Months ago, I landed an interview for a job I really wanted. I had been seeking God for a long time about the next step in my career, so the interview felt like He was finally answering my prayer.
I got to take part in what has been the most fun job interview, which I thought went well. Then I got the answer: No. All the hopes I’d pinned on the job died. I had no idea what was next, and the fear sent me reeling. Because it felt like my career had hit a dead end, I began to think that I was at a dead end. And that filled me with despair.
It’s not specified when David wrote Psalm 27, though it’s believed to be while he was on the run from either King Saul or his usurping son Absalom. What is clear is that David had enemies coming after him (vv. 2-3, 6, 11-12) to take his life.
Despite the grave situation, the “one thing” David asked was to “dwell in the house of the Lord. . . to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple” (v. 4). Faced with fear and uncertainty, David’s response was to look for God and claim Him as his refuge and hiding place (v. 5).
It’s a drastically different attitude from what many of us would have under such circumstances. We’re not threatened with life-or-death situations like David was, but when hit with setbacks, we often respond in fear and focus on how to get ourselves out of the jam. Such a mindset reflects where our confidence is in—our own power.
By contrast, David seeking the Lord as his “one thing” establishes the foundation of his confidence. He describes the Lord as his light and salvation (v. 1), which leads him to express incredible certainty that neither an oncoming army, nor war itself would shake him (vv. 2-3).
The presence of light is a source of comfort and relief when we’re in a dark and bleak place. Light reveals what lies in wait and shows us where to go. Light here means salvation, as it counters the darkness of evil and fear.
In my despair, God reminded me that even if I didn’t know my future, He does—He has already secured my eternal destiny through Christ. No matter what happens to me or my career, He will look out for me and light my path.
Still, the psalm wasn’t a declaration of confidence all throughout. David also cries out for God to hear him, to show him mercy; he begs the Lord to not reject or forsake him (vv. 7, 9).
My prayers as I grappled with my setback were along the same lines too, as I sought God’s comfort and reassurance over a week of prayer and fasting. As His Word and presence watered my soul, the Lord impressed on me what David’s “one thing” did for him—he was able to regain a hopeful confidence (v. 10) because he was so saturated with God’s presence.
Being on the run, David likely wasn’t anywhere near a worship site, but he worshipped nonetheless, which enabled him to recognise that the Lord would never forsake him. The psalm closes on a victorious note as David reaffirms his confidence that he would “see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living” (v. 13).
Even as my career path remains unclear, I know I, too, can have confidence that I will see His goodness at work in my life. My prayer and fasting week reminded me to carve out time to be in God’s presence every day—praising Him in song, pouring out my heart to Him in prayer, reading His response in Scripture—so that He will truly be my “one thing”, and I’d remember how faithful He has been and will always be.
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