I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.
I’m a big fan of quotes. I am always impressed when someone can rattle off a few lines from a famous poem or Shakespeare play—especially when it happens to fit into the current conversation or situation perfectly. Of course, different kinds of people remember different kinds of quotes. They could be from the field of philosophy or politics or literature, or they might be lines from popular songs strung together in some sort of Pitch Perfect “riff-off.” I once had a friend in college who could carry on an entire conversation using only Monty Python quotes! What a person quotes can tell you a lot about them!
Regardless of the source, the most quotable lines are the ones that are most memorable to us.
As we have been reading through the Psalms together, some of them are doubtless more memorable than others. For me, Psalm 27 is one of those memorable, quotable psalms. It starts out with a wonderful, quotable declaration,
“The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom, then, shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?”
I remember my dad singing the old Frances Allitsen setting of this Psalm with my mother at the piano. It was a strong and confident song…it was memorable. I imagine it was memorable to the gospel writer John as he reflected on Jesus’ words, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)
Years later, when God started to really got hold of my life, I was given a prophetic word that my life needed to be about “one thing.” And so naturally I looked up and wrote down all the places in scripture where God tells us to focus on “one thing.” Here in verse 4, David expresses his “one thing,” the deepest desire of his heart:
“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.”
And the quotable lines just keep coming—verse 8, 10, 11. If you haven’t read the whole Psalm yet, now is the time! But it’s the memorable end of Psalm 27 that strikes me the most as I revisit David’s song today.
“I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”
David has expressed his confidence to confront the world around him. He believes that the Lord will protect and preserve his life, even though an army is advancing against him.
David has expressed his desire to escape the world around him. To be free from the ugliness of life and to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord.
But now David expresses his hope in God’s ability to redeem the world around him. He is confident that God’s goodness can and will be revealed—not just someday in heaven, but here in the land of the living.
As you follow Jesus today, it’s important that you have the confidence to confront the challenge and threats that encroach on your life. It’s important that you find peace and rest in the presence of the Lord—seeking him and gazing on his beauty. But it is also important to remember that God continues His work of redeeming His fallen world; that we can see His goodness in the land of the living. It is the goodness that God pours into us by his Spirit, and the goodness that God pours out of us into the world he loves.
God’s not calling you to escape this world, and he’s not simply calling you to survive it. He is calling all of us to join Him in the goodness of His kingdom work—to redeem and restore. God didn’t send Jesus into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world (John 3:17). It’s something we’re waiting for, but it is worth the wait. Live in that confident hope and carry that hope into a hopeless world. Seek him…follow him…and always stay thirty for him!