We’ve been working our way through the psalms on Wednesday evenings. And I’ve been trying to show that each of the psalms — like everything else in the Bible — points in one way or another to the Lord Jesus and to the good news of the gospel. David — who wrote many of the psalms — wrote as a prophet; and he foretold both the humiliation and the exaltation of the Lord Jesus Christ. So, David’s own experience of troubles and trials — which he describes in the psalms — point forward to the troubles and trials which the Lord Jesus faced during his time on the earth and especially when he suffered and died on the cross. And David’s victory over his enemies — which he also describes in the psalms — points forward to Christ’s victory over his enemies when he was raised from the grave and exalted to heaven.
David’s experience point forward to the experience of the Lord Jesus. In other words, what happened to David anticipates in one way or another what happened to our Saviour. In fact, since many of the psalms are prayers addressed to the Lord God Almighty, we can view the psalms as the prayers of the Lord Jesus to his Heavenly Father. And today we come to Psalm 27 which is the prayer of a man who has been falsely accused.
Verses 1 to 3
The psalm begins and ends with an expression of confidence in the Lord. Since the Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear? Since the Lord is the stronghold of my life, of whom shall I be afraid? There’s no need for me to be afraid, because the Lord my God is my light and salvation and my stronghold. He is my light and salvation in that he’s the source of light and salvation: he takes away the darkness which confronts me and he saves me from my enemies. Though my enemies are attacking me, I don’t need to be afraid, because the Lord is my stronghold, the fortress I can flee to for protection.
According to verses 2 and 3, evil men and enemies and foes and armies are attacking the psalmist. But the psalmist is confident that they will stumble and fall. And so, he’s not afraid, but he’s confident. He’s confident, because the Lord is his light and his salvation and his stronghold.
So, the psalmist is faced with enemies who want to devour him. They want to destroy him. The threat against him is very real. But he’s telling himself that he doesn’t need to be afraid, because he can count on the Lord his God to deliver him.
Verses 4 to 6
And then, in verses 4 to 6, he begins to write about the house of the Lord.
He has asked God for one thing. If you were to ask for one thing, and for only one thing, what would you ask for? Would you want what David wanted? The one thing David asked for was that he may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of his life. David, of course, was the king who wanted to build a house for the Lord. He wanted to build the temple. However, he was kept from building the temple and it was his son, Solomon, who built it. But David wanted to build the temple and he wanted to make a house that was suitable for the Lord. And here we read that his great longing, his great desire, was to dwell in God’s house all the days of his life.
And he says that, in God’s house, he would gaze upon the beauty of the Lord. Isn’t that interesting? What did he mean by the beauty of the Lord? After all, if you went into a pagan temple, you would see an image of Dagon or Baal or Zeus or Aphrodite or whoever it was. But in the Lord’s tabernacle, there were no images to look at. There was nothing to see.
What did David hope to see? Perhaps he meant the beauty of the tabernacle itself, because all the furniture in the tabernacle was made of gold and bronze. And, of course, the tabernacle was beautiful because it was built according to a heavenly design revealed by God to Moses. So, perhaps that’s what David was referring to when he wrote about gazing upon the beauty of the Lord. Or perhaps he simply means that the tabernacle was the ideal place to think about God’s glory and goodness. So, whenever he went up to the tabernacle for worship, he was reminded of all of God’s perfections.
But let’s move on because in verse 5 he once again bears witness to his faith that the Lord will keep him safe and will hide him and will set him high upon a rock. So, just as we might put something valuable and fragile on a high shelf so that small children won’t be able to break it, so the Lord set the psalmist on a high rock so that his enemies wouldn’t be able to reach him. His head has therefore been exalted above his enemies. And in the tabernacle, he will offer sacrifices to God with joy and he will sing and make music to the Lord his God. So, he will give thanks to the Lord, because the Lord has kept him safe and has exalted him.
Verses 7 to 12
In verses 1 to 6, the psalmist described the Lord his God. In verses 7 to 12, he addresses the Lord his God. He prays to the Lord, asking him to hear him when he calls: Be merciful and answer me. And he refers to God’s face. The mention of God’s face reminds us of the Aaronic Blessing, doesn’t it?
The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you
and give you peace.
