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, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then I will be confident. One thing I ask from 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 on the beauty of the Lord and seek him in his temple. For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock. Then my head will be exalted above the enemies who surround me; at his sacred tent I will sacrifice with shouts of joy; I will sing and make music to the Lord. Hear my voice when I call, Lord; be merciful to me and answer me. My heart says of you, "Seek his face!" Your face, Lord, I will seek. Do not hide your face from me, do not turn your servant away in anger; you have been my helper. Do not reject me or forsake me, God my Savior. Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me. Teach me your way, Lord; lead me in a straight path because of my oppressors. Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes, for false witnesses rise up against me, spouting malicious accusations. I remain confident of this; I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. (Psalm 27)
Our world can be such a scary place. The news informs us of terrorist plots, war, oppression, disease.... It becomes evident that our conflict on earth is not merely against people but rather against a concealed evil: For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. (Ephesians 6:12)
David - so long ago - also struggled against the darkness that surrounded him. In Psalm 27, David, so strong in faith, became paranoid and fearful in the face of his enemies. Perhaps David wrote this journal when King Saul had turned against him and sent 3000 men in pursuit to kill him.
We may not deal with such life or death issues, but each of us experiences conflict that can fill us with worry and negativity. At times, it appears that we are in battle fighting one struggle after the next. How do we deal with this? What do we do with negative emotions that color our perspective and fill us with fear? Paul wrote to the Corinthians: We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). It is not easy for me to take captive every thought. In fact, when I'm upset, I tend to fixate on a situation until it so captivates my brain that I can think of nothing else. David understood that his confidence came from the Lord: Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then I will be confident. One thing I ask from 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 on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple. Later in the same psalm, David seeks, what? shelter? an army's protection? No... he seeks God!: Hear my voice when I call Lord; be merciful to me and answer me. My heart says of you, "Seek his face!" Your face, Lord, I will seek. Do not hide your face from me, do not turn your servant away in anger; you have been my helper.
When a cloud of conflict or fear darkens your perspective, I ask you to read this psalm. Take your thoughts captive and seek His face!
Dear Father. You are my stronghold, my light and my salvation! Whom shall I fear! I want, O God, to spend time in your presence. Take captive my thoughts that keep me from being close to You. You give me confidence and bring light to my life. Help me to be strong, take heart and wait on You. In Christ's Name! Amen.