Psalm 27 in the Bible is a hymn of praise and power for those who struggle in life. When life is filled with misunderstandings and misgivings; false accusations and fears; wars and rumors of wars; troubles and tears; loneliness and hostility; unfriendliness and hatefulness; lovelessness and sinfulness, we can find God to be enough.

This Psalm is David’s testimony to how his faith is sustained in all his problems and troubles by the power of God. This gentle and persuasive poem pours a healing balm into our hearts when we are perplexed and puzzled by problems.

Whom shall I fear? “The Lord is my light and my salvation.”

Of whom shall I be afraid? “The Lord is the strength of my life.”

Do enemies seek to destroy you? “Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear.”

Does war rage or threaten? “Though war should rise against me, in this I will be confident.”

Is it a time of trouble you face? “In the time of trouble He shall hide me . . . He shall set me up.”

Does Satan tempt, test and try? “Thy face Lord will I seek. Leave me not, neither forsake me.”

Do loved ones oppose and forsake? “When my father and mother forsake me then the Lord will take me up.”

Do noisy gossipers seek to injure your good name? “False witnesses are risen up against me, and such as breathe out cruelty.”

Are you downhearted? “I had fainted, unless I had believed to see God’s goodness.”

Do you feel discouraged and weak? “Wait on the Lord . . . He shall strengthen thine heart.”

In the midst of demanding trials and troubles David faced a three-fold need.

He first talks about the need for light—“The Lord is my light.” I believe we can agree as we look at Psalm 27 there has never been a time when more light is needed—by light we are talking about the knowledge of God. Jesus Christ is the light of the world and our minds and eyes have been blinded by the darkness of ignorance, evil messages and lies. We need the light of God’s truth in the land, all around us. We need it in our state, in our local areas. We need the light of God’s knowledge in our hearts that we might know what is right.

David talks about the need for salvation. “The Lord is . . . my salvation.” He simply says here that God waded out into the swamp of sin and pulled him out, saved him. God saves us. He came in Jesus to redeem us. We spend so much time asking God for what we want that we do not take time to think about Him and thank Him for salvation.

The third need here David gives is for strength. “The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I fear.” God establishes our coming and going. This three-fold need is met only by God—the need for light, salvation and strength can only be met by God. “But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).

Second, David gives in Psalm 27 a three-fold desire. His first desire is to dwell in God’s house. “That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life.” This simply tells us that dwelling in God’s house is a dual idea—to abide in His presence through the power of His Holy Spirit here, right now, but also to abide in God’s presence through all eternity. We have a place in God’s house, in His presence, but we also are God’s temple where He dwells. Jesus spoke about His house He is preparing for us. He told His disciples, and us, to believe in Him. He went on to say, “In My Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” (John 14:1-3)

What did David desire to find? “That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord.”

There are many times in our lives that we need to simply turn aside, sit down quietly at Jesus’ feet and behold His beauty, listen simply to His Word. This is part of what we need. We need to desire “to enquire in His temple.” What do you want to know, to learn in God’s worship? James says in his book that if we lack wisdom, we can “ask of God” and God will give it to us (James 1:5). God doesn’t chastise us for asking. The door of God’s Word is always open to an inquiring, sincere heart. One reason we do not have wisdom is we do not ask and we do not open God’s Word and read it. Psalm 1 tells us not to counsel with the ungodly. Psalm 27 tells us to inquire in God’s temple and God will speak to us and show kus His wisdom as we follow His ways through our lives.

Finally, David show a threefold privilege in Psalm 27—“For in the time of trouble He (God) shall hide me in His pavilion.” This is one of the most heartening promises. There is more—God “in the secret of His tabernacle shall hide me.” When God is with us, we have His strength and power preserving us.

This Psalm establishes that God “shall set me upon a rock.” David concludes for us that our ways can be established; our feet set upon a sure foundation; we can stand in God’s light and salvation, secure and unafraid. Remember Jesus’ words and stories. Jesus told about a house built on the rock that was able to stand life’s storms. He did not say the storms would never come. He said that the house built on the solid rock would never fail but would stand secure.

We need the light and salvation of God as part of our community conversation.

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— You can send your thoughts to drjerryhopkins@yahoo.com, or by snail mail to Dr. Jerry Hopkins, P. O. Box 1363, Marshall, Texas 75671. Dr. Jerry Hopkins is a historian and retired professor.