Have you ever been chased, by someone trying to get you? I have. I used to play hide and seek all the time. Getting chased is scary! I can only imagine what it would be like to be chased by someone really trying to do me harm or even kill me. It would be terrifying!
This is the scenario David describes in Psalm 27. He says his enemies are “breathing out violence” and that armies are chasing him. This sounds serious.
If we are honest, most folks in vocational ministry have probably felt that as well a time or two. I know I certainly have. Sure, no one was trying to kill me, but it sure seemed like folks were out to get me. When the people you pour your heart out for are the ones out to get you it makes things tough. It becomes easy to lose perspective.
So here’s how David handled it in Psalm 27.
David writes in vs 3 – even though war is breaking out around me, I’ll be confident “Who should I fear?” David has perspective. He’s taking a wide angle view on life. He knows who his God is. He knows how powerful God is. David remembers what his God has done for him and for his people.
David’s perspective on who he knows God to be leads to confidence that God will come through. David is saying here, “Things seem tough now, But I know my God.”
David isn’t undone by his circumstances because he is anchored by who he knows God to be. David’s identity is found in the strength of God, not in his own frailty.
David remembers how God has delivered him before, and delivered his people before. In verse 5 he says “he will keep me safe…he will hide me” in verse 9 he declares God has been his “Helper” – he knows this because God has shown up to Him before.
This week I looked up the word “Perspective,” and it comes from the Latin word Perspectiva– it simply means to look at closely. Look at what David writes in verse 4, “One thing I ask…that I may dwell in the house of the lord.” Why does he want to do this, so he can “Gaze upon the beauty of God and seek him in his Temple.” This is David’s only request! This is the focal point of what David wants – for the presence of God in his life.
The most important thing to David here has nothing to do with his enemies, his problems, the most important thing is to look closely at God – to make him his focus – to make Him his perspective. To sit in His presence.
We gaze at the beautiful things don’t we? A Van Gogh or Monet, the stars at night, our great love, our child, the mountains, the oceans. A gaze is a steady, sustained focus on something we find beautiful. And David finds God beautiful above all else. His love for us, his majesty, his Salvation – is completely beautiful. David’s one desire, one request, is to meditate on the beauty and love of God.
What are we gazing at? The transcendent beauty of the love of God, or our current trouble? What are we holding in our perspective?