Psalms 27

Steve Viars August 8, 1993 Psalms 27:

- this morning, we're going to study Psalm 27
  - to try to picture a little bit of what it would have been
     like for the children of Israel to use these songs as
     part of their worship, I'd like us to read the Psalm in
     unison.

   - of course, in this day and age, that immediately brings
     up the problem of versions--so I've made copies of Psalm
     27 from the NASB.

   - I'd like to divide you into two groups:

      Group one - the statement in verse 1

      Group two - the questions in verse 1

      Group one - verses 2-6

      Group two - verses 7-10

      Group one - verses 11-13

      Unison - verse 14

("rehearse" a couple of times--switching the group's
   assignments)

- the theme of Psalm 27 perhaps can best be phrased in the
    form of a question: Do you respond to "enemies" with fear
    or confidence?


- INPUT - let me ask you to look over Psalm 27 again, and
    let's as many examples as we can of words or phrases that
    talk about David's enemies, troubles, fears.  (varied
    answers)


- So Psalm 27, as well as several other Psalms, deal with the
   issue of "enemies."

- Remember, as we study the Scripture, we're seeking to
   understand what the passage would have meant to the
   original hearers -- and then to take that rightly
   understood message of the verses and apply them to where
   we are today.

- cone diagram


- Bible   - original audience    - contemporary audience


- the "challenge" with this particular kind of Scripture
   (that has the warfare/enemy imagery) is that the original
    audience was in a much better position to "automatically
    apply" the message of the verses than you and I are in
    1993.

- I say that for two reasons:

    1) They were used to constant war.  Historically, Israel
       was constantly at war (as was much of the ancient
       world.) Many of the Jews who would sing this song as
       part of the Sabbath would had been men who had been in
       active combat.
          - that’s not as true for you and I today.
          - the images that this Psalm would have naturally
             called up in their minds are ones we're to going
             to have to work harder at picturing.

    2) Their "enemies" were more obvious.  Life in the
        ancient world was very unsafe.  Countries were
        regularly attacking each other.  It was easier to
        define your enemies.
         - Traveling from place to place was very dangerous--
           - the idea of an enemy hiding in a rocky place
             and ambushing you was much more prevalent then.

           - when an OT Jew heard the word "enemy," it
             wouldn't have taken him/her long to put some
             "faces" next to that concept.

           - that may not be as true for you and I.

- now please don't get me wrong.
   - you and I are facing enemies every bit as much as any OT
      Jew--and some of them are exactly the same as the ones
      David talked about.
   - However--some of our enemies may not be as
      prevalent//obvious//overt.
       - that means, in order for a passage like Psalm 27 to
         come alive in a way that will help us change and
         grow-we're going to have to work at thinking about
         ways the verses apply to us today.

- we've got a chart on the board that is intended to help us
   think about this matter of "enemies" today.
Enemies of the      What will happen if I don't    How does
believer today      recognize this as a "battle-   "fear"
                    zone where Christ promises/     factor
                    expects victory?                in?
_____________________________________________________________

(teachers - go through and complete)

-- Some possible answers:

Enemies of the believer today:

  1) the enemy within - i.e. our flesh, sinful habits, lusts,
        etc.
          - point - must recognize this as a battle.


  2) Enemy of our world system - I John 2:13-15


  3) Our adversary, the devil - I Peter 5:8

  4) "personal enemies" - i.e. people who do not like the
        fact that you are a believer, or for whatever reason
        seem to take special delight in giving you a hard
        time or making your life miserable.

What will happen if I don't recognize this as a "battle zone"
where Christ promises/expects victory?

  1) (for the enemy within) - will be lackadaisical about
       growth, will lack caution concerning temptations

  2) (for the enemy of our world system) - might love the
       world, fail to see the dangers of philosophies of
       education, economics, etc.
         - may be a "friend of the world" instead of a
           "friend with God."

  3) (for our adversary, the devil) - may fail to recognize
      the existence of spiritual warfare (properly defined)
        - lackadaisical about growth.

  4) (personal enemies) - return evil for evil, bitter,
        depressed, pity party


How does fear factor into this?

  1) (for the enemy within) - may be convinced that
       growth/change is impossible--therefore afraid to try.
       - i.e. - "I'm not going to talk to anyone about this
          problem--I've been failing in this area too long--
          there's no hope."

  2) (for the enemy of our world system) - afraid to be
       different than the world, afraid to miss out on the
       pleasures of the world, afraid the world has won and
       the best we can do is hang on and go down in a blaze
       of glory.


  3) (for our adversary the devil) - ascribing
       powers/attributes to Satan that he doesn't possess,
       seeing Satan under every rock, giving up on trying to
       change.

  4) (for personal enemies) - fearful and worried about what
      they might do next, Prov. 2(;25 - the fear of man
      brings a snare.


- now, the point that we're trying to make so far is that you
   and I do face enemies today.
     - and it's very possible that fear will prevent us from
        doing/being what God desires.

     - the question is - Do you respond to "enemies" with
        confidence or fear?

- Psalm 27 is written to help us develop biblical confidence
     and courage so that we can stand up and have victory
     over any enemy we face.
       - this passage tells us how:

I. The Psalmist's Confidence in God's Provision - 27:1-6

    - these verses are "dripping" with spiritual confidence
       and boldness.

    A. It quieted his fears

        - As we said earlier, David asked two questions in
          verse 1.
          - INPUT - what were the expected answers?  (no one)

          - think about that for a minute - here's a man who
            could say--I'm not afraid of anyone, or any
            situation, any trial--because of my relationship
            with the Lord.

