Summary: David was a man who faced many trials in life, yet he seemed to have a confidence that few of us have. Where did it come from? Find out.
October 17, 2004 Psalm 27
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 evil men advance against me to devour my flesh, when my enemies and my foes attack me, they will stumble and fall. 3 Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then will I be confident.
4 One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: 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 seek him in his temple. 5 For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle and set me high upon a rock. 6 Then my head will be exalted above the enemies who surround me; at his tabernacle will I sacrifice with shouts of joy; I will sing and make music to the LORD.
7 Hear my voice when I call, O LORD; be merciful to me and answer me. 8 My heart says of you, "Seek his face!" Your face, LORD, I will seek. 9 Do not hide your face from me, do not turn your servant away in anger; you have been my helper. Do not reject me or forsake me, O God my Savior. 10 Though my father and mother forsake me, the LORD will receive me. 11 Teach me your way, O LORD; lead me in a straight path because of my oppressors. 12 Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes, for false witnesses rise up against me, breathing out violence.
13 I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. 14 Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.
Whether he wanted it or not, David was a man at war throughout most of his career. As he grew older some referred to him as a man of blood. In many ways, however, that blood was not something he sought to shed. If you remember the history of David - his own King - Saul - for no reason hated David and wanted him dead. Saul personally chased David throughout the countryside of Israel trying to kill him. David’s own son Absalom also forced David from his own palace in an attempt to take over his own father’s kingdom. Yet being a king of Israel also carried with it the responsibility of being an aggressor. God called on Israel to completely annihilate all of the heathen nations in Israel. David was called to fight and make war against Israel’s enemies. So when David mentions “false witnesses and enemies who surround me”, he wasn’t speaking in platitudes. He was speaking from personal experience.
When God calls you and makes you into a Christian, you can’t be a neutral party. You have to be willing to put on your spiritual helmet, shield, and sword so that you can fight. Like David, Abraham, Daniel, and the other patriarchs - it isn’t that we necessarily seek it. More often than not, war comes to us. Satan is prowling around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. On top of that, we live in a world of people who are possessed by Satan and being led by their own sinful flesh. You can’t expect to live in a sinful world WITHOUT a fight.
One of the greatest sins that we are committing as a Christian community is that we are afraid of this war. For instance, how many of you are too embarrassed to say a prayer before your meal at school, work, or in a restaurant? How many of you refrain from getting in “religious discussions” with friends and keep silent because you are too afraid of how your co-worker will respond? How many of you are too afraid that you will turn off your neighbor by inviting him or her to church or calling him or her to repentance. If the truth is to be told, a majority of American Christians are embarrassing God with their fear. Our God is the only true God. If we had even a smidgeon of the courage and commitment to our God as the Muslims or the Mormons have to their false gods, we wouldn’t be a religion in decline. The problem is that we are afraid of a fight. We want peace. So we don’t know what it’s like to risk our necks to come to worship or to honestly have our lives threatened for our confession of faith.