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Psalm 28

David prays and waits on Yahweh for fellowship and protection

Summary

While under attack, David expresses his confidence in Yahweh as his light, his salvation, and his defense. David’s one main request to Yahweh is that he may fellowship with Yahweh person to person in the sanctuary, but to do this Yahweh must defend him from the evildoers. David continues by saying that he wants to seek Yahweh’s face, and asking Yahweh not to abandon him, but instead to protect him, to teach him his ways and guide him, and to deliver him from those who want to kill him. He concludes with an expression of confidence in Yahweh and a challenge for faith—to wait for Yahweh, be strong and courageous, yes, to wait for Yahweh.

Outline

  1. Psalm 27.1-3. Foundational beliefs. David expresses his confidence in Yahweh as his light, his salvation, and his defense. Therefore, he has no reason to fear the evildoers even though they wage war against him.
  2. Psalm 27.4-6. Prayer for fellowship. David’s one main request to Yahweh is that he may fellowship with Yahweh person to person in the sanctuary. Here he would focus his attention on Yahweh and his wonderful works, experience safety, and praise Yahweh.
  3. Psalm 27.7-12. Prayer for help. David continues by asking Yahweh not to abandon him, but instead to protect him, to teach him his ways and guide him, and to deliver him from those who want to kill him.
  4. Psalm 27.13-14. Faith waiting. He concludes with an expression of confidence in Yahweh and a challenge for faith—to wait for Yahweh, strong and courageous, yes, to wait for Yahweh

History

The history is not known. This psalm possibly has the Absalom rebellion or other attacks on David as its historical background. See 1 Samuel 23-24 (Saul stalking David) and 2 Samuel 13-18 (Absalom rebelled against David).

Exposition

  1. Psalm 27.1-3. Foundational beliefs. David expresses his confidence in Yahweh as his light, his salvation, and his defense. Therefore, he has no reason to fear the evildoers even though they wage war against him.
    • Psalm 27.1. Light (‘or) is a figure for happiness, knowledge, direction, righteousness (Psa 18.28; 43.3; 36.9; 56.13; 97.11; 119.105, 130;). Exodus 14.19-20 we see light used for Yahweh and his guidance. In Psalm 27 light refers to guidance and encouragement. Light removes darkness. Darkness indicates sin, discouragement, confusion, despair. Yahweh is David’s light. Yahweh encourages and guides David. Salvation refers to deliverance in any time of trouble. Yahweh is the person David depends on for encouragement, guidance, and deliverance. The conclusion is why should he be afraid? He should not be afraid. Yahweh is also David’s defense (maoz), which is a place or means of safety or protection. There is then no one to dread (pachad). There is no one for David to dread even though he was hunted by Saul and Absalom as referenced above.
    • Psalm 27.2. Amplifies the principles of verse 1. Evildoers, adversaries, enemies all fail to defeat David. The figure is of an animal destroying its victim.
    • Psalm 27.3. Now the psalmist pictures an army and warfare attacking him. Because Yahweh is his light, deliverance, and defense he will not fear and will instead be confident. Confident is the qal participle of batach, which means to trust and is used many times in the OT. Trust. בָּטַח (bāṭaḥ). Trust, feel safe, be confident. 32x in Psalms. 104x in OT. Psalms 52.8; 55.23; 56.4, 11; 62.8; 78.22
  2. Psalm 27.4-6. Prayer for fellowship. David’s one main request to Yahweh is that he may fellowship with Yahweh person to person in the sanctuary. Here he would focus his attention on Yahweh and his wonderful works, experience safety, and praise Yahweh.
    • Psalm 27.4. David’s great desire was to dwell, to see, and to meditate. He desired continual fellowship (yashab dwell; LXX katoikeo live, dwell) with Yahweh, to be occupied with and focus on (to behold) Yahweh, and to meditate on Yahweh. David is not saying that he will live always in the tabernacle. His desire is to fellowship in the place of Yahweh’s presence. This is like Psalm 23.6. The different words for the place: house (bayit Strong #1004) of the LORD, temple (hekal Strong #1954), tabernacle (sok Strong #5520), tent (‘ohel Strong #168), and then rock (tsur Strong #6697). All refer to the place where the LORD dwells with his people.
    • Psalm 27.5. Yahweh will conceal, hide, and lift David up when David is in troubling circumstances. Tabernacle (Hebrew sok, lion’s lair, hut; LXX skene, tent, hut). This verse says Yahweh will protect David and keep him secure.
    • Psalm 27.6. David anticipates protection and victory. He will offer sacrifices with shouts of praise. David senses the security that he has in the tabernacle. Thanksgiving is a prominent part of his sacrifices.
  3. Psalm 27.7-12. Prayer for help. David continues by asking Yahweh not to abandon him, but instead to protect him, to teach him his ways and guide him, and to deliver him from those who want to kill him.
    • Psalm 27.7. David cries out to Yahweh for help. Apparently Yahweh had not yet done all David had asked.
    • Psalm 27.8. There are textual questions with the middle part of the verse, but the sense is that David will seek Yahweh’s face by prayer. See the LXX and MT.
    • Psalm 27.9. This verse indicates that David is still asking Yahweh for help that has not yet come. If Yahweh does not come to his aid, David will not experience Yahweh’s light, deliverance, and refuge. “God of my salvation” stresses that any help he receives must come from God.
    • Psalm 27.10. We do not know how or to what extent his mother and father abandoned him—by death, or unable to help. This could also be a concessive clause, “though.” However David meant this, Yahweh will take care of him. The Hebrew verb (asap Strong #622) has the meaning of to gather, take in.
    • Psalm 27.11-12. David’s enemies want to destroy him. They are false witnesses who want to publicize lies about him. They plan violence against him. Because of this David appeals to Yahweh for instruction and guidance. Teach (yara Strong # 3384, throw, cast, direct, instruct) has the idea of pointing out Yahweh’s ways. The level path is the right way to live. His foes are those who watch (sorer Strong #8324, watcher) him and wait for an open advantage over him. David needs Yahweh’s instruction and guidance.
  4. Psalm 27.13-14. Faith waiting. He concludes with an expression of confidence in Yahweh and a challenge for faith—to wait for Yahweh, strong and courageous, yes, to wait for Yahweh
    • Psalm 27.13. This is David’s expression of confidence. The good things are God’s blessings during life. Without faith that Yahweh will rescue and bless him, David has no hope. Yahweh is his light, deliverance, and refuge (Psalm 27.1).
    • Psalm 27.2. His conclusion is wait (qavah Strong #6960), be strong (chazaq Strong #2388, be strong, have courage), take courage (amets Strong #553 be strong,  be bold, be alert), wait (qavah Strong #6960).

 So what for us?

  1. The order of this psalm gives us an order or structure for facing attacks from others. The LORD the foundation of our life and faith (who he is, what he does, what he has said); pray for fellowship with God; pray for help when in trouble; then wait for the LORD to deliver or work his will.
  2. The LORD is greater than any trouble. No reason for fear.
  3. Focus our attention on the LORD instead of trouble.
  4. Desire fellowship with the LORD and meditate on him and heavenly ideas and things.
  5. Ask the LORD to teach me his way (his will, his provisions, his way to live) and to lead (guidance) me in order to escape danger.
  6. Wait by faith for the LORD to work in my life and be courageous because he is my defense.