Finding Courage in Delight
Speaker: Rev. Charles Drew
Sermon Series: Psalms
Psalm 27 (ESV)
1 The Lord is my light and my salvation;
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life;
of whom shall I be afraid?
2 When evildoers assail me
to eat up my flesh,
my adversaries and foes,
it is they who stumble and fall.
3 Though an army encamp against me,
my heart shall not fear;
though war arise against me,
yet I will be confident.
4 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.
5 For he will hide me in his shelter
in the day of trouble;
he will conceal me under the cover of his tent;
he will lift me high upon a rock.
6 And now my head shall be lifted up
above my enemies all around me,
and I will offer in his tent
sacrifices with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make melody to the Lord.
7 Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud;
be gracious to me and answer me!
8 You have said, “Seek my face.”
My heart says to you,
“Your face, Lord, do I seek.”
9 Hide not your face from me.
Turn not your servant away in anger,
O you who have been my help.
Cast me not off; forsake me not,
O God of my salvation!
10 For my father and my mother have forsaken me,
but the Lord will take me in.
11 Teach me your way, O Lord,
and lead me on a level path
because of my enemies.
12 Give me not up to the will of my adversaries;
for false witnesses have risen against me,
and they breathe out violence.
13 I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living!
14 Wait for the Lord;
be strong, and let your heart take courage;
wait for the Lord!
1. The quality of David’s courage
vv.1-3: The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? 2 When evildoers assail me to eat up my flesh, my adversaries and foes, it is they who stumble and fall. 3 Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, yet I will be confident.
Powerful and vicious enemies:
Goliath, "Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the air and to the beasts of the field." 1 Samuel 17:44.
"You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied … The battle is the LORD's, and he will give you into our hand." 1 Samuel 17:45-47
When we are in the hands of God, and we know that he loves us, we can bear the loss of anything.
2. The source of David’s courage: God’s beauty
v. 4: 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.
The meaning of God’s beauty
The quality that makes all his other attributes interesting and attractive.
Beauty of lovers (Song of Songs), or land (Gen. 49:15), or a well-played lute (Psalm 81:3), or tasty bread (Pvbs 9:17), or friendship (2 Sam. 1:26, Psalm 133:1), or a well-turned gracious phrase (Pvbs. 15:26, 16:24).
The adornment that makes life worth living.
The longing for God’s “face”
v. 9: Hide not your face from me. Turn not your servant away in anger, O you who have been my help. Cast me not off; forsake me not, O God of my salvation!
Jesus’ voice in Psalm 27
3. How does our courage grow?
As we learn how to enjoy him.
Our chief purpose in life is “to glorify God and to enjoy him forever” (WSC Q 1)
God wants us to enjoy him, not just to obey him.
Enjoyment of God is a weapon in his arsenal.
As Jesus joins our song
Because of him we can cry vv. 9-10 with confident hope.
Hide not your face from me. Turn not your servant away in anger, O you who have been my help. Cast me not off; forsake me not, O God of my salvation! 10 For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the LORD will take me in.
Questions for Reflection
What or who makes you fearful? Why?
Paraphrase Psalm 27:1-3. What is David up against and what keeps his fear under control?
Read the account of David and Goliath in 1 Samuel 17:41-47. Compare David’s and Goliath’s tones and expectations. Why the differences?
Discuss or reflect upon the following: “When we are in the hands of God, and we know that he loves us, we can bear the loss of anything, however difficult that loss, because his reality looms larger than the reality of that loss.”
Verse 4 seems to be the well-spring of the courage of Psalm 27, the place where David asks for just one thing above every other. He might have asked, “…that I might know how powerful the Lord is,” or “…that I might be a truly noble man,” or “…that I might be a man of great faith.” Instead, he asks for something else. What does he ask for, and why does that gift in particular give him courage.
Discuss or reflect upon the following: “God’s beauty is not precisely any one of the things we imagine when we think about God: his truth, or his goodness, or his power, or his love. His beauty contains these things, but it is not identical to them. His beauty is what makes these qualities attractive to us. His beauty is what makes us desire him. God’s beauty is his mighty weapon against the terrible lie that he may be good and powerful, but he isn’t all that interesting or enjoyable.”
Psalm 27 may not yet describe us all the time, but it does reveal the heart of Jesus to us. Think of something that Jesus said or did that gives expression to one or more verses in the psalm. Take time to thank Jesus for his devoted and courageous life. Thank him for offering that life in substitution for yours.
Prayer of Confession
Our God, you are beautiful, powerful, and faithful. We have nothing to fear. And yet, we confess that we do. The opinions of people and the force of circumstances tend to drive our lives. Forgive us. Give us grace to cast away the works of darkness and put on the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which your Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility. Do this so that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the living and the dead, we may rise to life immortal. We ask this through him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.