An Introduction to Psalm 27
This is one of the famous Psalms, well quoted and well sung – for good reason. It’s got great soundbites, and twitter-able quotes. Many of us know some of the lyrics of this song of David and our hearts resonate with the themes. In heaven, I imagine, that each line is just the title of a whole library in God’s house. David’s intimacy with God shines through. His insight is inspiring to our spirits. His confidence is exemplary; we want to know the Lord like David knows Him.
John Wimber, at his conferences, would sometimes say, “Many of you would like to have the same authority as I do, but none of you wants to go through what I’ve had to go through.” The same could be same for David. We all want what he seems to have, but none of us want to go through the pressures and trials that he went through.
The most likely event that David wrote this song was during his exile at the hands of his own son, Absalom. David’s failings as a father are well documented in the story of his reign as king. Absalom led a popular revolt – only a few loyal subjects supported David. Even as he fled, in shame, he was yelled at, belittled and further shamed. In the midst of the betrayal, shame, panic, danger, anger and complicated political campaign, David declared his confidence and his prime driver,
“One thing I ask from the Lord,
this only do I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to gaze on the beauty of the Lord
and to seek him in his temple.”
David’s plea of defence was to remind God of his sole purpose in life – to be with God in the place where God lives. David doesn’t find God useful or interesting, David loves God and finds Him beautiful. This is a remarkable difference to the way that I naturally see God. I’m practical and pragmatic – I want God to work for me. I want to add a bit of power to my life so that I can get what I want. David is ambitious too, but his ambition is to be with God. David has deep heart longings too and David loves beauty, but he has found all the fulfillment of these longings in God, hisLord & King.
I also find it then interesting that David uses this relationship as leverage for benefits. David expects blessings and rewards from this relationship. Is it because he’s greedy and ambitious; or is it because he is poor and lazy? Neither of those answers is satisfactory. I wonder if David’s expectation is simply the next thing that comes from making friends with a king. David, the king, is speaking to God, the King, and is asking for nothing that he would not expect from himself. He’s a king and he rewards his faithful friends. God is the King, and he rewards his faithful friends, simply because He can and he wants to. Now that’s an understanding and a confidence that I want also.
Does this idea of pursuing God for his friendship because of the benefits seem terrible? For most Canadians, we’re far too modest and self-deprecating to pursue God for the sole purpose of getting His rewards (and I’m a “most Canadians”). This is challenging idea to want the King’s rewards for me; is it also a challenge for you? Do you want a heart like David’s that has confidence to say,
I remain confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living.
Today, I’m taking my prayer from David…
…All my life, I have one desire, that I would alone desire you.
When I don’t seek you, move me, correct me, shake me and wake me so that You become my only and One desire.
I want to be with you where you are.
I want to see you as you are, the beautiful God.
I am confident that I will see your goodness in the land of the living.