July 4, 2020
Daybreak: Psalms 27:1 through 29:11
“Blessed be the Lord, because he hath heard the voice of my supplications. The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him.” (Psalm 28:6-7)
Dwight L. Moody, noted American evangelist, was one who found that prayer can bring peace, even in the midst of terrifying circumstances. In November of 1892, Moody was sailing home to America after an extended campaign in England. During the voyage, rough seas caused the ship’s shaft to break, and the lower part of the vessel began filling with water. The passengers and crew were gripped with foreboding as the crippled ship began lurching violently from side to side. As night set in, foreboding turned to terror among many of those on board.
Moody was not immune to fear. As he faced the very real prospect of perishing at sea, his thoughts flew to his wife and children, his friends on both sides of the Atlantic, and the various enterprises he had begun in the work of the Lord. He later recounted: “It was the darkest hour of my life. I could not endure it. I must have relief, and relief came in prayer. God heard my cry, and enabled me to say, from the depth of my soul, ‘Thy will be done!’ Sweet peace came to my heart. I went to bed, fell asleep almost immediately, and never slept more soundly in all my life…I can no more doubt that God gave answer to my prayer for relief than I can doubt my own existence.”(1)
The next day, another ship spotted the damaged vessel, and towed it one thousand miles to safety.
Like Dwight L. Moody, the psalmist David found that God can bring peace in life’s most serious challenges. The first verses of Psalm 28 are a desperate plea for help, but in our focus verses, David thanks God for hearing his prayer. The psalmist’s assurance rings through his words — God is the saving strength of those who trust in Him.
What a beautiful truth! We may not face vicious attacks by enemies as David did, or physical peril like that encountered by Moody. However, it is certain that we will face challenges of some sort in life! In those times, we can cling to the words of this psalm, and know without doubt that our all-powerful God will be our strength and shield if we will put our trust in Him. He is the One who gives peace in the storm!
Psalm 27 has two distinct and contrasting sections. Verses 1-6 are an affirmation of faith and confidence in God. Verses 7-14 are a petition by the psalmist for God to hear his cry and provide instruction, guidance, and protection. Some suggest that because of the difference in content, the two sections may have originally been composed at different times. However, a transition from one theme or tone to another is not uncommon in the psalms; many times such a progression indicates the movement in the author’s heart as he communed with God in prayer.
Because of the warfare imagery and use of words such as enemies, foes, army, and war, the psalm is traditionally ascribed to David. Although the exact setting is unknown, Bible scholars agree that it may have been composed during the period of David’s flight from Absalom.
In addition to expressing his need for physical deliverance, the psalmist declared his deep spiritual longing in three ways: he desired to “dwell” in the Lord’s house, to “behold” the Lord’s beauty, and to “enquire” in the Lord’s Temple. After meditating on the Lord, David addressed Him directly, calling on Him by name. Held steady by the hope of God’s intervention in his behalf, David concluded the psalm with an exhortation, seemingly to himself, to wait upon God with courage, secure in the knowledge that God would surely answer.
Psalm 28 is a prayer for God’s help in a time of trouble, progressing to thanksgiving for God’s deliverance in a simple conflict-to-resolution structure. The superscription credits authorship to David.
The psalm begins with a plea of great emotional intensity, reflecting David’s anxiety in a time of peril. It possibly was written during the time when Absalom rose up in rebellion against his father. The word translated mischief in verse 3 has a much stronger meaning in the original language; it implies “the intention of unmitigated evil.” The psalmist’s outraged sense of justice is apparent as he pled with God to render deserved judgment upon the wicked, both for their evil actions and their disregard for the “works of the Lord” (verse 5).
As in the preceding psalm, there is an abrupt change of tone midway. Beginning with verse 6, David rejoiced in the security, power, and protection God gives. Some commentators suggest these words may have been added after deliverance had come; alternatively, they were an expression of David’s faith that deliverance would come after he presented his request to God. In a closing doxology (a short hymn of praise to God sung at the conclusion of a psalm or hymn) the psalmist expressed his profound appreciation and adoration for the God who helps and delivers those who trust in Him.
Psalm 29 was traditionally sung on the first day of the Feast of Tabernacles. Titled by various commentators as “The Thunder Psalm” or “The Thunder of God,” it depicts a symphony of praise to the Creator by natural forces, rather than simply a demonstration of His power. Traditionally ascribed to David, the song reflects the awe that a shepherd would feel as he observed a great storm.
After an opening call to worship, verses 3-9 describe the approach, onset, and passing of the storm. A unique feature of this psalm is the repeated references to the “voice of the Lord.” Though this phrase alludes directly to the thunder and wind, it has a wider meaning as the power of the Word of God.
The heart of the poem is a description of a storm that moves from the sea to the west of Israel, across the forested hills of Lebanon in northern Israel to the more desolate southern regions of Kadesh, and then to the far borders of Edom. “Lebanon and Sirion” in verse 6 are the principal mountains of Israel. The “flames of fire” in verse 7 allude to forked lightening. The violence of the storm made the “hinds to calve” (verse 9) or to birth their young prematurely.
These manifestations of God’s power evoke the fitting response of giving glory to God. Psalm 29 concludes with a plea for God to continue to save and bless His people with peace.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
I. Book I (1:1 — 41:13)
II. Book II (42:1 — 72:20)
III. Book III (73:1 — 89:52)
IV. Book IV (90:1 — 106:48)
V. Book V (107:1 — 150:6)
A Closer Look
- What did the psalmist ask “the mighty” to give unto the Lord in Psalm 29?
- Psalm 28:8-9 reflect that others benefited when David received an answer to prayer. How might others benefit when we receive an answer?
- How can we encourage ourselves to wait patiently upon God?
God gives peace and security to those who put their trust in Him.
1. William Revell Moody, The Life of Dwight L. Moody, p.403-404.