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Psalm chapter 27

English Standard Version

1Of David. The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? 2When evildoers assail me to eat up my flesh, my adversaries and foes, it is they who stumble and fall. 3Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, yet I will be confident. 4One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple. 5For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will lift me high upon a rock. 6And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me, and I will offer in his tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing and make melody to the LORD. 7Hear, O LORD, when I cry aloud; be gracious to me and answer me! 8You have said, “Seek my face.” My heart says to you, “Your face, LORD, do I seek.” 9Hide not your face from me. Turn not your servant away in anger, O you who have been my help. Cast me not off; forsake me not, O God of my salvation! 10For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the LORD will take me in. 11Teach me your way, O LORD, and lead me on a level path because of my enemies. 12Give me not up to the will of my adversaries; for false witnesses have risen against me, and they breathe out violence. 13I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living! 14Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!
New International Version

New American Standard Bible

1The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom should I fear? The Lord is the defense of my life; Whom should I dread? 2When evildoers came upon me to devour my flesh, My adversaries and my enemies, they stumbled and fell. 3If an army encamps against me, My heart will not fear; If war arises against me, In spite of this I am confident. 4One thing I have asked from the Lord, that I shall seek: That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the Lord And to meditate in His temple. 5For on the day of trouble He will conceal me in His tabernacle; He will hide me in the secret place of His tent; He will lift me up on a rock. 6And now my head will be lifted up above my enemies around me, And I will offer sacrifices in His tent with shouts of joy; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the Lord. 7Hear, Lord, when I cry with my voice, And be gracious to me and answer me. 8 When You said, 'Seek My face,' my heart said to You, 'I shall seek Your face, Lord.' 9Do not hide Your face from me, Do not turn Your servant away in anger; You have been my help; Do not abandon me nor forsake me, God of my salvation! 10 For my father and my mother have forsaken me, But the Lord will take me up. 11Teach me Your way, Lord, And lead me on a level path Because of my enemies. 12Do not turn me over to the desire of my enemies, For false witnesses have risen against me, And the violent witness. 13I certainly believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord In the land of the living. 14Wait for the Lord; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the Lord.
Christian Standard Bible

New Living Translation

King James Version

What does Psalm chapter 27 mean?

This psalm begins with David's expression of confidence in God as his source of joy and life, his deliverer, and protector. The first verse incorporates the concept of light. This was the Hebrew people's ideal for truth and goodness. David also depicts God as a fortress, or stronghold, meaning a place of safety and security. The question asked is rhetorical: there is no one who "should" frighten a person who trusts in God (Psalm 27:1).

David lays out his reasons for confidence in God using several images. He believes God will protect him even if an army of malicious adversaries surround him. He longs to spend his life in worship in the tabernacle, where he can gaze on the Lord's beauty. He is certain the Lord will preserve him when trouble strikes. He will keep him safe on a high rock. The rock will serve as a fortress. He will once again offer sacrifices in the tabernacle, where he will sing joyfully to the Lord (Psalm 27:2–6).

At this point in the psalm, David's tone seems to change. After describing God's security so eloquently, he now fervently prays for rescue and deliverance. This is a very human, very normal experience. David "knows" he can trust God, but that knowledge does not make a person perfectly immune to fear. Rather than panicking or despairing, David reminds himself of God's goodness and trusts the Lord to provide. David remembers the Lord's command to seek His face, therefore he will seek the Lord (Psalm 27:7–8).

In his anxiety, David calls on the Lord not to forsake him. Still, he is confident that even if his own family were to desert him, God would not. David's writing often requests that God lead him into spiritual truth (Psalm 4:3; 25:5; 86:11). In this case, the language of those prayers also implies a request for physical safety. David's enemies—either Saul or David's rebellious son, Absalom—were lying in wait for him. He asks the Lord not to let his enemies have their way with him, and he says false witnesses have risen up against him (Psalm 27:9–12).

David concludes this psalm on a high note. He believes he will survive, so he encourages himself to wait on the Lord and to be strong and courageous. This last note of assurance might have been directed also at David's soldiers, or the people of Israel (Psalm 27:13–14).
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