Observe: A lament, a cry for help, a place to run, praise. God is David’s Rock but He is silent (1). Those who reject God go down to the ‘pit’ – ultimate eternal silence, without God, and he fears being dragged down with them.
He cries out against those with malicious hearts, whose mouths speak cordially with their neighbours (3), and he demands God repay them for their evil. Their deeds will find them out, for God will bring deserved punishment -- a moral necessity. The Lord God cannot tolerate wickedness and hypocrisy. He will not be rejected.
In this lament, verses 6-9 express trust in his Rock’s protection, my strength and my shield (7), praise and thanks for His justice and sustaining presence. David the king becomes David the priest as he offers praise on behalf of his people who also trust in his God and King. (8,9). The Great Shepherd will bear them up forever (9).
Interpret: “Rock” applies only to God in the Hebrew Bible, not to humans. His stability and strength show where David (and we) can run for protection in all difficulties and challenges. This image invites our trust in His strong care; it doesn’t erase suffering but reminds us of His protection in all situations.
Yes, hypocrisy is all around, in places that might surprise us. Yet common grace, the undeserved blessings God pours out on the entire human race without discrimination or bias between one person or another, unknown in David’s time, is God’s loving kindness to all His creatures. His grace is our strength and shield, too.
Apply: It’s so easy to start wailing when we’re confronted with setback or suffering. “Why me? What have I done to deserve this? Why is God doing this to me? Where is God in all this?” Our secular society is terrible at enduring suffering, however mild, and questioning abounds.
Think about Zacharias and Mary and their hearts’ attitudes in Luke’s gospel, and the different outcomes to each of their questions. We can ask, and wonder, and doubt – but the answer is God’s alone. And so is His grace.
Believing even as we ask that our prayers and petitions have been answered, heartfelt thanks follows lament. More than mere resignation, we develop patience and endurance until God responds, according to His will.
As we become more practiced (by much repetition!) in prayer and the Word, our deepening relationship with Him opens our heart’s eyes, that Thy will be done truly does deliver us from evil. Then we know deeply that His is the kingdom, power and glory, His is love in action.
Ask: Is all my complaining necessary, Lord? Help me to turn griping into praise, this so-necessary switch in my heart’s attitude to difficulty. Can anything be more difficult than what You went through, for me? Yours was true suffering.
Pray: My Rock, my Strength, my Shield -- thank You that I can go to You at any time to lament, but far better, to praise You in all humility and honesty.
Sing Ps. 28: Word for word Zac Fitzsimmons
Psalm 28 Poor Bishop Hooper
Psalm 27 by Trish Reimer
Psalm 27 is divided into roughly four sections. The first section is verses 1-3 where David expresses his confidence in the Lord. In verses 4-6 David speaks about his communion with the Lord and the benefits he receives from this communion. David expresses his desire towards God as well as the favour and grace He bestows on David in verses 7-9, 11 and 12. Lastly, David’s expectations from God and the encouragement he gives others to hope in the Lord is stated in verses 10, 13, and 14.
Interpretation and Application:
David’s confidence is evident as he recognizes the fact that the Lord will be with us, not only in the past but also in the future. He will not leave us by ourselves. Whatever happens in our life, we can be confident that God will walk alongside us…during a pandemic, during loss of family and friends, during good times and bad. We need not fear…He is in control. The one thing that David desired above all is that he would dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of his life. He talks of four places to find God – in the house of the Lord, in the Lord’s temple, in His sacred tent and in His hiding place. God lives in heaven and God lives in us as we are the house of the Lord. He is our hiding place. Just as God kept Elijah from the storm, wind and rain, God hides us in the cleft of the Rock (Christ), shelters us and speaks to us in a still, small voice if we are willing to listen. David’s cry for the Lord to hear his voice as he cries out to Him is applicable for us today. Do we fully believe that whatever happens, the Lord will receive us, teach us, lead us and stand beside us? (vs.10 – 13) The psalm ends the way it began – with David’s confidence in the Lord. However, we are left with a final challenge…to wait. Personally, I am a person with little patience and find it difficult to wait for many things – the driver ahead of me to move a little faster when there is an advanced light, waiting for others to make decisions that might affect me, waiting in anticipation for a special holiday or celebration and the list goes on. Often it’s difficult to take a deep breath and tell myself that in the grand scheme of things waiting a little longer won’t make that much difference. In our Christian life we often get impatient as well. We want God to answer now (if not yesterday) and fail to see the bigger picture. If we think of life as say, a rope that is two feet long, we might perhaps only see a half inch of that rope whereas God sees the whole rope. We must learn to be patient and wait for Him. He is our strength and salvation and we need not fear as He is the strength of our life!
