Year A – Epiphany 3 – Psalm 27

Psalms 27:1, 4–9 –  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?   4 One thing I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: to live in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold 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 set me high on a rock.   6 Now my head is 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 “Come,” my heart says, “seek his face!” Your face, LORD, do I seek. 9 Do not hide your face from me. Do not turn your servant away in anger, you who have been my help. Do not cast me off, do not forsake me, O God of my salvation!

Summary – In this powerful and poetic psalm, David calls on the Lord for salvation from His foes, faithfully recognizing that Yahweh is the only help on which to rely.  The life and times of King Hezekiah in 2 Kings 18-20 read in conjunction with Psalm 27 (especially in light of vs 6 which connects Yahweh’s mercy on Hezekiah to the Davidic line) forms an interesting parallel.  Hezekiah, in the face of the massive horde of Sennacherib, stood firm believing that the Lord is his stronghold and he needed to fear no one.  “Though an army encamped” (vs 3) against Hezekiah, he did not fear, and the Angel of the Lord struck down the army overnight!  Thus, Hezekiah’s head was “lifted up above [his] enemies” (vs 6, cf. 2 Chron 32:23).  Then when Hezekiah was mortally ill (2 Kgs 20:1-6) his prayer to Yahweh (“I have walked before you in faithfulness”) was like David’s in verse 8, “Your face, Lord, do I seek.”  In the final verse, David turns his driving poetry to the reader.  Rather than focusing on his personal experience, he admonishes the reader to wait for the Lord, be strong, and take courage.

Insight – There are two things that frighten me badly:  cornfields at night, and criticism from other people.  Sometimes it can seem like “an army is encamped against me” if people disagree.  What frightens you?  One thing we all have in common is fear, and King David was no different.  But rather than shrinking back in fear when his enemies were all around him, he called on God to save him.  His prayer was a mixture of trust in God’s promises and supplication to God’s goodness and faithfulness.  Ultimately, our greatest accuser can be our own hearts, telling us we are sinners who are un-save-able.  But with David, let us say that because God is greater than our hearts (1 John 3:19-22), and has sent Jesus to take on our sin, we will be confident, knowing that we will look on the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.

Child Catechism – Who is your light and salvation?  The Lord.

Discussion – List the problems David is dealing with in Psalm 27 (examples: evildoers and war).  What are some ways God overcomes those problems?

Prayer – O Lord, our stronghold, hide us we pray in Your Son, Jesus Christ, that we may hold our head up high knowing our acceptance surely.  We know that You have powerfully saved Your people and we believe that You will continue to do so.  Teach us Your ways and set us on a straight path so that the natural desires that war within us would be defeated.  We believe that we will see Your goodness throughout our lives and will wait for You, knowing that it is your mighty arm that fights for us.  Through Christ,  Amen.

Contributed by Scott Cline

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