Week 2 — Monday, March 11
Psalms are poetry, and as such if we approach them with our intellect in an attempt to analyze their meaning we’ll probably end up frustrated. Psalms are prayers used by people of faith through the ages to give expression to their varied emotional states – moving through the darker ones and towards the ones that are more life affirming.
And boy, are there a lot of emotions expressed in this psalm!
Read this psalm slowly, preferably aloud and take note of which images and emotional states most capture your attention.
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?
When evildoers assail me to devour my flesh– my adversaries and foes– they shall stumble and fall.
Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war rise up against me, yet I will be confident.
One thing I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: to live in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in his temple.
For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will set me high on a rock.
Now my head is 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.
Hear, O LORD, when I cry aloud, be gracious to me and answer me!
“Come,” my heart says, “seek his face!” Your face, LORD, do I seek.
Do not hide your face from me. Do not turn your servant away in anger, you who have been my help. Do not cast me off, do not forsake me, O God of my salvation!
If my father and mother forsake me, the LORD will take me up.
Teach me your way, O LORD, and lead me on a level path because of my enemies.
Do not give me up to the will of my adversaries, for false witnesses have risen against me, and they are breathing out violence.
I believe that I shall see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.
Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD.
In quick succession the psalmist expresses confidence in God’s protection, joy, a longing for God and frustration regarding God’s apparent hiddenness, anxiety about the possibility of being abandoned by God, and finally a rousing pep talk to oneself to take courage.
Where did you feel most drawn in by the words and images of the psalm, and why?
Perhaps there is a phrase that you would like to write down or memorize — a phrase you can go deeply with in mediation, repeating it over and over to come to a deeper stillness.
Here are couple of phrases that stood out for me:
“One thing I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after… to behold the beauty of the LORD…” (27:4)
“Your face, LORD, do I seek. (27:8b)
“I believe that I shall see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.”(27:13)
“Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD! “(27:14)