Day 12 Psalm 27 ... Ups and Downs

The psalms open a window into the inner life of King David. That window discloses some surprises, however. David was surely no saint and seldom did he show the peace and serenity normally associated with "spiritual" people. In fact, he often cried out against God, blaming him when things went wrong and begging for relief.

Psalm 27-relatively mild in comparison with other examples-shifts in mood with every stanza. The first stanza opens with a bold declaration of confidence in God from an author who seems downright fearless. The second stanza hints at the author's true condition: Tired of running, he yearns for the day when he can rest safely in God's dwelling, and rise above all is enemies. By the third stanza, all confidence has melted and the psalmist is pleading for help. The psalm ends in a calmer tone, with a word of practical advice David often had opportunity to put into practice, "Wait for the LORD."

The psalms are not pious devotionals. They are filled with accounts of enemies who scheme and gossip and plot violence. For the psalmists, faith in God involved a constant struggle against powerful forces that often seemed mor4e real than God. The writers frequently asked, "Where are you, God? Why don't you help me?" They often felt abandoned, misused, betrayed.

Yet out of such trials, a strong, toughened faith in God emerged. In the years when David was an outlaw from King Saul, his hideouts included a "rock" in the desert and a "stronghold." As an experienced fighter, David knew the value of such defenses. But when he wrote about those days-as in this psalm-he called God his rock and his fortress. He recognized readily that God was the true source of his protection.

Danger did not fade away even after David became king. He faced unceasing hostility from enemies, as well as numerous internal rebellions and coup attempts. But David had learned a pattern of helpless dependence in the wilderness, and practiced it throughout his life.

Point to Ponder: : Is your emotional life fairly even, or full of peaks and valleys? What about your spiritual life?