The psalmist's faith. (1-6) His desire toward God, and expectation from him. (7-14)
Verses 1-6 The Lord, who is the believer's light, is the strength of his life; not only by whom, but in whom he lives and moves. In God let us strengthen ourselves. The gracious presence of God, his power, his promise, his readiness to hear prayer, the witness of his Spirit in the hearts of his people; these are the secret of his tabernacle, and in these the saints find cause for that holy security and peace of mind in which they dwell at ease. The psalmist prays for constant communion with God in holy ordinances. All God's children desire to dwell in their Father's house. Not to sojourn there as a wayfaring man, to tarry but for a night; or to dwell there for a time only, as the servant that abides not in the house for ever; but to dwell there all the days of their life, as children with a father. Do we hope that the praising of God will be the blessedness of our eternity? Surely then we ought to make it the business of our time. This he had at heart more than any thing. Whatever the Christian is as to this life, he considers the favour and service of God as the one thing needful. This he desires, prays for and seeks after, and in it he rejoices.
Verses 7-14 Wherever the believer is, he can find a way to the throne of grace by prayer. God calls us by his Spirit, by his word, by his worship, and by special providences, merciful and afflicting. When we are foolishly making court to lying vanities, God is, in love to us, calling us to seek our own mercies in him. The call is general, "Seek ye my face;" but we must apply it to ourselves, "I will seek it." The word does us no good, when we do not ourselves accept the exhortation: a gracious heart readily answers to the call of a gracious God, being made willing in the day of his power. The psalmist requests the favour of the Lord; the continuance of his presence with him; the benefit of Divine guidance, and the benefit of Divine protection. God's time to help those that trust in him, is, when all other helpers fail. He is a surer and better Friend than earthly parents are, or can be. What was the belief which supported the psalmist? That he should see the goodness of the Lord. There is nothing like the believing hope of eternal life, the foresights of that glory, and foretastes of those pleasures, to keep us from fainting under all calamities. In the mean time he should be strengthened to bear up under his burdens. Let us look unto the suffering Saviour, and pray in faith, not to be delivered into the hands of our enemies. Let us encourage each other to wait on the Lord, with patient expectation, and fervent prayer.
Psalms 27:1-14 . With a general strain of confidence, hope, and joy, especially in God's worship, in the midst of dangers, the Psalmist introduces prayer for divine help and guidance.
1. light--is a common figure for comfort.
strength--or, "stronghold"--affording security against all violence. The interrogations give greater vividness to the negation implied.
2. eat . . . my flesh--( Job 19:22 , Psalms 14:4 ). The allusion to wild beasts illustrates their rapacity.
they stumbled--"they" is emphatic; not I, but they were destroyed.
3. In the greatest dangers.
in this--that is, then, in such extremity.
4, 5. The secret of his confidence is his delight in communion with God ( Psalms 16:11 , 23:6 ), beholding the harmony of His perfections, and seeking His favor in His temple or palace; a term applicable to the tabernacle (compare Psalms 5:7 ). There he is safe ( Psalms 31:21 , 61:5 ). The figure is changed in the last clause, but the sentiment is the same.
6. head be lifted up--I shall be placed beyond the reach of my enemies. Hence he avows his purpose of rendering joyful thank offerings.
7. Still pressing need extorts prayer for help.
cry with my voice--denotes earnestness. Other things equal, Christians in earnest pray audibly, even in secret.
8. The meaning is clear, though the construction in a literal translation is obscure. The English Version supplies the implied clause. To seek God's face is to seek His favor ( Psalms 105:4 ).
9. Hide not, &c.--( Psalms 4:6 , 22:24 ). Against rejection he pleads former mercy and love.
10. In the extremity of earthly destitution ( Psalms 31:11 , 38:11 ), God provides (compare Matthew 25:35 ).
11. thy way--of providence.
a plain path--( Psalms 26:12 ).
enemies--literally, "watchers for my fall" ( Psalms 5:8 ).
12. will--literally, "soul," "desire" ( Psalms 35:25 ).
enemies--literally, "oppressors." Falsehood aids cruelty against him.
breathe out--as being filled with it ( Acts 9:1 ).
13. The strong emotion is indicated by the incomplete sentence, for which the English Version supplies a proper clause; or, omitting that, and rendering, "yet I believed," &c., the contrast of his faith and his danger is expressed.
to see--is to experience ( Psalms 22:17 ).
14. Wait, &c.--in confident expectation. The last clause is, literally, "and wait," &c., as if expecting new measures of help.