1 The Lord is my light and my salvation.
Should I fear anyone?
The Lord is a fortress protecting my life.
Should I be frightened of anything?
2 When evildoers come at me trying to eat me up—
it’s they, my foes and my enemies,
who stumble and fall!
3 If an army camps against me,
my heart won’t be afraid.
If war comes up against me,
I will continue to trust in this:
4 I have asked one thing from the Lord—
it’s all I seek:
to live in the Lord’s house all the days of my life,
seeing the Lord’s beauty
and constantly adoring his temple.
5 Because he will shelter me in his own dwelling
during troubling times;
he will hide me in a secret place in his own tent;
he will set me up high, safe on a rock.
6 Now my head is higher than the enemies surrounding me,
and I will offer sacrifices in God’s tent—
sacrifices with shouts of joy!
I will sing and praise the Lord.
For the music leader. Of David. A psalm.
1 I put all my hope in the Lord.
He leaned down to me;
he listened to my cry for help.
2 He lifted me out of the pit of death,
out of the mud and filth,
and set my feet on solid rock.
He steadied my legs.
3 He put a new song in my mouth,
a song of praise for our God.
Many people will learn of this and be amazed;
they will trust the Lord.
4 Those who put their trust in the Lord,
who pay no attention to the proud
or to those who follow lies,
are truly happy!
David, a man of many gifts, was a poet/lyricist as well as a musician (and administrator, warrior and king). The Biblical collection of 150 psalms preserved beautiful poems of praise and trust, some of which David surely wrote (though it is impossible to know precisely how many, since “editors included titles for many psalms,” and “the phrase ‘of David’ could also be translated ‘dedicated to David’ or ‘for David’ or ‘in honor of David.’”*)
- Israelites who prayed and sang Psalm 27 saw Babylon destroy Jerusalem, saw Greece and then Rome overpower their land—yet they still trusted. Christians who prayed and sang Psalm 27 saw Jesus crucified, the apostles Paul and Peter martyred by Rome, prayed the psalm in dim Roman catacombs—yet they still trusted. What difficulties test your trust, and try to make you afraid? How can you trust that in the end God will always keep the promise to set you up high, safe on a rock?
- “Those who put their trust in the Lord… are truly happy,” said Psalm 40. Claims that nearly everything, from whitening toothpaste to a luxury cruise to the latest automotive technology, will make us truly happy fill the world around us. To what extent do you believe Psalm 40 more credibly points to the source of true happiness than the ads that barrage you from all sides? In what ways have you found a greater depth of true joy by trusting in God?
Eternal Father, strong to save, I put my trust in you however shakily or solidly. I look beyond the shallow, temporary joys of this world to your eternal promises as my foundation for a truly good life. Amen.
* J. Clinton McCann, Jr., Introduction to Psalms in The CEB Study Bible. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2013, p. 839 OT.
Darren Lippe helps facilitate Journey 101 “Loving God” classes, guides a 7th-grade Sunday school class, is a member of a small group and a men’s group, and serves on the curriculum team.