When someone is angry with us, or upset with us, they’ll turn away from us. They’ll turn their back on us. But when someone is pleased with us, they’ll turn and face us. So, when Aaron the priest pronounced that blessing on the Israelites, he was asking the Lord to pardon their sins and to turn and face his people and to smile upon them and to look on them with his favour. And in the psalm, the psalmist was asking the Lord for the same thing. Don’t hide your face from me. Don’t turn your back on me in your anger. But turn and face me once again and let me see your smile. Look upon me with your favour.
So: Don’t reject me. Don’t forsake me. Though my parents forsake me, he says that the Lord will receive him. In other words, the Lord will take him in; and give him the help and shelter he needs. And he asks the Lord to guide him. Since his enemies are all around him, he wants the Lord to guide him and to bring him straight through his enemies and out the other side. Since false witnesses are accusing him, he wants the Lord to keep him from falling into their hands.
Verses 13 and 14
And despite the enemies who want to devour him and to destroy him, he’s confident that he will see God’s goodness in the land of the living. And so, just as he began the psalm with an expression of confidence, so he ends the psalm with an expression of confidence. He will not go down to the place of the dead, but he will live, because the Lord will keep him. And in the final verse, the psalmist turn to his neighbour — we don’t know who his neighbour is — but he turns to his neighbour and says to him: Wait for the Lord. Be strong. Take heart. Wait for the Lord. It’s as if he’s saying: When the time is right, the Lord will come to help you too.
The psalmist is faced with enemies who wanted to devour him. They wanted to destroy him. And false witnesses have risen up against him. But he’s telling himself that he doesn’t need to be afraid, but he can count on the Lord his God to deliver him. And so, since he can count on the Lord, he turns to the Lord and asks the Lord to be merciful to him and to look upon him with favour. And he expects the Lord to exalt him over his enemies and to bring him into the house of the Lord where he will dwell all the days of his life.
We can imagine the apostle Paul or one of the other apostles going into a Jewish synagogue in the first century to try to convince the people that Jesus is the Christ, God’s Anointed King. And they could take this psalm about David who faced enemies who wanted to devour him and false witnesses who rose up against him; and the apostles could point out that the Lord Jesus suffered in the same way, because evil men surrounded him and false witnesses testified against him when he stood trial before the Sanhedrin. And the apostles could take this psalm about how God did not reject or forsake David, but raised him above his enemies; and the apostles could point out that God did not reject or forsake the Lord Jesus, because God raised him from the dead and exalted him to the highest place in heaven, far above his enemies and every other power. They could take this psalm about how David’s one desire was to dwell in God’s house all the days of his life; and they could point out that the Lord Jesus has gone into the true tabernacle, which is heaven itself.
In other words, the apostles could take this psalm and show the Jews that it’s about the Lord Jesus, who is God’s Anointed King and the only Saviour of the world, who died at the hands of evil men, but who was raised from the dead, and who now lives forever in the presence of the Lord in glory.
And the apostles could also point out to the Jews in the synagogue that this too is our hope. Since Jesus died, but was raised to live forever, so all who trust in him will also be raised from the dead to live with the Lord forever. In fact, all who trust in the Lord Jesus receive a better hope that David’s hope. David hoped to dwell in God’s earthly house in Jerusalem, whereas the Lord Jesus has entered heaven itself; and all who trust in him will dwell with him there forever.
And so, David wrote as a prophet to foretell the suffering of the Lord Jesus and his resurrection from the dead and his ascension to heaven. And that hope of the resurrection and everlasting life in God’s presence is given to all who trust in Jesus Christ.
But that’s not the only thing we can say about this psalm. Since we’ve been reconciled to God through faith in Christ, then God has become our light: the one who can dispel the darkness in our lives. And God has become our salvation: the one who can deliver us from all our troubles. And God has become the stronghold of our life: the one who can keep us safe. So, no matter what we face in this life, we need not be afraid, because if God is for us — and he is; because we’ve been reconciled to him through faith in Christ — then who can be against us and succeed? And so, in all our troubles and afflictions, we too must be strong and take courage and wait for the Lord to come and help us. He will not reject or forsake us, because we’re been reconciled to him by faith. He will not turn away from us in anger, because in Christ we’ve been pardoned. And while others may forsake us, we can always count on the Lord to help us. So, be strong. And take courage. And wait for the Lord.