Bible Book: Psalms
Verse (to): 14
Psalm 27 begins with a wonderful prayer and testimony: “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?” (RSV verse 1) However, how can one pray this when bad things happen to you?
The Psalm ends with excellent advice: “Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; yea, wait for the LORD!” (RSV verse 14) But how do you say this to someone who has experienced serious setbacks?
Does Psalm 27 relate to the complicated reality we have to live in or is this an example of phony faith and superficial advice?
With these questions in mind I looked more carefully at the Psalm and especially verses 7 to 12. Here the psalmist cries to God from a situation of vulnerability. “Be merciful and answer me!” (NLT) is the cry in verse 7 and in verse 9 it is even more urgent: “Don’t leave me now; don’t abandon me, O God of my salvation” (NLT). In these verses we see that the psalmist experiences life as we do. We find our own doubts, fears and longings in these prayers. The confident stance of the first verse and the optimistic advice of the last verse are not at all alienated from our daily lives that are filled with problems.
What we also find in verses 7 – 12 is the psalmist’s focus on God. There is an honest longing for God (not only the gifts of God). The psalmist’s concern is about God himself – God’s face (verse 8 – RSV and NIV) and God’s path (verse 11).
Once we have grasped something of this honest, single-minded focus towards God in the midst of many difficult circumstances we can begin to understand the psalmist’s confident witness in the first verse and his optimistic advice in the last verse.
The reason why the psalmist’s advice for us is to “wait for the Lord” is simple: he has done exactly that and knows that it is good advice.
To think about (or discuss): What are the things that hold you back from “waiting for the Lord”?
Author: N du Toit (Ds)