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Bible Commentaries

Dr. Constable's Expository Notes

Psalms 27

Verse 1

David expressed great confidence as he looked to the future because Yahweh was his light, salvation, and defense (stronghold). Light connotes understanding, joy, and life (cf. Psalms 18:28). According to Warren Wiersbe, this is the first time in Scripture that a writer used light as a metaphor for God. [Note: Wiersbe, The . . . Wisdom . . ., p. 145.]

"Light is a natural figure for almost everything that is positive, from truth and goodness to joy and vitality (e.g., respectively, Psalms 43:3; Isaiah 5:20; Psalms 97:11; Psalms 36:9), to name but a few. Here it is the answer to fear (1, 3) and to the forces of evil." [Note: Kidner, p. 120.]

"The phrases ’my light’ and ’my salvation’ mean essentially the same thing." [Note: VanGemeren, p. 243.]

The answer to his rhetorical questions is, of course, no one (cf. Romans 8:31-39).

Verses 1-3

1. Confidence in spite of danger 27:1-3

Verses 1-14

Psalms 27

Many of the psalms begin with a lament and end in trust. This one begins with trust, then sinks into a lament, and finally rises again to confidence in God. Themes in common with the preceding psalm include God’s tabernacle, dependence on the Lord, and hope in divine deliverance. This may be a royal psalm with features of a lament psalm. [Note: J. H. Eaton, Psalms, pp. 85-86; idem, Kingship and the Psalms, pp. 39-40.]

Verses 2-3

In the past, when David’s enemies advanced against him, they stumbled and fell because God defended him. Therefore, David said that in the future he would not fear if an entire army were to pitch camp and prepare to attack him.

Verse 4

The greatest gift that God could give David would be the privilege of spending his time contemplating and reflecting on the wonderful features of his God. [Note: See Lewis, pp. 44-53.] The psalmist could achieve this well in Israel near the ark of the covenant, where God localized His presence in a special sense. There the priests read and studied the Mosaic Law and worshipped God with prayers and songs. The temple in view here was not Solomon’s since Solomon had not yet built it. It was probably the tent that David had constructed in Jerusalem to house the ark-that was a successor to the Mosaic tabernacle-that stood at Gibeon during David’s reign.

"As in the well-known Psalms 23:6, this is not an ambition to be a priest or Levite but to enjoy the constant presence of God which is typified by their calling. Note the singleness of purpose (one thing)-the best answer to distracting fears (cf. 1-3)-and the priorities within that purpose: to behold and to inquire; a preoccupation with God’s Person and His will. It is the essence of worship; indeed of discipleship." [Note: Kidner, pp. 120-21.]

Verses 4-6

2. The source of security 27:4-6

Verses 5-6

By seeking the Lord, David would obtain His protection from his enemies and a firm foundation for his life. These foes would not pursue him into the sanctuary. The psalmist’s real security came in seeking refuge in the Lord Himself-that His tabernacle only symbolized. David was sure the Lord would exalt him above his enemies eventually. When this happened, he promised to worship the Lord with sacrifices and verbal praise.

Verses 7-10

Apparently David was not getting the help he needed, so he appealed earnestly to the Lord. In the Mosaic Law, God told His people to remember Him and to draw near to Him rather than abandoning Him. David was doing just that, so he asked God not to abandon him or remain silent when he requested deliverance. He reminded the Lord that he was His servant because lords did not normally deny their servants access to their presence. God could reject David’s plea because he was a sinner, so the psalmist acknowledged the possibility that God would turn him away.

Psalms 27:10 should probably be a conditional statement: "If my father . . .". David’s point in this verse was that even if those who were most supportive of him on earth would forsake him, he knew even then that the Lord would not abandon him.

Verses 7-14

3. Prayer for speedy help 27:7-14

Verses 11-12

David needed directions from God since his enemies were trying to catch him. He feared they would falsely condemn him if the Lord allowed him to fall into their hands.

Verses 13-14

David’s confidence in God returned, and he rejoiced in the prospect of the Lord’s deliverance. He encouraged himself and his readers to wait for that rescue, and to strengthen themselves with faith in God (cf. Deuteronomy 31:7; Joshua 1:6-7; Joshua 1:9; Joshua 1:18; Joshua 10:25; 1 Corinthians 16:13).

Believers can remain positive and confident about their spiritual safety as they delight in the Lord. When fear raises its head, the way to defeat it is to return to trust in Yahweh. [Note: See Swindoll, pp. 94-105; and John Mark Soden, "Whom Shall I Fear? Psalms 27," Exegesis and Exposition 3:1 (Fall 1988):1-24.]

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Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Psalms 27". "Dr. Constable's Expository Notes". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dcc/psalms-27.html. 2012.