Getting Closer to God

Hi there! In this post we’re going to be returning to Psalm 27. In the previous post we looked at verse 3, where David’s writings tell us “even if an army surrounds me, you are still God and I can have holy confidence be brave for you.” Now we’re going to look at verses 12 and 13. What I want to do first though is look at what happens in the nine verses between these two sections because it’s in this space that we really start to see what David is going through and how he is responding. So let’s take a look!

Psalm 27:4-6 (NIV)

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.
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

What strikes me here is that, rather than respond with “God, please just get me out of here! Make it stop!” David is actually using this terrible situation to bring himself closer to God. He wants to use this experience of being surrounded by his enemies as a tool for deeper intimacy with God. Let’s keep reading.

Psalms 27:7-11 (NIV)

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 Savior.
10 Though my father and mother forsake me,
    the Lord will receive me.
11 Teach me your way, Lord;
    lead me in a straight path
    because of my oppressors.

 In verse 7, we can start to see that David is getting anxious again. That’s the funny thing about fear – we sometimes have to tell it to get lost over and over again. We might slam the door but fear will climb right in the window. That’s what is happening to David here. We know he has holy confidence but those doubts have started to creep in again. So what does he do? He turns his focus back to God. He looks Jesus square in the face and focuses on just Him. Why? Because David has realized that the only deliverance that really matters comes from the presence of God. That’s why he’s using this experience to seek Jesus’ face like never before. It’s not just about escaping his troubles, it’s about an ongoing experience with God not only through this trial but forever.

In verse 12, David makes a request of God and we see again how bleak his situation is in the eyes of the world.

12 Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes,
    for false witnesses rise up against me,
    spouting malicious accusations.
13 I remain confident of this:
    I will see the goodness of the Lord
    in the land of the living.

I love that he used the word “yet.” I’m a corporate trainer and speaker and when I teach new speakers the techniques for powerful speaking, I remind them that the word “yet” or “but” is powerful. Using that word as a transition between two thoughts essentially means that you wipe away what you said first. And that’s exactly what David did here. “yep, everything is terrible and people are trying to take me down… BUT… I am CONFIDENT that I will see the Lord’s goodness while I am here in the land of the living.” If we look back up to verse 3 where he first references his holy confidence, we see he’s bringing it full circle here at the end of the Psalm and summing up WHAT he is confident IN – He will see the goodness of the Lord while he is in the land of the living. This is why I wanted us to look at verses 4 through 11 – I believe it’s those verses that led David to be able to say what he says in verse 13. His ability to see the Lord’s goodness is rooted in his passionate pursuit of Jesus. What does this look like for us?

To answer this question, let’s look at Psalm 34:8.

Taste and see that the Lord is good;
    blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.

How do we “taste and see” that the Lord is good? Well, if we think of this in terms of food, in order to taste, we must eat. And in order to eat, we need to be able to see the food. And for any of this to work, we have to get hungry. Thinking back to the book of Genesis, Adam was created with a natural hunger for food, so God gave him the produce of the Garden to satisfy his hunger. God also created Adam with a spiritual hunger that only He could satisfy through an intimate relationship that included direct communication.  This relationship established Adam’s heart and fueled his works.

Psalm 34:8 clearly tells us to taste first and then to see His goodness.  How do we “taste” of His goodness? What tangible thing do we have to consume that will bring us closer to God? The Bible! All Christians, from the time of their new birth, are to hunger for the Word.  Peter likens this hunger to that of a newborn baby.  A newborn baby does not need to be taught to hunger, to cry out for milk.  The natural hunger is internally experienced and they make their voice heard. 

As Christians, God expects that we are to hunger internally for His Word.  Because His Word nourishes our souls, when we hunger, we are to cry out in desire and need for the pure word and faithful teachings so that we will grow spiritually and so that we will “taste” the Word, which will allow us to then “see” the Lord’s goodness.

Paul wrote to the Ephesian church about the importance of “tasting” the Word and that tasting produces knowledge of Jesus that gives sight.

Ephesians 1:17-19 (NIV) 

17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.

18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people,

19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe.

Pastor Lloyd Stilley delivered a sermon on how to see the goodness of God and, dare I say it, it’s really good. (haha) Here is a small piece of it:

“God is the original definition of good. He is good in and of Himself. For us, goodness is an added quality. But it comes naturally for Him. God is not just the greatest of beings; He is the Best.”

That’s exactly what Jesus meant when He said, “No one is good but One – God.” (Mark 10:18) We call all kinds of things good – “This steak is good. He’s a good friend. That was a good movie.” But all that we call “good” on this earth is tainted and imperfect. God alone is goodness itself.

Have you ever thought of God as generous toward you? Can you believe that when He looks at you with all your baggage, all your junk, all your hang-ups, He says, “I want to be generous to you. I can’t wait to pour out on you that which will make you happy – not because you deserve it, but because there’s something about Who I am that loves to overflow in extravagant ways upon you.”

The Bible says those are actually God’s thoughts about you. God is for you. He has your back. He is there, plotting to do you good. You are the object of His affection, and because of His divine nature, all that He expresses comes from an expansive, over-whelming, God-sized generosity toward you.

Pastor Stilley then wraps up by giving us three ways to respond to this goodness. First, repent of unbelief and ingratitude.

Romans 2:4 says, “Or do you despise the riches of His kindness, restraint, and patience, not recognizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?”

Paul is saying, “Do you think that all these blessings that visit your days came because you’re just an incredibly nice person who made God’s special list? No, His goodness was meant to lead you to Him.” Stop. Look around you. See the hand of the Lord in your life and turn to Him today. Put an end to taking from God and learn to thank Him.

Second, rest in his goodness with the army surrounds you. We live in a world where bad things happen to good people and good things happen to bad people. Sometimes, our circumstances argue with us about how good God is. Sometimes God’s good plan for us means going through trials and losses and heartache and death. God has great goodness stored up for you. Take your refuge in Him. Rest there. He is up to more than you know, and has hidden help that only comes when you give it up to Him. Finally, step out in faith. When you believe that God is good all the time, it frees you to take ever-increasing steps of faith.

Pray over Jeremiah 29:11, that says “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

5 thoughts on “Getting Closer to God

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