GEMS FROM THE OLD TESTAMENT
(Read Psalm 27)
In this psalm King David expresses an awareness of the reality that all believers face in this world: we have enemies who are determined to harm us. They’ll destroy us if they can. Ephesians 6 describes them as principalities, powers, and rulers of the darkness of this age. Our soul is the ultimate target of their attacks.
We can attempt to spare ourselves the distress of this truth by pretending we have no such enemies or by staying very busy in order not to think about it. Neither mitigates the reality of the dangers facing our souls.
On the other hand, always thinking and worrying about it can make us so weary that we feel like giving up. Even the prophet Elijah went through a time when he was ready to just quit and die.
Today there are a variety of means available to help us feel insulated from the reality of having genuine, determined enemies; but we would do well to accept the perilous reality of living in this world as described in the Bible. Ignorant bliss won’t keep us safe.
Scripture, however, shows us how to face and deal with the threat effectively. Psalm 27, for example, tells us how we can face the dangers of this world and overcome them. With good reason we can say with King David, “My heart shall not fear.”
He reveals the means in verse 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.”
David found security in the house of the Lord, because that was where he heard the Word of the Lord. The best way to survive when we are under attack, and the best way to defeat our enemies, is to focus on God, and that’s what God’s Word helps us to do. From His Word we can receive what we need to survive every attack and gain the final victory.
To dwell in God’s house means to make our home there—to dwell within the walls of His sacred Word. We can do that in our church as well as in our own homes. We can do it during our lunch breaks, on the dock by the lake, and wherever else we read our Bibles and ponder God’s Word.
With the term “one thing,” David indicates that believers should have an extraordinary singleness of purpose. Whatever it takes, however long it takes, and whatever the cost, we want unbroken fellowship with God most of all. Our desire and prayer is to know God, to see God’s face and experience His presence. That is the one thing we truly need.
We can have this one thing when we’re under siege, when no one else is with us, yes, even when we’re lying on our sick beds. Through His Word God draws us near to Him. He assures us of His grace and faithfulness, and He encourages us to trust Him no matter our circumstances. When we have the one thing of being connected to God, everything else will be all right.
This one thing means that we will be blessed no matter what. Yes, even when we die, God will make sure that things only get better.
“…truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. And these things we write to you that your joy may be full.” (1 John 1:3, 4)
Delwyn Maas is pastor of Gift of God Lutheran Church in Mapleton, North Dakota.