The Blessing of Seeking God
Life is full of ups and downs. Just when we are feeling good, just when it seems like smooth sailing is our destiny, BAM! The rug gets pulled out from under our feet; we hit a snag, a barrier, a circumstance we can’t seem to get through. Like a beautiful jar of raspberry jam that’s stuck and we can’t get opened, we feel like we’re on the outside looking in, missing out on all the good bits.
In these moments of doubt and darkness, we are often tempted to judge God based on our circumstances. In Psalm 27, David invites us to flip the script and judge our circumstances through the lens of God’s faithfulness and promises.
David was a man who had it all – wealth, fame, women, success … and yet, his passion was to be with the people of God, worshipping God, seeking God. For David, worship was a reality restoration zone where his perspective of God and life God restored. When we gather with God’s people to gaze on the beauty of the Lord, our sense of what’s real and what’s right gets re-orientated.
At the heart of this Psalm is an invitation to seek God. So here’s the deal: You SEE what you SEEK. Like buying a new car, now you see it everywhere. Why? Because that’s been the thing that you’re looking at; now the thing you look at is more observable.
God is always around us and with us, but we are often blind to his provision in our lives because we are seeking other things. When we turn to seek God, then we experience his goodness, presence, and provision.
Let’s take a look at this Psalm and see what we can learn.
The promise of a fear-free life.
In Psalm 27:1, David reflects on God as light because he’s in darkness; he calls God his salvation because he needs to be rescued; he identifies God as stronghold because he feels insecure. So here’s a question: How did David come to this conclusion? In short, he cultivated the practice of corporate worship.
Here’s how I read the Bible: when David says ‘the Lord is my light and my salvation’, he’s not offering generic opinion or off the shelf theological truth.
Remember: God’s light is greater than the darkness we face; God’s salvation is greater than the lostness we feel; God’s strength to keep us is greater than the forces trying to pull us away.
The predicament: everything is against him.
Have you ever felt like the world was against you? Well, for David it was.
David’s assessment of God was not based on the fact that everything was going well. Just the opposite. In Psalm 27:2-3, it feels for David like the world is against him. He even says, ‘Though an army encamp against me … though war arise against me’. In 1 Samuel we read that this was literally true in David’s life: he was chased by an army; an entire war was created and brought to bear against him.
I’ve never had a war against me – at least physically. But according to Ephesians 6:10-12, we have been born into a war we didn’t ask for. We wrestle daily against spiritual forces of darkness committed to our destruction, working hard to keep us ineffective.
And so here is the point, even when there is war; even when there is an army chasing us, ‘my heart shall not fear; yet I will be confident’.
So, reading verse 1 in light of verse 2, in the context of trouble, David sees God as light, salvation, stronghold. And the product of this insight into God’s goodness is confidence and a lack of fear.
Remember: we don’t evaluate God on the basis of our circumstances; we evaluate our circumstances on the basis of God.
The Priority: seeking God
In Psalm 27:4 David describes the passion of his life – seeking to dwell in God’s presence with God’s people:
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 enquire in his temple.
First, he says he will do - seek after, then he describes what he will seek after: 1) to dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life; 2) to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord; 3) to inquire in his temple. The point about the the temple locates this activity in the context of corporate worship. Yes, we seek God personally, but there is a dimension of walking with God and enjoying his benefits that comes to us through corporate worship. And this is exactly what David was missing in this period of his life when he was being chased by an army.
Let’s take a look at the Hebrew here: to seek (Hebrew