In The Ring: Weathering (Psalm 27)

MOTIVATE

There is a story about Midwest farmers of the Great Plains on how they survived during the winter season.[1] In this region, a blizzard could arrive quickly, and in a matter of minutes visibility could be nil. Therefore, farmers became wise to tie a rope from their door to their barn so they could feed the animals and get certain supplies as needed. If a farmer did not stay tethered to the rope during a snowstorm, then there was high probability a person could end up becoming lost in an open field. Blizzard conditions were so severe that persons could get disoriented, fearful, and freeze to death even within a few feet of their own home.

Whether we realize it, or not, we are living in a blizzard. It might not be the right season for snow, but we are experiencing a blizzard of

  • Information overload.
  • Emotional exhaustion.
  • Social anxiety.
  • Racial hostility.
  • Political idolatry.
  • Economic upheaval.
  • Technological distraction.
  • Moral indifference.
  • Spiritual confusion.

Many individuals and families are losing their way because they are not tethered to their eternal home. They have wandered outside for productivity and provision, but because they were not prepared for the season, they have become disoriented and fearful, potentially nearing the end of their journey. In other words – to be specific – I believe there are many who call themselves Christians, and they may OR NOT genuinely be so, who have sought to help the church or work for God to impact a secular culture but they have done so without God’s word and without following God’s way.

Many individuals and families are losing their way because they are not tethered to their eternal home. Weathering storms is a necessary reality.

Our message series is titled “In The Ring.” So far we have reflected upon families “Discovering” their identity, “Anchoring” their faith, “Nurturing” understanding, and “Maneuvering” wisdom. Today’s message is about “Weathering” the current cultural blizzard. My aim is to help you become tethered to your eternal home…

NOT

  • Tethered to Hollywood’s pleasures and promises of satisfaction.
  • Tethered to Silicon Valley’s heightened promises of a better community and utopia.
  • Tethered to Wall Street’s lure of security and prosperity.
  • Tethered to Washington D.C.’s efforts to reform or establish power.

BUT

  • Tethered to Calvary’s Hill where forgiveness & freedom are found. 
  • Tethered to the family of faith where compassion for the broken and true love embraces all.
  • Tethered to eternity where every enemy is under Heaven’s throne, every battle is already won, and hope is unwavering.
  • Tethered to the Bible for wisdom from above & inward strength to persevere. 

EXAMINE                 Psalm 27

Of David.

The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

2 When evildoers assail me to eat up my flesh, my adversaries and foes, it is they who stumble and fall.

3 Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, yet I will be confident.

One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple.

For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will lift me high upon a rock.

And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me, and I will offer in his tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing and make melody to the Lord.

Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud; be gracious to me and answer me!

You have said, “Seek my face.” My heart says to you, “Your face, Lord, do I seek.”

Hide not your face from me. Turn not your servant away in anger, O you who have been my help. Cast me not off; forsake me not, O God of my salvation!

10 For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the Lord will take me in.

11 Teach me your way, O Lord, and lead me on a level path because of my enemies.

12 Give me not up to the will of my adversaries; for false witnesses have risen against me, and they breathe out violence.

13 I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living!

14 Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!

We weather fear with faith in the Lord. 

Again, this is a psalm of David. We are reading David’s journal and prayers, where he reflects vulnerability. David is not without fear. But his greater fear is of the Lord, which enables him to fight being afraid and to act in faith.

Fear always starts in the dark – in a dim environment or discouraging circumstances. Since everyone has at least once walked in darkness, everyone has known what it’s like to be afraid.

  • Fear clouds. It blinds you from reality and distorts your vision. But David says, “The Lord is my light.”
  • Fear condemns. It whispers you’re not enough and weighs you down with past failures. But David says, “The Lord is my salvation.”
  • Fear produces uncertainty. It causes you to second-guess beliefs and hesitate to be courageous. But David says, “The Lord is the stronghold of my life.”

Two hundred years ago this year (1822-2022), William Milne was died as a one-way missionary. He, along with others, purchased single tickets to the mission field without a return trip. Instead of packing their suitcases, they placed their earthly belongings in coffins, willing to give everything in life for the cause of the gospel. And for 35 years, Milne lived among the New Hebrides tribes to learn their language, befriend them, and write biblical literature to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ. When he died, the tribe members buried him in the middle of their village and inscribed this epitaph on his tombstone:

        When he came there was no light.
        When he left there was no darkness.

