Paul David Tripp recently helped me to keep my focus where it should be during the storms of life, firmly on the LORD of glory, as I listened to a sermon from Psalm 27. I think Psalm 27 will help you too. Here are 4 practices we need to do daily.
It appears that David wrote Psalm 27 either when he was in a cave hiding for his life from King Saul, or running for his life during his son Absalom’s grab at the kingdom. When David wrote, “When evildoers assail me to eat up my flesh…” (Ps. 27:2a), he literally may have had an army encamping against him (Ps. 27:3a). It can’t get much more dire than your enemies breathing down your neck, like hungry wild dogs who want to eat your flesh.
What would you ask for if you could ask the LORD for anything if you were in a similar situation? Maybe for weapons? If you were honest, maybe for a bomb that would wipe your enemies out, or for the situation to simply change radically–like being beamed right out of the problem to another location? Listen to what David asks for: “One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in His temple.” (Ps. 27:4)
When we gaze upon the beauty of the LORD, we are not only reminded of who God is, but also who we are. We have a new identity as His child. The LORD is not just “light” and “salvation,” He is my light and my salvation! Because of this personal truth, David can exclaim, “Of whom shall I be afraid?” (Ps. 27:1)
Resting in the LORD is not a passive activity, but a vigorous spiritual activity. We can rest because we continue in the fight of faith. This gives our hearts rest and hope: “Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, yet I will be confident.” (Ps. 27:3)
After gazing upon the beauty of the LORD, remembering who He is and thus who we are as His children, and resting in Him, we can then act with great hope and courage when the time comes: “…be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!” (Ps. 27:14)
This One of glorious beauty has been connected to you by faith. Because of Christ, we can be confident and hopeful even when we feel like we will be “eaten”!
HT: These main points are from a wonderful message by Paul David Tripp given at the Desiring God 2014 Conference for Pastors, “Living the Gospel That You Preach.” You can listen to it for free here.