asked of Jehovah, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of Jehovah all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of Jehovah, and to inquire of him in his temple.
5 For in the day of evil he will hide me in his pavilion; in the secret of his tent will he keep me concealed: he will set me high upon a rock.
6 And now shall my head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me; and I will offer in his tent sacrifices of shouts of joy: I will sing, yea, I will sing psalms unto Jehovah.
vv.1-6 The Confidence of the Saints. The first half of the Psalm give us the confidence of the faithful in Jehovah. In lieu of who Jehovah is, the faithful are unafraid; “whom shall I fear? … of whom shall I be afraid?”. In v.2, past deliverances are reviewed. In v.3, future opposition is anticipated, not only individuals but “a host”, and prolonging the antagonism as a “war”. Even in these trying conditions, the faithful can say “in this will I be confident”. In v.4 we have the utmost desire of the saints; “One thing have I asked of Jehovah, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of Jehovah all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of Jehovah, and to inquire of him in his temple.” Notice the order: the answer to the heart comes first (to behold His beauty), then the answer to the mind (to inquire). With confidence in the Lord, and with the hope of standing in His presence, the faithful can count on Jehovah’s protection “in the day of evil” (compare Eph. 6:13), to shield them like a “pavilion” or “tent”, and provide solid footing like a “rock”. In v.6, the confidence of the remnant in Jehovah causes them to look on to the time of their final deliverance, and even to the time when they will offer “sacrifices of shouts of joy” and “sing psalms unto Jehovah” in thanksgiving for a full salvation!
7 Hear, Jehovah; with my voice do I call; be gracious unto me, and answer me.
8 My heart said for thee, Seek ye my face. Thy face, O Jehovah, will I seek.
9 Hide not thy face from me; put not thy servant away in anger: thou hast been my help; cast me not off, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation.
10 For had my father and my mother forsaken me, then had Jehovah taken me up.
11 Teach me thy way, Jehovah, and lead me in an even path, because of mine enemies.
12 Deliver me not over to the will of mine adversaries; for false witnesses are risen up against me, and such as breathe out violence.
13 Unless I had believed to see the goodness of Jehovah in the land of the living …!
14 Wait for Jehovah; be strong and let thy heart take courage: yea, wait for Jehovah.
vv.7-14 The Cry of Distress. The faithful are seen in a tribe of sever trial. In vv.7-10 they cry out to Jehovah not to forsake them. They desire that He would answer their prayers, and not hide His face from them. Encouraged by Jehovah, they seek His face, recalling His goodness to them in the past. The wording is a bit obscure, but the first part of v.8 is Jehovah speaking; i.e. His heart saying to the faithful “Seek ye my face”. The second part of the verse is the psalmist’s response; “Thy face, O Jehovah, will I seek”.1 When all others forsook them – even the nearest natural relationships (“my father and my mother”) – then Jehovah would take them up. In vv.11-12 the remnant prays for special guidance so as to not fall into the hands of the enemies. In vv.13-14 it is the faith of the remnant in “the goodness of the Jehovah” that gives them strength to “be strong” and “take courage” (see Heb. 11:6), that Jehovah will bring them through the trial into blessing. At the end of v.13 we have an aposiopesis, which is when speech is suddenly broken off by an intervening thought or idea. Here the psalmist starts to go down the path of “what if…?”, but then he cuts himself suddenly short, a surge of confidence washing away the doubt. It is a beautiful exchange!
  1. But there is trial felt and prayer poured out to Jehovah, Such is the cry of distress, but of confidence withal founded on Jehovah’s heart saying, Seek ye My face: a touching plea somewhat obscured in both the Auth. and Rev. versions as elsewhere. There is some difficulty because of Jehovah’s call suddenly remembered and acted on; but when duly weighed, the resulting sense seems decidedly good and striking, whereas the ordinary way is confused and pointless. – Kelly, W. Notes on the Psalms.
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