Heavenly Father, you are our light and salvation. No matter what comes, you are our hiding place and our Rock. Help us to wait patiently for you and have confidence that you will help us where we are now and in the future. In Christ’s name, Amen.
Song: The Lord is My Light and My Salvation
Psalm 26 - by Richard Neufeld
We see in this Psalm David crying out to the Lord to vindicate him as he makes a case for his own righteousness. He declares that he has trusted in the Lord without wavering and asks Him to try his mind and heart. David goes on to declare his faithfulness to God through his many actions, such as abstaining from consorting with the wicked, with hypocrites, or with men of falsehood. David goes on to point out that “I wash my hands in innocence and go around your altar, O Lord,” loving the house of the Lord and His glory. He draws this Psalm to a close first my imploring God to not lump his soul in with sinners who hate God, second by stating his confidence that he will go on to bless the Lord, rooted firmly in God’s grace.
As usual, David cycles through all sorts of emotions and pleas in his usual concise, no-nonsense way. Though David is fully aware of his own sin, he does his best to keep the commands of God through faith, growing in love of his Lord. God, he knows, is the only one upon whom he can rely, and his cry for God to vindicate him tells the reader that David is only concerned with what God thinks rather than the masses that are most likely chasing after him at the time of this Psalm’s composition. Bad company corrupts good morals. What confidence it must take to rightly dismiss the cries of the masses and focus only on God!
It is this confidence by which David asks, “prove me, O Lord, and try me; test my heart and my mind. For your steadfast love is before my eyes, and I walk in your faithfulness.” David is keen to remember that walking with God isn’t the mere avoidance of evil but the wallowing in His goodness and unchanging grace! It is this to which he encourages us all aspire; to kill sin not only because it is our good and proper duty, but because “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God,” (Matt. 6:8).
Application and question:
What can we take from this simple Psalm of David? First, let us go into our rooms and close the door like Christ commanded (Luke 11) and cry out to God away from the distractions, understanding that He knows what you need before you ask it. Let’s stop trying to get something from God and just pray to the end that we might get God Himself! Praise God first and foremost, with music and thanksgiving and a gratitude journal. Establish Him first in your heart each day and let your ears testify to the words of your mouth. Ask Him to vindicate you, and care only for His words and thoughts towards you. Humble yourself and be vulnerable in what you’re feeling in the moment; don’t censor yourself before God – nobody wins here and He knows it all already!
Ask Him to try your heart and mind and do not shrink back from conviction or correction; wrestle with Him in how He is asking you to be obedient. Ask Him to cut out the obstacles that keep His steadfast love from before your eyes, that keep your feet from the narrow path. Commit yourself anew to the good fight of righteousness and plead before your Father who is in heaven to help you just with what you have before you today. He gives grace more abundantly than we could imagine and it is fresh each day! Ask yourself this: why do you obey the Lord? If it is only because He said you must (which is all well and good, but not the entire picture) and there is no sense of love or affection for your relationship with Him, you have an idol problem.
Sin is far easier to overcome when, instead of merely suppressing certain sinful affections, we overwhelm them with good, pure, holy affections. Ask the Lord to sweep away your sin; if you have tried this a bunch already and haven’t found much progress, tell Him that! Be frustrated and at a loss. Turn your joy into weeping and pour out your heart to Him who has loved you from before the world began. Ask for a heart of flesh that resonates to the voice of the Son of God who has called you to your knees right now. Write this all down if it helps. There isn’t an inch of our hearts or minds that we can afford to have kept back from the light of Christ.
It is this awareness of sinful brokenness and the realization of our utter failure to clean ourselves up on our own into which Christ steps and grabs us, saying "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me (2 Cor. 12:9).
David knew he had no good apart from God, that God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. That is how David could say, in the midst of it all, “But as for me, I shall walk in my integrity; redeem me, and be gracious to me. My foot stands on level ground; in the great assembly I will bless the Lord.”
Lord, we thank you for being near those who are broken-hearted, who are meek, humble, weary, heavy-burdened, and lost. Thank you for reaching out to those who are in need, dying for those who were and are your enemies even now. Give us grace to be gracious to others, and fill us with your Holy Spirit so that all may see our good works and give glory to our Father in heaven. Amen.
Song: Feeling Low - Will Reagan
In 2023, each week's blog is a follow-up reflection written by the preceding Sunday’s preacher to dig deeper into the sermon topic and explore engaging discussion questions.