Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Whom Shall I Fear?

The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?

(A study of Psalm 27:1-5)


1 The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
2 When the wicked came against me to eat up my flesh,
My enemies and foes, they stumbled and fell.
3 Though an army may encamp against me, my heart shall not fear;
Though war may rise against me, in this I will be confident.

4 One thing I have desired of the Lord, that will I seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the Lord, all the days of my life,
To behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in His temple.
5 For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion;
In the secret place of His tabernacle He shall hide me;
He shall set me high upon a rock. (Ps 27:1-5).
 

How comforting it is to have someone to run to when we are in trouble! Picture a young boy in the playground who gets teased or bullied by older children. To where will he run for comfort from the onslaught? To the safe arms of his parents!
In his parents' presence he is safe. Their loving embrace is a fortress against all onslaught. From the comfort of safety he looks out at his foe, knowing if they dare try anything then they will face a hard and quick wrath.

We would be wise to learn from this.

The Lord is my light and my salvation; The Lord is the strength of my life (v1)
When we are in trouble we need a saviour, someone who will save us. It is one thing to get away from danger as fast as we can, but it is pointless if we don't know where we are running to, for it may be headlong into even more strife.
 
But how do we know where to run? Verse 1 shows us three things we can look for:

a) We look for light.
Light gives us focus, illuminating everything around it. We run towards it because light is devoid of darkness. We don't need to look directly at the light, we just need to seek out its' source -  just like the sun in the sky - we don't have to look directly at it to see - rather we make use of the light to get our bearings.
  • God is light - pure holiness. We look for Him, for near Him there is no darkness. He illuminates the darkness around us, warning us where not to venture.
b) We look for salvation.
A stronghold is a source of safety. Sometimes the onslaught is so heavy, that all we can do is just take cover behind a stronghold to sit out the barrage.
  • God is our stronghold. When the enemy is pounding us from all quarters, we receive salvation in Him - salvation from further harm.

c) We look for strength.
We run to a place of strength. In a fortress we can recuperate in safety.
  • We can collapse in the arms of the Lord beaten, battered, and bruised from our ordeal with the world. In His presence we are protected from more attacks, while He rejuvenates us. He breathes life-giving strength into our lungs, nurturing us back to fullness of life again.

When the wicked came against me to eat up my flesh, my enemies and foes, they stumbled and fell.(v3)

It is from our stronghold under the Lord's wings the true battle should take place. Here the enemies' arrows cannot reach us. When they come to finish us off, they stumble and fall! Why is this? Because it is no longer us they are fighting, but the impenetrable might of our King!

Though an army may encamp against me, my heart shall not fear;
Though war may rise against me, in this I will be confident.(v3)


The enemy camps at the gates, waiting until we foolishly venture out again. But while in the protection of our Lord, we need not fear. And He will help us fight our fleshly temptation to turn our back on Him and take on the world under our own strength. When we wait in safety, there is no need to fear our enemy.

One thing I have desired of the Lord, that will I seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,
To behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in His temple.(v4)


Here it seems the focus is changing. After all, isn't this chapter about safety in God while He deals with our enemies?
Think about it more, though. The more time you spend in the presence of God, the less time you are in the world struggling for survival. Verse 4 shows us three things we need to seek after:

a) Seek to dwell in the house of the Lord forever
The more we dwell in the Lord, the less we need to engage with the world. Some may see this as a weak tactic, running away to hide instead of facing the enemy head on. But us winning battles is not the focus - it is the preservation of life in the house of the Lord, extolling Him, while He wins the battle on our behalf.
  • Do you seek to dwell in the confines of the mighty Lord, or would you rather risk your security and fight the battle alone, outside of His protection?
b) Seek to behold His beauty
If our focus is on battle strategy and not on the Lord, the battle is already lost; all we have done is demoted Him to Private, and placed Him at our beck and call. However, the more He reveals His perfect nature, the more evident His perfect will is for us.
  • Do you seek to spend time marvelling at God's wondrous character and beauty, or does the allure of a cheap but dangerous world snare your attention?
c) Seek to inquire in His temple
Our desire should be to inquire of the Lord's plan. It is only when we know of the battle plan of God, and God alone, do we dare venture anywhere. Anywhere out of God's will is a dangerous place.
  • Do you trust God enough to follow His perfect battle plan, or do you think you are wiser than Him to face the enemy on your terms?
 
For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion; in the secret place of His tabernacle He shall hide me; He shall set me high upon a rock. (v5)
 
Our strength is in when we realise how weak we are, and how strong God is. From that position we realise that the battle has already been won, regardless of the outcome. Verse 5 shows us three areas He places us.

a) He hides us in His pavilion
His pavilion is His outer court, or tent- God's dwelling place on earth. A tent is thin and almost see-through, but because God is there, is perfectly safe, as we are hidden there. The enemy has no access.

b) and He also hides us in the secret place of His tabernacle
He gives us free access to the Holy of Holies, the secret inner court reserved only for His people. There He has communion with us through His Son. This is somewhere we should always desire to be.
Both these areas denote that we have free access to God, in His courts.

c) then He sets us high on a rock
It is if God is now taunting His enemies, putting us on display high up in view of them, and challenging them to come and get us! We are safe in this high place, out of reach from their grasp.

This portion of Psalm 27 is a lesson in staying close to God.
Even when things are going well, we need to cling to Him. It is when we decide to take on this world alone, and divert our eyes from our precious Saviour, that we risk stumbling into our enemies' trap.

God needs to fight the battle for us. Therefore:

When God moves, we move.
Where He goes, we follow.
What He says to do, we do.
Where He camps, we camp.


Blessings.

Whom Shall I Fear (God Of Angel Armies) by Chris Tomlin

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