        - He also gives us some reasons in verse 1 for this
          confidence.
            - INPUT - what are they?
                1) the Lord is my light
                2) the Lord is my salvation
                3) the Lord is my defense

     - INPUT - what was David trying to picture with his use
        of the phrase -- the Lord is my "light" - (What does
        that have to do with fear)

        - cf. walking down the country road--neighbor's dog

        - David is picturing a relationship with God that
          gives him light...
           - light to see his own shortcomings and sin
           - light to have direction for the future
           - light that made his way plain

- the word "strength" (NASB - defense) is the word for
    "bulwark" or shield.
     - The Lord was David's invisible shield as he sought to
         honor God.
- it doesn't matter what others say or do
   - it doesn't matter how they may be able to hurt me--God
       is my strength and shield, David is saying.

   B. It conquered his foes - verse 2

      - David could speak historically about the way(s) God
         had protected him in the past.

      - INPUT - can you think of some ways that God did this
           in David's life?  (Goliath, Saul)

      - point is - David had a "track record" - he had put
        the truth of God's word to the test in his own
        experience as he sought to trust God and live for Him
           - as a result--he could face the future with great
               confidence

- this verse explains why some believers would have trouble
    making the kind of statements found in verse 1
      - it's because they don't have a track record--they've
        never really placed themselves in a situation where
        they aggressively went at "fighting" one of the
        enemies we listed earlier--so when a new challenge or
        a new "fight" comes along--there's no track record

   - the thing is--you never know when that next test might
       come.
        - cf. Ken Bixby's situation -- was able to handle
           that trial with confidence (instead of fear and
           worry) because he'd been living that way before
           the trial.

    C. It gave calm in the midst of great problems - verse 3

        - David turns around in verse 3 and looks to the
          future.
            - he's able to make the same kind of comments
              about the future because of the reason's we've
              just discussed.

        - I think a good question to ask at this point would
           be -- Do you see yourself as a person who is
           "fighting well" against the enemies we mentioned
            before?
              - Do you have the kind of relationship with God
                where you view Him as your light, salvation,
                protection?
              - Can you talk about how that's worked
                  historically?
              - Can you think about/talk about the future
                  with the same kind of confidence?


- INPUT - what are some opposites of the kind of lifestyle
            these verses are describing?


- now, when we get into verse 4--David gives us some
  indication of what has sustained this kind of confidence:

D. It prompted fellowship, prayer, and praise - verse 4-6
    - one writer said of this verse; "divided interests tend
      to weaken a man's pursuits, while a single interest
      tends to make a man proficient in what he is doing."

    - David says that he is desiring and seeking after "one
        thing"--to dwell in the house of the Lord, to behold
        His beauty, and inquire in his temple.
        - in other words--to cultivate a growing, intimate
            relationship with His Lord.

- now obviously, there were other things David desired and
   other things he sought after
     - but in terms of priorities, if you watched David's
        life
          - his desire for a growing relationship with God
            was so important that any other desires or any
            other things he sought simply "paled" in
            comparison.

- Can I ask you this morning--is that verse convicting?
  - now you know we're not talking about sitting around all
      day praying and studying the Word so that you do
      nothing else.

      - maybe you've heard the statement, "some folks are so
         heavenly minded they're no earthly good."
           - that's not what we're talking about
           - but let's face it—that’s not the ditch most of
               us are in.

- it would be wise to think about -- what priorities/things
   in my schedule might need to change in order for verse 4
   to become more of a reality?


- David concludes this first section in verse 6.
   - INPUT - what is he emphasizing here?

         1) the victory that God is going to give him
         2) the praise he is going to give God.


- the kind of relationship that David describes in verses 1-6
   leads naturally to the kind of prayer we read about in
   verse 7-13.

- this prayer is very honest, where David shares some of his
    innermost fears/thoughts/ and emotions.
- it's also very personal, where David "let's us in on" the
    nature of his conversation with God Himself.

II. The Psalmist's Cry To God

    A. David's concerns

        - INPUT - what do you see David concerned about in
            these verses?

            1) that God will hear him - vs. 7-8

            2) that God will not be angry with him - vs. 9

        3) being forsaken by parents - v. 10

        4) being delivered to his enemies - v. 12

        5) false criticism - v. 12

    B. David's confidence

        - even though the list of problems/concerns we just
          mentioned are substantial--David still had
          confidence -- the verses give us some indication as
          to why:

        1) That God will bless his obedience

            - verse 8 - because the Lord told him to pray--he
               prayed.
                - even though the problems he faced were
                  intense--he knew God would bless his
                  obedience.
                    - the steps of a good man are ordered by
                       the Lord.  (Psalm 37:23)

        2) The Lord will never forsake him. - verse 10

        3) The Lord will guide him.

            - today, through the Word.

        4) Focused on God's goodness - verse 13

        5) Waited on the Lord - verse 14

Steve Viars

B.S. - Bible, Baptist Bible College
M.Div. - Grace Theological Seminary
D.Min. - Westminster Theological Seminary

Pastor Steve Viars has served at Faith Church since 1987. He and his wife Kris were married in 1982 and have two married daughters, a son, and two grandchildren. Pastor Viars’ gifted teaching ministry, enthusiasm for the Word of God, and organizational skills are instrumental in equipping Faith Church. He oversees the staff, deacons, and all Faith ministries and serves on the boards of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, Biblical Counseling Coalition, Vision of Hope, and the Faith Community Development Corporation.

Read Steve Viars’ Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Viars to Faith Church.

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