Posted August 25, 2014
 I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the LORDin the land of the living! Wait for the LORD;be strong, and let your heart take courage;wait for the LORD!
The confidence that Psalm 27 started with in verses 1-3 is the same confidence David ends with in verses 13-14. He makes a bold statement in 13, and then follows it with a call of response to that truth in verse 14.
David believed that God was going to answer his request in verse 4 (to look, or gaze, upon the goodness and beauty of the Lord). The prayer was connected to his return to worshiping God in the temple (or house of the Lord) again. If the temple was “unhindered access to God’s presence”, then exclusion from the temple meant exclusion from God’s presence to David. David longed to be reunited with his place of worship, for it was there he could see God and his character.
When David uses “land of the living” language, it simply means he believed that his prayers would be answered by God in this life. Though he may have been exiled at the time & unable to go to the temple, he trusted that God would hear his cries and ultimately bring him back. Spurgeon commented, “Faintness of heart is a common infirmity; even he who slew Goliath was subject to its attacks. Faith puts its bottle of cordial to the lip of the soul, and so prevents fainting. Hope is heaven's balm for present sorrow. In this land of the dying, it is our blessedness to be looking and longing for our fair portion in the land of the living, whence the goodness of God has banished the wickedness of man, and where holy spirits charm with their society those persecuted saints who were vilified and despised among men. We must believe to see, not see to believe; we must wait the appointed time, and stay our soul's hunger with foretastes of the Lord's eternal goodness which shall soon be our feast and our song.”
In light of the prior verse and a confidence in the trustworthiness of God, verse 14 begins and ends with the same charge: wait for the Lord. We would be silly to wait for someone we did not trust to follow through or complete the thing they told us they would. David has no problem issuing this double charge to wait for God! While man may fail us, God will never fail us and therefore we can wait in confidence.
This doesn’t change the fact that most of us hate waiting, and even the word “wait” is often misunderstood in our spiritual lives. Waiting seems like passivity to many and simply doing nothing. Biblical waiting, however, is grounded in an active trust, reliance, & dependence on God and His promises. Gerald Wilson said, “Waiting on God is hard work. Yet, it is one way - perhaps the only way - of demonstrating God’s strength manifest in our weakness. Whenever we rush frantically about trying to ‘do it’ on our own, we in effect become ‘functional atheists,’ denying by our actions that God is active in our lives. Often to admit that we are powerless is the first step to acknowledging God’s strength unleashed in our lives. The well-known serenity prayer is one expression of this need to rely on God: ‘God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.’ Acceptance is not resignation or despair but a step of trust and commitment. It is an expression of the confidence that the psalmist of Psalm 27 mirrors in 27:13: ‘I am still confident in this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.’ He says this in the presence of enemies, even though God is not immediately apparent (27:7-9).
Similar to charge given to Joshua by Moses and God as he prepared to enter the Promised Land (“Be strong and courageous…”), so David calls us to do the same. We rise not in our own strength, our own courage, but rather God’s strength and courage knowing that the Lord is our light, salvation, and stronghold and He is faithful to complete His work in us and on the earth.
Song by Aaron Strumpel & Joel Limpic.
Artwork by Amy Fuller.