Psalm 27:The Trial of Faith
The Trial of Faith in Psalm 27
What we see in many of the Psalms is what we may call the ‘trial of faith’. Faith is tested and tried in the furnace of fiery ordeals and comes forth as pure gold. 1 Pet 1:7.
In Psalm 27, we see David’s faith being tested at three levels. First, he is surrounded by an army of evildoers. He is hemmed in on all sides. The enemy is bent of ‘devouring his flesh’. Oh, the rage and wickedness of the devil, who incites the world to attack the child of God! If you are a child of God, the world will hate you. John 15:19. Every born-again believer lives in a hostile world. Hence, the believer seeks refuge in the Lord. But it is not just running to the Lord in times of trouble and experiencing Him as your shelter and safety. The Lord does more than merely protecting you; He lifts you up. You experience His mighty deliverance. He sets you high upon a rock, with your head lifted up above your enemies. He brings you to a higher level, through all these experiences of trial and testing. What you experience, is as David puts it graphically in verses 5b and 6, is the power of resurrection, the power of ascension. The Lord is leading us on to ‘higher ground’.
Secondly, David describes an intensely painful situation. On one side the Lord seems to have hidden His face from him. He cannot experience the Lord’s presence. It is the dark night of the soul. On the other side, he is forsaken by friends and loved ones. He cries out, ‘My father and my mother have forsaken me!’ (verse 10). Oh, the terrible anguish of being forsaken, left alone. David cries out with loud cries and tears. The depths of his heart have been plumbed by the cross. But we know our Lord experienced an unfathomable anguish on Calvary, and His cry, 'Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?' is beyond human comprehension. Every one of His disciples fled. He fought that cosmic battle all alone. Years later Paul, the faithful apostle, says, ‘All forsook me...But the Lord stood with me!' 2 Tim 4:16, 17. In the same way, David has an inner confidence: ‘The Lord will take care of me.’ And that is the unfailing truth! Our Lord says, ‘I will never, never leave you nor forsake you!’ Heb 13:5. We have His irrevocable word for it! We are forever united with Christ by faith. The God of our salvation who saved us in the past, will continue to save us in the present. He is our Saviour forever.
Thirdly, David speaks of being attacked by false witnesses. Here too, we see him going through the fellowship of our Lord’s sufferings. We know the life of David, how for almost 13 years he was hunted like a partridge on the mountains, pursued by the psychotic Saul, who was bent on destroying him. We know how he was betrayed by his own son, Absalom, and how so many in Israel turned against him (2 Sam 15:13), that he had to flee Jerusalem. The devil stops at nothing to malign and crush those whom the Lord has chosen. It is a continuous fight of faith. David says he was brought to the point of despair (verse 13a), but nevertheless he was sustained by the hope that even in this present life ('the land of the living') God would restore his fortunes. And God did exactly that.
Yes, our faith is being tested. Faith is not a mental acceptance of certain truths or doctrines. No, rather, faith is active, persistent, aggressive – it is a fighting faith, a resisting faith. It is not complacent, nor passive. But it is a clinging to the Lord, a heart-felt seeking of the Lord. Such a vibrant faith brings us into the real experience of the Risen Christ, His resurrection power being manifested in midst of our afflictions. The energizing power of the Holy Spirit. His wonderful acts of deliverance in the last minute. His mighty ‘lifting up’, so that after each torrid trial we are brought on to higher spiritual ground, and the heavenly and spiritual things become more real to us.
Apart from David’s faith being tested in fiery trials, we are encouraged greatly by His understanding and apprehension of the Lord. It is Jehovah here in the Old Testament; but for us in this New Testament age, the entire Bible speaks of Jesus. And David speaks of the Lord being
i. My light
ii. My salvation
iii. My stronghold
And he goes further on to speak of
iv. Being established on a Rock
v. Desiring to see the beauty of the Lord
vi. Hoping to experience the goodness of the Lord
And, of course, he addresses Him as
vii. The God of my salvation. (And who else is that, but the Lord Jesus Christ?)
It is really interesting to find David speaking of the Lord as his light. We are reminded of the words of Micah. ‘As for me...I will wait for the God of my salvation.’ And again ‘Though I dwell in darkness, the Lord is a light for me.’ Micah 7:7,8. We walk by faith, not by sight. So, ipso facto, faith is exercised in the dark. But what begins with darkness, and continues into distress, ends with light and gladness, praise and victory – being lifted up and ‘set upon a rock’! And who is that Rock? It is the Lord Jesus Christ.
David speaks of longing to behold the beauty of the Lord, 27:4b. The Hebrew word for beauty points to ‘the sweet attractiveness and delightful loveliness’ of the Lord (Amplified). I believe many of us have missed this, because we do not have a longing or yearning for the Lord. I remember going up to the mountains one evening after the rains. The sky had cleared, and the sun was shining anew. There was no fog or mist in the air. In the distance I saw the mountain peaks in all their glory. And I thought, ‘This is heaven!’ Fifteen years before, on a bright sunny day I had climbed the tallest hill in the same hill-station; when I reached the top after an hour of strenuous walking, I looked into the distance and saw a heap of white clouds and imagined that some of them were mountains (how ignorant can you be!). There was no thrill in my heart – just a mere straining of the eyes, trying to discern the peaks among the clouds. But what I saw that evening after the rain was glorious. Few on earth are privileged to see the glory of the snow-capped mountain peaks of one of the largest mountain ranges in the world. May the Lord Jesus reveal Himself to us in all His glory!
- True Biblical Faith
The reflections in this hub are based on meditation of the Scriptures, and are meant to increase our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the Author and Finisher of our faith (Heb 12:2) Faith is real, living and practical.