Psalm 27


In this psalm we find David praising God one minute and then pleading with God the next. In Psalm 27:1-6, he just praises God, but then in Psalm 27:7-14, we find him pleading with God.

Although we don’t know the exact background to this psalm, we do know that David was constantly being hunted down by King Saul because he wanted him dead.

David ran for his life on many occasions and ended up hiding in caves and crevices in the mountains. He didn’t know if he was going to be caught by Saul, he never knew if he was walking into an ambush when he was on the run, and he didn’t know if today was going to be his last day. And so, we can imagine the anguish he was going through, he didn’t know who to trust and who not to trust.

But what was it that kept David going? In his life of not knowing whether he would live or die, what did he focus on and what was his number one priority? This psalm tells us that even though he’s being hunted down dog like a dog, David’s number one priority was to worship God.


‘Of David.’

Although the headings aren’t inspired by God, they are important because they give us some understanding of the Psalm and they help us to see why it was written. The headings usually tell us four things.

1. Who wrote them, probably wrote them or possibly wrote them.

2. Information about the historical background to the Psalm. Why it was written.

3. They tell us of the tune the Psalm was written to.

4. How it was used.

The heading here, simply tells us that this is of 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? When the wicked advance against me to devour me, it is my enemies and my foes who will stumble and fall.’ Psalm 27:1-2

Despite not knowing if he will see tomorrow or not, despite being hunted down like a dog by Saul and his army. Despite having all those fears and anxieties, David never lost sight of the truth. He knew that God was his light, salvation, and stronghold, but he didn’t just know it, he believed it and lived as he believed it.

Knowing that God was his light, salvation and stronghold gave him the courage and confidence to face his fears. He knew and believed with all his heart that God and God alone could and would give him what he needed to face his fears and problems.

He knew and believed that he had the light of God’s presence to help him face the darker issues of his life. He knew and believed that God was his salvation and would deliver him from his enemies. He knew and believed that God was his stronghold, that God would strengthen him in his weak and fearful state.

And make no mistake about it, David was afraid, he knew his enemies were out to ‘devour’ him. In other words, he knew his enemies wanted to hunt him down and kill him.

When David finally defeated all his enemies, including Saul and his army, he writes a song of praise in 2 Samuel 22. When David was surrounded by problems he didn’t focus on his dark problems, he focused on God, 2 Samuel 22:29.

He didn’t ask himself, like many of us do, ‘what am I going to do?’ He asked himself, ‘what is God able to do?’ David was under real pressure from his adversaries and enemies but that pressure didn’t stop him from believing the truth.

‘Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then I will be confident. One thing I ask from the LORD, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple.’ Psalm 27:3-4

God was with him when things were going well and God was still with him in times of stress. Notice how confident David is in knowing God was with him, he knew God delivered him in the past and he knows God will deliver him from his current situation. If you ever want to know what David was really like, if you ever want to know what his heart’s desire and lifelong ambition were, this verse tells us.

The one thing which mattered more to David than anything else was close fellowship with the Lord, he wanted to live with God constantly in his life.

Luke tells us that Martha was distracted and focused on making some preparations for her guests, but Mary was focused on the one thing which really mattered, being with Jesus, Luke 10:28-42.

If we learn anything from David it’s simply this when life gets tough, our problems should drive us towards God, not away from Him. When life gets tough and we trust God, it’s then our faith in God will get stronger. But our faith will only get stronger when we remember how time and time again, He has delivered us from our problems in the past.

God is bigger than our problems, and it’s during those difficult times in life we need to remember that no problem is too big for God, Jeremiah 32:17.

‘For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock. Then my head will be exalted above the enemies who surround me; at his sacred tent I will sacrifice with shouts of joy; I will sing and make music to the LORD.’ Psalm 27:5-6

If we ever want to know what a person is really like, just pay attention to how they react under pressure. If you were to take a sponge and soak it in water, you soon discover that it doesn’t take much pressure for that water to come out of it.

In the same way, if we ever want to know what’s really going on inside someone, we can tell what fills them on the inside by what comes out of them under pressure.

David asks, do you want to know what’s really inside of me? Do you want to know what I really think? He says God will always give him the best shelter in the worst of situations. He knew that God would give him the same gracious protection a host offered to their guests.

He knew that God would lift him ‘up on a rock,’ in other words, he would put him in a place beyond the reach of his enemies. He knew what Paul would later write in his letter to the Romans, Romans 8:38-39.

As Christians, we often forget there’s more than one purpose for our suffering, yes, they help us grow and mature as Christians as James 1:2-4 tells us.

But there’s another purpose for our sufferings which we often forget. David says all his troubles led him to ‘shouts of joy, singing and making music to the Lord’.

