“1 The Lord is my light and my salvation so why should I be afraid? The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger, so why should I tremble? 2 When evil people come to devour me, when my enemies and foes attack me, they will stumble and fall. 3 Though a mighty army surrounds me, my heart will not be afraid. Even if I am attacked, I will remain confident. 4 The one thing I ask of the Lord, the thing I seek most is to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, delighting in the Lord’s perfections and meditating in his Temple. 5 For he will conceal me there when troubles come; he will hide me in his sanctuary. He will place me out of reach on a high rock. 6 Then I will hold my head high above my enemies who surround me. At his sanctuary I will offer sacrifices with shouts of joy, singing and praising the Lord with music. 7 Hear me as I pray, O Lord. Be merciful and answer me! 8 My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.” And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.” 9 Do not turn your back on me. Do not reject your servant in anger. You have always been my helper. Don’t leave me now; don’t abandon me, O God of my salvation! 10 Even if my father and mother abandon me, the Lord will hold me close. 11 Teach me how to live, O Lord. Lead me along the right path, for my enemies are waiting for me. 12 Do not let me fall into their hands. For they accuse me of things I’ve never done; with every breath they threaten me with violence. 13 Yet I am confident I will see the Lord’s goodness while I am here in the land of the living. 14 Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.”
As David chose to focus on the Lord his fear diminished and his confidence grew, instead of being anxious he was assured. This doesn’t mean that David lived a problem free life, he still anticipated adversity for he says, “when evil men…” and “when my enemies…” David says “when” not “if,” he expects to have times of trouble and turmoil in his life. God provides a way for us to be free from a troubled heart but not from troubled times. You see focusing on the Father doesn’t remove our problems it radically changes our perspective. Instead of living in the panic we live in His presence. David makes a bold statement: “Though a mighty army surrounds me, my heart will not be afraid. Even if I am attacked, I will remain confident” We can have confidence in the chaos because our confidence is based on Christ not our circumstances. As we focus on the Father our faith will be strengthened so that in every situation, we like David we can say, “even then” I will not fear. So if tomorrow the doctor tells you that you have terminal cancer you can face the future fear free. If your finances fail, or your country goes through economic collapse and you end up laid off without any job opportunities in sight, you can still have absolute assurance and peace. As God’s people we don’t have to panic, we can experience peace and calm as we trust in Christ. Not only do we need to look to the Lord but we need to:
- Live with the Lord Vs 4-6
Being dependent on the Lord means dwelling with Him and it is here that David talks about doing life with the Lord. Now these next few verses are often taken out of context in an attempt to encourage us to put God as our highest priority and greatest desire. While putting the Father first in our lives should be a priority, we need to be careful that we don’t miss the context and the connection these verses have to the subject of fear. The message of verse four is that God is David’s all-in-all, his everything. As David focused on God with every part of his life it enabled him to live with great faith and confidence. David chose to dwell with the Lord not dabble. He had a single-minded focus on God, not a side tracked one, saying “one thing I ask of the Lord, the thing I seek.” David’s first desired was to “dwell in the house of the Lord” to come close and commune with God. Most people in David’s day only visited the temple, but David wanted to live there. He didn’t want to be a guest of God he wanted to be a resident, “all the days of his life.” Guests come and go they don’t dwell. Unfortunately, guest of God seems to describe many disciples today, content just to drop in from time to time instead of dwell. But David didn’t want a revolving door he wanted a deep and intimate relationship where he could sink his roots down. He wanted a regular ongoing relationship not a sporadic one. How unlike Christians today who prefer to just come and go as they please, their desire is not to dwell, they are not looking for a relationship they are looking for results. Instead of seeking the Father they are seeking a formula, instead of seeking the Author they are looking for an answer. They are looking for a quick fix for their fears instead of looking to the Father. When we come to God only to seek a solution, it will result in a rollercoaster relationship, where we spend our lives running to Him when our lives are in ruin and running from Him once they are repaired. But David didn’t just turn to God in the turbulent times, he chose to dwell in the difficult and the delightful ones. Our tendency is to turn to God only in times of turmoil, to pursue His presence only in the problems. Yet part of the reason we have the problems that we do is that we have wonder away from His presence. Are you going to stray or stay? Are you going to be a temporary guest or a permanent resident? David didn’t just focus on God on the weekends but throughout the week. Are you going to seek Him sporadic or continually draw close? Not only did David live in God’s presence but he looked at God’s perfection. Verse four tells us that he “delighted in the Lord’s perfections.” As he focused on God’s attributes his fears were relieved. When was the last time you focused on God’s faithfulness, or concentrated on His care and compassion? When was the last time you pondered His power and provision, or saw His sovereignty over your situation? When was the last time you looked at and lingered in His love, or beheld His holiness? If we don’t dwell with Him we will miss the might and the majesty of our God. What about you are you choosing to live with Him, are you residing or running in and out?