St. John’s University, Collegivelle, MN, 56231 2006
Friday, June 12
Psalm 27 – by Gwen Kandt
So, I am a “theater geek” – an actor, director, playwright. And many of you know that we drama folk tend to experience the world in different ways. Humor me for a moment while I pull you into my mental world to experience one of my favorite psalms.
When I read Psalm 27, I see and hear a gentleman named Jack Shaw, whom I had the privilege of worshipping and performing with many years ago. And as we begin, I see him as David the warrior king, addressing his troops. (Think Braveheart. The soldiers shouting their approval after each clause. That’s the idea here.)
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?
When the wicked advance against me to devour me, It is my enemies and my foes who will stumble and fall! Though an army besiege me, I will not fear! Though war break out against me, even then I will be confident! (v.1-3)
The emphases and explanation points are mine (for the record) because I want you to hear that THIS MAN IS CONFIDENT! He’s proclaiming with power and enthusiasm the might and dependability of his God!
And now the scene shifts to the temple. (Imagine his Zoom backdrop changing and the roar of the army becoming the harmony of temple musicians.) The worshipping King David stands at the altar, glorying in the beauty and majesty of his God.
One thing I ask of the Lord; this only do 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. (v.4)
(Hands in the air, smile on his face, filled with tearful ecstasy and love for the Lord as the music swells.)
At His sacred tent, I will sacrifice with shouts of joy! I will sing and make music to the Lord! (v.6)
(And suddenly, the praise music is silenced. His tears and shouts change their tone.)
Hear my voice when I call, O Lord! Be merciful to me, and answer me! (v.7)
Whoa – did you catch that? All of a sudden, the confident, bold King David is pleading with God to LISTEN TO ME! Answer me! Don’t you hear me? Aren’t you there?
Many Bible scholars suspect Psalm 27 might have originally been two different psalms because of this sudden shift in focus and tone. But on the stage of my mind, this is the same King David . . . the warrior king . . . the worshipping king . . . standing with his arms reaching up to the Lord . . . but the Zoom backdrop has changed again. He is now alone. He is in a dark, dirty cave. His clothes are torn, and his face is haggard. It’s as if this worn, weary man has only been remembering the previous scenes of glory in an effort to boost his faith in this moment of desperation.
Do not hide your face from me . . . Do not turn your servant away in anger . . . you have been my helper . . . Do not reject or forsake me, O God my Savior. (v.9-10)
I don’t know about you, but I’ve been here with David. Pleading for God to hear . . . to answer . . . to stay! The previous moments of glory seem so far as to be a dream. “Please, Lord – be real to me again. Be here.”
I love this Psalm because it reminds me that the God who once caused my foes to fall — the God whose beauty enthralled me in my past — is the same God who seems silent and distant today. He is still here. He has not changed. He will have the final say, and I will hear His voice when He does.
I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. (v.13)
I will see it. (The weary king raises a determined face to the sky to tell himself again what he needs to do.)
Wait for the Lord. Be strong and take heart And wait for the Lord. (v.14)
Blackout. End scene.
A Time of Reflection and Prayer
Matt Allen encouraged us last week to make a discipline of “intentional lamenting” part of our spiritual routine. Have you done that this week? Have you brought your laments to the Lord so that He can lift your burdens and carry them for you?
What has God done for you in the past that reminds you of His goodness and faithfulness? Make a list today of His past mercies and grace moments for you and take a moment to praise God for His never-failing love. (And keep that list somewhere handy to pull out when you need it!)