In other words, when we have confidence in God and trust Him to deliver us from our enemies, our heads will always be held high, 2 Corinthians 4:15. When we have confidence in God and trust Him to protect us in our times of trouble, then the natural response will always be praise and thanksgiving.

Now as we enter these final verses, you will notice that the mood of the Psalm changes. David has just finished praising God but now he’s going to start pleading with God.

‘Hear my voice when I call, 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, God my Saviour.’ Psalm 27:7-9

Have you ever had times when you feel as though God isn’t listening to your prayers? David was the same, he’s just finished praising God for all He’s done for him but now he feels as though God isn’t listening to him.

We can imagine David going through all these problems from his enemies and his head is telling him, there’s nothing God can do. We can hear him crying out, ‘God, hear me, God, have mercy on me, God, answer me!’

David is asking God, why are you hiding your face from me in my time of trouble? How come I don’t feel your presence right now? His head is saying one thing but his heart is telling him something different.

‘Though my father and mother forsake me, the LORD will receive me. Teach me your way, 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, spouting malicious accusations.’ Psalm 27:10-12

Have you ever felt abandoned when someone you love dies? When David speaks about his parents forsaking him, he’s speaking in terms of their death.

He knew that his parents loved him when they were alive, but he also knew that God would continue to love him, despite his parents passing away.

David knew that many people would forsake him and abandon him, but He also knew that God would never forsake him, Deuteronomy 31:6. That same promise He gave the Israelites is also the promise He gives to Christians, Matthew 28:20 / Hebrews 13:5.

God has made a promise that He will never leave us or forsake, no matter what life throws our way. No matter what we go through or will go through in this life, God is with us.

David asks God to teach him His ways and to lead him ‘in a straight path,’ which basically means he wants God to help him live a life worthy of being God’s child.

Now, why would he ask God to help him in that area? Well, much like today, people are watching us, they are looking for us to fall. David felt that his enemies were constantly watching him, just waiting for him to slip up. He says that his oppressors, his foes, and his false accusers had one agenda and that was to kill him.

Some people may not want to kill us physically, but some people certainly want to kill us spiritually, Matthew 7:15 / Philippians 3:2 / Philippians 3:18.

‘I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.’ Psalm 27:13

David says his oppressors, his foes and his false accusers can do and accuse him of whatever they won’t because he knows for sure that whilst he’s alive, he will see God’s goodness. He knows that he will see God’s goodness not because of how powerful or smart he was.

His confidence wasn’t in his own abilities to outsmart his enemies, his confidence was in God’s ability to protect and deliver him from his enemies.

Jeremiah tells us that when our confidence is in God, God will help us see past our present circumstances, and He will help us to look beyond our circumstances, Jeremiah 17:7-8.

Can you imagine going through life without having any hope? Hope is a really important part of life for everyone. Everyone needs hope, but to have the hope that David is speaking about here, we need total confidence in God to deliver us and help us through our problems. And David says, the only way to keep that hope alive, is to wait patiently for the Lord.

‘Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.’ Psalm 27:14

David says to help keep hope alive, we need to wait for the Lord. Our society doesn’t like to wait on anything, everything needs to happen here and now. When life gets tough, it’s all too easy to lose heart but waiting for God actually encourages us to be strong and not lose heart.

Waiting for God actually helps us to continue to wait for God, 2 Peter 3:9. We need to learn to be as patient with God, as He is with us. We must trust God’s timing and expect His intervention, especially when we’re going through difficult times, Lamentations 3:19-26.


David faced persecution more than most but he knew exactly what he needed to do during those difficult times, he sought the Lord. Anyone who wants to follow Christ will be persecuted, that’s a promise, Matthew 5:10 / Luke 6:22 / 2 Timothy 3:12, but we too should also know exactly what to do during those difficult times.

God over and over again reminds us of what to do when we’re going through difficult times, we’ve to call upon Him to help us, Psalm 50:15 / Jeremiah 33:3 / Isaiah 55:6.

We’re down here stressing out with our problems and God shouts out from heaven, ‘why don’t you call on Me?’ The Lord invites us to call on Him, to seek Him, especially in the midst of life’s difficulties.

We should seek God’s face so that we can face our problems. We should seek God’s face when we’re in danger or going through some trial or problem. Because it’s only God who can give us the comfort, protection, perspective, guidance, and strength to go on.

We should seek God’s face because when we do, we’re submitting our lives to being totally dependent on the One who gives life. And when we stop focusing on our troubles and focus on God and the blessings which He pours upon us, even in our times of trouble.

We will be able to say ‘amen’ to what a good friend of mine once said in a sermon, ‘I’m way too blessed to be stressed’.

Go To Psalm 28


"Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies;'"