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(Click or hover over the above Scripture reference link to read the passage.)
Psalm 27 begins by naming something common to us all: fear. The psalmist contrasts fear with the light and salvation of the Lord. He describes the Lord as “the stronghold of my life.” When I look at our world today, we are a world without a stronghold. Or you might say we are a world with many strongholds, none of which are working. We are certainly a world, and people, who are ravaged by fear. Fear that drives us faster and faster and faster to try to find satisfaction that will calm these fears. We live under the fear of not measuring up. Of not being accepted. Of insecurity. Of longing for love and acceptance. Our world pumps out products that promise to absolve these fears, yet depression and suicide have never been higher. I myself struggle with depression and have lost two Christian friends to suicide in the past four months, so I am not speaking of these realities as merely something “out there” in the lost world. I speak of them as something common to us all, Christian and non-Christian alike.
In light of fear, if you could ask one thing from God, what would it be? The psalmist’s answer (and solution to the fear question) is to gaze on the beauty of the Lord (verse 5). We need to pause a moment and let this sink in. To seek the beauty of the Lord is intimate and relational. To gaze upon his beauty is to stop and enjoy. To soak in. To be in awe and wonder. Verse 8 picks this idea up again, this time focusing the seeking on God’ s face. My heart says of you, “Seek his face!” Your face, Lord, I will seek. Do not hide your face from me.
I think one of our greatest shortcomings as Christians today is left-brained knowledge of God without right-brained experience of God’s loving presence. That when my heart is longing for the faux and fleeting feeling that “just one more thing” can give me–one more purchase…one more flirtation…one more TV episode…one more experience–that instead of gratifying this empty desire, I can instead stop and gaze upon God’s beauty. I can instead sit in God’s presence. I can gaze upon his face smiling down on me (Numbers 6:24-26). I can seek his face. That his loving and majestic face is the answer to my heart’s longing.
The psalmist understood this and takes us on a deep dive. In verse 10, he mentions that his father and mother have forsaken him. This is deep, deep territory. His parents were supposed to have given him safety, security, approval, and validation during his most formidable years. His parents were supposed to show him he was loved. But they didn’t! This would have left him with a gaping wound. A wound that many of us carry today as well. Whether your parents were a 1 or a 10, you likely picked up this wound of rejection somewhere in your first couple decades on this planet. This is the wound that leaves us seeking that next fix. The fix that we think will heal our wound, but never does. Yet here the psalmist runs to God to fill up what his parents didn’t and couldn’t. His parents forsook him, but God receives him! God embraces him. God says, “I love you, son.”
If we get this figured out, we are going to be way ahead of the game in finding the cure to what drives our sinful desires. We can’t overcome our sin with willpower. What drives our sinful and addictive appetites is the drive to be loved. We are looking to men, women, sex, relationships, porn, video games, TV, social media, drugs, drunkenness, popularity, success, money, shopping, and food (just to name a few) to give us what only God can. None of these things can give us what only Jesus can give us. None of these things can satisfy our need to be loved at the deepest level, giving us peace. Non-believers need to receive this love. Believers need to be reminded of it on a regular basis.
This song from United Pursuit has been helping me experience the peace that only Jesus can give me:
Wait for the Lord;
be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.
Prayer for the day: Hold me in your arms Lord. Let your face shine upon me. Remind me of your love for me. Help me to experience your love and presence today. Thank you for loving me.
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