What Is Happening in Psalm 27?
Some scholars put this Psalm early in David's adult life, when he found himself running for his life from King Saul. But situations he mentioned, such as the wicked coming against him and surrounding him and betrayals by false witnesses, could describe various points in David's life. However, the time period doesn't affect the value of its meaning.
The definition of "psalm" is "sacred song or hymn," and many of David's pieces were used during times of corporate worship. As with today's hymns, truths and principles about God were taught through music. In those cases, the intended audience for a Psalm would be the people of Israel.
The song can be looked at as two different stanzas, which leads some to suspect two separate songs were actually joined together. It begins (verses 1-3) with a confident statement against fear. The next section (verses 4-6) takes on an intimate tone, as David requests to stay in God's presence every moment - that is where his true safety lies.
From there David is led into a prayer (verses 6-12), seeking reassurance that God is still near to him in his trouble. Finally, his spirit calmed, David affirms his trust in God's goodness (verses 13-14), even if he must wait to see it. Overall, Psalms 27 is a reminder that God is our source of strength and courage to stand firm when trouble comes, and He will show blessing to those who truly seek Him.
God Is Our Shield Against Fear
Imagine being a soldier in David's day, getting ready to go out into battle. You would take great care to equip yourself with defensive armor, from the helmet on down, to be protected from the enemy's attacks. The final piece you'd need would be a shield to wear or hold in front of you for an extra layer of protection.
In his songs, David compared putting on a strong shield before battle with asking God to go with us as we face struggles in life. He wasn't the first Scripture writer to do that, either. Moses recorded God's words in a vision Abram had, "Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield…" (Genesis 15:1). Moses himself used the phrase as he spoke blessings over the tribes of Israel: "He is your shield and helper and your glorious sword" (Deuteronomy 33:29).
This picture of God reveals a challenging truth, namely that God is more interested in growing our character than giving us perfect lives. So, He often lets us go through difficult times, using situations and issues to mature us. But, as we walk into our battle, however big or small, God promises to cover us. He protects our hearts and minds from attacks that the enemy (that is, Satan) launches, while strengthening us to stand firm.
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