Who do you run to when you are afraid? David spent a significant portion of his life on the run. As a young man, he fled from King Saul (1 Sam. 21:10). In later years, after his son Absalom mounted a palace coup against him (2 Sam. 15:14), he hid in the wilderness. It is unclear when David wrote Psalm 27, but it may well have been early in his life. David’s wilderness experience taught him to see God as a stronghold (v. 1). A stronghold was a place one went for protection, perhaps a mountain cave or a fortress.
It was during these wilderness times that David developed a strong personal relationship with God. David considered the Lord not only his defender but also his friend. In this Psalm David longs for the presence of the Lord. The experience of God’s presence was so important that he requests it in verse 4: “One thing I ask from the LORD, this only do I seek.” His own heart tells him to seek God’s face, and he eagerly expresses his desire to do this very thing (v. 8). David’s friendship with God enabled him to speak boldly about his fears, desires, and hopes. But it is clear from the way David alternates between speaking to himself and addressing his audience that he is not saying these things for his benefit alone. What was true for David can also be true of us.
When David speaks about seeking God’s face, he is using metaphorical language. David undoubtedly remembered that when Moses asked to see God, he was warned that no one could see God’s face and live (Ex. 33:20). What David longed for was to be in God’s presence.
>> Are you feeling anxious? Alone? Scared? Through the Holy Spirit, you can experience the reality of God’s presence. When we pray, we sense God’s presence in a tangible way. Romans 8:16 says, “The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.”
“Hear my voice when I call, LORD; be merciful to me and answer me...Teach me your way, LORD; lead me in a straight path” (Ps. 27:7, 11). You are the stronghold of our lives, as You were of David’s. Whom shall we fear?