The Wild Places Bible Guide – 20 - Reservoir Church
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The Wild Places Bible Guide – 20

April 5, 2019

The Wild Places – Day 19

Friday, April 5

Psalm 27 (CEB)

27 The Lord is my light and my salvation.
        Should I fear anyone?
    The Lord is a fortress protecting my life.
        Should I be frightened of anything?
When evildoers come at me trying to eat me up—
    it’s they, my foes and my enemies,
    who stumble and fall!
If an army camps against me,
        my heart won’t be afraid.
    If war comes up against me,
        I will continue to trust in this:
    I have asked one thing from the Lord—
    it’s all I seek:
        to live in the Lord’s house all the days of my life,
        seeing the Lord’s beauty
        and constantly adoring his temple.
Because he will shelter me in his own dwelling
    during troubling times;
    he will hide me in a secret place in his own tent;
        he will set me up high, safe on a rock.
Now my head is higher than the enemies surrounding me,
    and I will offer sacrifices in God’s tent—
        sacrifices with shouts of joy!
    I will sing and praise the Lord.
Lord, listen to my voice when I cry out—
    have mercy on me and answer me!
Come, my heart says, seek God’s face.
    Lord, I do seek your face!
Please don’t hide it from me!
    Don’t push your servant aside angrily—
        you have been my help!
    God who saves me,
        don’t neglect me!
        Don’t leave me all alone!
10 Even if my father and mother left me all alone,
    the Lord would take me in.
11 Lord, teach me your way;
    because of my opponents, lead me on a good path.
12 Don’t give me over to the desires of my enemies,
    because false witnesses and violent accusers
    have taken their stand against me.
13 But I have sure faith
    that I will experience the Lord’s goodness
    in the land of the living!
14 Hope in the Lord!
    Be strong! Let your heart take courage!
        Hope in the Lord

Points of Interest

  • This psalm has a brighter mood than the others this week. I call it a psalm of hope in my notes, in that it expresses one person’s hope and exhorts us all to move toward strength, courage, and hope ourselves. Still, in the middle of the psalm, it’s clear it is written from its own wild place. There is trouble and loneliness. False witnesses and violent accusers are in play. There are people best called enemies. The writer is very much out of control and in trouble.
  • Before I unpack this psalm’s anatomy of hope, a word about God’s power and agency in hard times. Theologians and ordinary believers have been wrestling with the nature of evil, the possibility of God’s power, and the hope in God’s love. There’s tension here. Why would a good and powerful God allow… well, you name it. Believers have usually reduced the torment of evil, arguing that bad things are part of God’s plan, in some way. I can’t stomach that; instead, I’ve been learning different ways to think about God’s power. I’ve come to the conviction that a relational and loving God doesn’t have or express the kind of controlling, micro-managing power many people associate with God. Regardless of how you come to terms with all this, the Bible demonstrates people dealing with these tensions, rather than spelling out a crystal clear answer for us.
  • While this psalm may not make perfect meaning out of their troubles, it does get to hope. Here’s how, best as I can tell: 
    Freedom from fear – the psalmist is under threat so knows God doesn’t keep troubles away, but there’s an inner fearlessness that the light and presence of God shapes.

A Direction for Prayer

Pray for your city, that residents in trouble would find greater and deeper hope.

Spiritual Exercise of the Week

Words of Doubt or Lament – Too often we don’t express to God our questions, our doubt, and our anger. This week, though, we still remember the wild places of exile – loss, grief, disappointment, out of control seasons, anxiety born of change. Whatever challenges you’re facing, speak out loud to God, or write in your own mini-psalm, your questions, doubt, or anger. When you’ve said or written what you have for today, sit in silence for a moment, and see if you sense or feel anything from God.