O Lord, we pray that faith might overcome fear for your light to shine in the darkness.

  • What fears have caused you to lack trust in the Lord?
  • What fears have hindered your light to shine for Jesus?

We weather conflict with confidence in the Lord. 

2 When evildoers assail me to eat up my flesh, my adversaries and foes, it is they who stumble and fall.

3 Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, yet I will be confident.

David speaks of evildoers who assail him with a ravenous appetite to consume and kill him. His foes are not few, but an ample army encamped and equipped for war. David’s vivid imagery of his adversaries reflect the temptation to not only fear but flee.

Yet, David is strengthened by letting contentment in the Lord overcome conflict. David’s public confidence came from his personal obedience. Regardless the conflict in David’s life – whether he was facing a wild lion, a brute bear, an aggressive giant, or a reckless king – he relied upon the Lord.

One of the ways you, and your family, can grow your confidence in the Lord is not only reading Scripture but by reading spiritual biographies: (10 Who Changed World[2], Christian Heroes Then&Now[3], Swans Are Not Silent[4]). By reading how God has worked in past lives, we gain confidence that God will work in the present. Further, overcome chronological snobbery, believing that today’s issues are more difficult than the past. We understand there are few things new under the sun.


 Today’s hot topics

  • Gender/Marriage: Gen 1-3 / Jesus wasn’t silent (Mt 19:
  • Race: Gen 12 bless all nations / care for sojourner (Dt 10:19, etc.[5]) / love Gentiles (Jn 4; Lk 10; Mt 28:19-20, etc.), ethnic favoritism (Ac 10:28; 15; Gal 2:11-12); kingdom (Rev 4-5).
  • Violence: Gen 4 brother’s keeper; Mt 5:21-26 reconciliation
  • Politics: Mk 12:17 render to Caesar; Rom 13/1Pt 2 honor gov
  • Wealth: Mt 6:19-24 treasure in heaven not earth / 1 master

On all these issues, Christians must remember sinners are not the enemy. Too often the church wants to conflict with and condemn victims rather than save them.

“For God loved the world in this way: He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world that He might condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.” (Jn 3:16-17)

If our confidence is in the Lord, then we do not need to fear conflict but face it. The culture war will not be won with physical power but spiritual strength. As long as we are faithful with truth in love, Jesus will take care of the rest.

  • Are you choosing the right conflicts that matter for eternity?
    We don’t have to fight about everything. We need to learn how to compromise open-handed issues and confront close-handed issues. Yet, the old saying about catching flies more with honey than vinegar is true. Our faith witness must be winsome with gentleness and kindness.
  • Is there someone you are not speaking truth?
    Truth without love is unhelpful & hypocrisy.
  • Is there someone you are not loving?
    Love without truth is harsh & superficiality.

We weather loneliness with intimacy in the Lord. 

One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple.

For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will lift me high upon a rock.

And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me, and I will offer in his tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing and make melody to the Lord.

David’s circumstances were frequently overwhelming. He had many tasks on his plate as a kingly administrator, military warrior, and family shepherd. Yet, his identity was not wrapped up in political gamesmanship nor the power of an empire. Further, David could have been tempted to numb his heartache with worldly substitutes, but instead he fixed his focus on the face of God.

David understood politics and nations are but a footnote in history and trivial activity compared to the surpassing infiniteness and intimacy of Almighty God. David found time with the Lord was invigorating. He was single-minded in seeking the Lord and undistracted in devotion to gaze upon God’s beauty. The face of God is uncreated beauty, indescribable brilliance, and glorious in splendor.[6]

In the ancient eastern mindset, when a visitor entered his hosts tent, the host was personally responsible for protection and provision.[7] We see this is the result of David’s spending time with the Lord

  • Protection: hidden in God’s shelter in the day of trouble. 
  • Provision: under the cover of God’s tent.  
  • Perspective: lift me high upon a rock; lifted above enemies… able to sing and make melody.

God’s people remain calm in the chaos and experience peace in pandemic problems. When we fret and fear, it is because we have not spent time with the Lord. Fear cannot flourish if we don’t feed it.

God’s people remain calm in the chaos and experience peace in pandemic problems. When we fret and fear, it is because we have not spent time with the Lord. Fear cannot flourish if we don’t feed it.

Intimacy sounds like “into – me – see”. God gives us an invitation to investigate His character and actions that our deep knowledge of Him would develop roots to weather storms and fruit to nurture the souls of others.

