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 evil men advance against me to devour my flesh, when my enemies and my foes attack me, they will stumble and fall. Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then will I be confident.
One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: 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 seek him in his temple. For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle and set me high upon a rock. Then my head will be exalted above the enemies who surround me; at his tabernacle will I sacrifice with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make music to the LORD.
Hear my voice when I call, O LORD; be merciful to me and answer me. My heart says of you, “Seek his face!” Your face, LORD, I will seek. Do not hide your face from me, do not turn your servant away in anger; you have been my helper. Do not reject me or forsake me, O God my Savior. Though my father and mother forsake me, the LORD will receive me.
Teach me your way, O LORD; lead me in a straight path because of my oppressors. Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes, for false witnesses rise up against me, breathing out violence. I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.
A few years ago I retired ahead of schedule. It was a simple decision. My job was eliminated when the company I worked for was sold, and at my age finding another one like it didn’t seem very likely. I wasn’t financially ready for retirement, and our ministry wasn’t ready to support me, but after much prayer and family discussion, we felt led to devote full time effort to the ministry even though it would risk depleting our moderate resources, trusting the Lord to bring us enough to live on.
Having been self employed for most of my life, my income stream has always fluctuated, and I learned to live with that uncertainty. Often, especially at the beginning, I would begin a month not knowing from what source my income for that month would arrive. By the end of the month I’d always have made enough to pay our bills and sometimes a little extra.
You’d think I would have been OK returning to that financially uncertain lifestyle. But a few years earlier a former client had offered me a full time position and, having logged nearly 2 million air miles in the previous decade, I took it. For the first time in my adult life I was home every night and had a steady paycheck, and I got lulled into a false sense of security.
The salary I agreed to work for showed up in my account each payday, and slowly my attitude shifted from reliance on the Lord to reliance on the company. The reality was that my job could have disappeared at any given time, but it didn’t take much effort to ignore that.
Suddenly I was back trusting the Lord, living month to month, and passages like this Psalm became very precious. My enemies aren’t humans dressed up as warriors and brandishing weapons like David’s were, but they’re real just the same. And they’re just like yours. They’re the doubts that creep unbidden into our minds, and like enemy soldiers infiltrating the battle lines, their job is to weaken our resolve and promote chaos. They attack our faith, sowing seeds of discouragement and despair.
Our counter attack (not merely a defense) is to keep our eyes on Jesus, to gaze upon His beauty and seek Him in His temple. The desire of our enemy is that we should give up, but our prayer to the Lord, Who has always been our helper, is that He would sustain us.
We choose to remain confident that we’ll see the goodness of the Lord, though our sin contaminated minds are sometimes racked with doubt. We take heart, stay strong in our faith, and wait for the Lord. Doing so we discover again that He is faithful and true, the one we can neither leave nor lose, the Author and Perfecter of our faith.