King David wrote Psalm 27 for the people of God to sing whenever they were afraid. I call it ‘the overcoming-fear psalm’. It starts out so boldly as David says ‘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?’ (Psalm 27:1). And I wonder how many of us could go so far as to say ‘Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, yet I will be confident’ (Psalm 27:3).
What is the basis of this declaration of David’s? We find out in verse 5 where he explains ‘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’. Also he goes on to say in verse 13 ‘I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living!’ What a massive step of faith when facing an attack from enemy forces!
In the last verse of this psalm David exhorts the people of God ‘Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!’ (Psalm 27:14). How often do I need to remind myself of this? It’s a decision I must take despite any feelings of fear, anxiety, pain and disappointment. There is a time when it’s best not to let our feelings lead.
I like the acrostic I learnt from Nicky Gumbel; ‘F.A.I.T.H’ which means ‘Feeling afraid I trust I Him’. It really does remind me of how I need to focus on trusting the Lord and having faith, instead of looking being overcome by emotions of fear. I often turn to Psalm 27 and read the words of encouragement from David, written so long ago.
Waiting for the Lord is not a passive activity. It’s looking to Him and trusting Him and depending on Him. It enables us to be strong and courageous.
Moses told the whole of Israel to be strong and courageous just before they went over the River Jordan into the Promised Land. ‘Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will never leave you or forsake you’ (Deuteronomy 31:6). Then Moses tells Joshua to be strong and courageous because he will lead the people into the conquest of the Promised Land. After the death of Moses God tells Joshua to be strong and courageous and promises to be with him just as He was with Moses.
Joshua might have been tempted to think he could never be as great a leader as Moses, and it can be the same for us. Instead of trusting in the Lord we can be tempted to shift our dependence on to a person, an organisation, a church, a healing ministry, a pastor or some kind of spiritual leader. We can put our hope in a person who we think is much stronger than we are and whom we respect as a man or woman of God.
Yet each one of us needs to have a personal encounter with God for ourselves. Although we are inspired and encouraged by the example of strong Christian leaders we need to get a revelation for ourselves, directly from the Holy Spirit.
Prayer: Loving heavenly Father, Thank You for the encouragement from Your Word and the example David gives us in Psalm 27 to live out our faith in our daily lives. Thank You that wedon’t need to be passive and allow fear to overcome us. Help us to always choose to put our trust in You. Help us to remember Your promise to always be with us and never leave us, in Jesus’ name, Amen.
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