  • Study the attributes and names of God.[8]
  • Study the last days of Jesus, especially His prayer in John 17.[9]
  • David says in v.10 For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the Lord will take me in. Realize that biological family may or not endure, but spiritual family – though imperfect – will facilitate God’s peace, protection, provision, and perspective.

We weather doubt with direction in the Lord. 

Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud; be gracious to me and answer me!

You have said, “Seek my face.” My heart says to you, “Your face, Lord, do I seek.”

Hide not your face from me. Turn not your servant away in anger, O you who have been my help. Cast me not off; forsake me not, O God of my salvation!

11 Teach me your way, O Lord, and lead me on a level path because of my enemies.

13 I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living!

14 Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!

When we have discouragement over God’s decisions or doubts over what God desires, the best actions for us are to follow David’s plan in this passage.

First, we see that David gained direction with intercession. He did not vent in the air but voiced a prayer. He took his questions to the Lord’s face. He relied upon God’s grace and guidance with a humble, teachable spirit in prayer.[10]

Second, we see that David gained direction with introspection. He asked God not to hide or cast him away when he strayed or sinned.

David repented of sin and waited upon the Lord. His waiting was not for forgiveness, because that was immediate at repentance. Instead, David’s waiting was for God to reveal what was next.

An example of this in David’s life was when he first became king. After Saul dies, there is war between their two families. David showed honor to Saul’s family as much as possible, and that gained respect before the other tribes in Israel (2 Sam 1-5). Yet, the Philistines (Israel’s ongoing enemy) sought an opportunity to test the newly appointed king. David had his doubts if his army was ready, so he prays.

2 Sam 5:19-20 “David prays, ‘Should I go to war against the Philistines? Will you hand them over to me?” And the LORD replied to David, ‘Go, for I will certainly hand the Philistines over to you. So, David went to Baal-perazim and defeated them there and said, ‘Like a bursting flood, the LORD has burst out against my enemies before me.’ Therefore, he named that place ‘The Lord Bursts Out.’”

The next series of events in David’s life is him bringing the ark of God’s covenant (a spiritual memory box) back to Jerusalem. One of David’s men touches the box and dies because he was not handling it properly. David prays with intercession and introspection for 3-mo, and God permits him to bring the ark home. When it arrives, David celebrates and dances. Then, God makes an everlasting covenant to bless David for all generations.

God’s people weather doubts with direction in the Lord. Our breakthrough is on the other side of spiritual brokenness: interceding for others and introspection about ourself.

Another prayer of David’s is found in Ps 139:23-24 “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my concerns. See if there is any offensive way in me; lead me in the everlasting way.”

  • Breakthrough is on the other side of spiritual brokenness. We must be willing to pray introspectively.
  • Breakthrough is not passive praying but prepared availability.
    Prov 21:31 “The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the Lord.” Be still before the Lord but stand ready for action. 

APPLY/THINK

One of the ways a child reflects contentment and peace is by falling asleep in their parent’s lap. Though they may have had a disruptive or disobedient day, they end with the embrace of their loving and gracious parent who takes care of all that is wrong.

Won’t you rest in the Father’s grace?


[1] Story told from a Quaker named Parker Palmer, A Hidden Wholeness.

[2] https://www.christianbook.com/ten-who-changed-the-world/daniel-akin/9781433673078/pd/673078

[3] https://www.ywampublishing.com/p-941-chronological-order-christian-heroes-then-now.aspx

[4] https://www.desiringgod.org/series/the-swans-are-not-silent

[5] https://www.esv.org/Exodus+23:9;Leviticus+19:33;Deuteronomy+10:18%E2%80%9319;Jeremiah+7:6;Zechariah+7:10;Malachi+3:5/

[6] Last two sentences inspired by https://www.samstorms.org/all-articles/post/one-thing–once-more–psalm-27:4-

[7] Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Worshipful, 1st ed., “Be” Commentary Series (Colorado Springs, CO: Cook Communications Ministries, 2004), 109.

[8] https://growinggodlygenerations.files.wordpress.com/2010/02/god-has-a-name.pdf

[9] https://growinggodlygenerations.files.wordpress.com/2017/04/prayer-encounters-devotional.pdf

[10] Psalm 25:4-10. See https://growinggodlygenerations.com/2022/05/15/in-the-ring-psalm-25/

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s