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Tuesday, February 16, 2016

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This psalm is an interesting mixture of supreme confidence tinged with moments of uncertainty and fear. Perhaps this is why it has connected so well over the ages with scripture readers--because we see our lives mirrored in these verses. Verse one boldly proclaims that because of God we have nothing to fear. Verse five states that, when times of trouble come, God will be there for us. But soon after, anxiety creeps in, reflected in a string of pleading "do nots:" do not hide your face, turn me away, cast me off, forsake me, give me up. Things are so bad the psalmist even seems to question the permanence of parental love and protection, as if to say "I can't be sure of anything I have relied upon previously. You, God, are my only possible source of help or else I'm sunk."

Of course, in truth, God is our first, last, and best parent. The psalmist ultimately knows this, and in the final verse we are encouraged to take heart. Like Abram looking up at the night sky and renewing his trust in God's promises, we are encouraged to be strong and wait, and maybe even adjust our vision to better see God present in our life and in our world.

Lord, be our vision. Help us to walk evermore confidently wearing the night goggles of faith. Amen.

Bruce Eldevik
Reference and Special Collections, Luther Seminary Library
Master of Arts , 1989

Psalm 27 (NRSV)

1 The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
2 When evildoers assail me to devour my flesh-- my adversaries and foes-- they shall stumble and fall.
3 Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war rise up against me, yet I will be confident.
4 One thing I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple.
5 For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will set me high on a rock.
6 Now my head is lifted up above my enemies all around me, and I will offer in his tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing and make melody to the Lord.
7 Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud, be gracious to me and answer me!
8 "Come," my heart says, "seek his face!" Your face, Lord, do I seek.
9 Do not hide your face from me. Do not turn your servant away in anger, you who have been my help. Do not cast me off, do not forsake me, O God of my salvation!
10 If my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will take me up.
11 Teach me your way, O Lord, and lead me on a level path because of my enemies.
12 Do not give me up to the will of my adversaries, for false witnesses have risen against me, and they are breathing out violence.
13 I believe that I shall see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
14 Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!

This God Pause daily devotion is brought to you by the alumni of Luther Seminary.