Today we continue with a series based on Psalm 27. I spoke on this Psalm’s theme, and especially verse 4, for the Watford church of Christ. We are part-way through a series based on the “one thing” phrases found in the Scriptures.

If you haven’t already done so, I recommend listening to the first episode which covers some background thoughts on the context of the Psalm.

Now, on to today’s verse.

“When the wicked advance against me to devour me, it is my enemies and my foes who will stumble and fall.” (Psalm 27:2 NIV11)

David has problems. His enemies not only have evil intent, but they aim to destroy. They want him gone, out of the picture, eliminated. Have you ever had an experience like that? What does it do to your peace of mind and confidence about the future? Let’s see how David responds.

First of all, we note that David faces reality head on. He is not unaware of his predicament, nor is he trying to pretend it is not as severe as it is. One of the keys to spiritual well-being is to acknowledge our challenges, to recognise the motives of those who would harm us, and to take it all to God.

The word ‘devour’ can mean to ‘eat’. This is a reminder of the frail nature of our physical existence. It can also mean to ‘slander’ from an Akkadian idiom ‘to eat a piece of me’. Who does this remind you of?

“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.” (1 Peter 5:8–9 NIV11)

Satan is a roaring lion looking to devour us. But, he can be resisted and he will flee. He flees not because of our strength, but because he recognises the strength of Christ in us.

Emphatically it is David’s enemies that will fall and not he himself. He has the light (v1) – they are in darkness where stumbling is a natural consequence of not having light. The tables are turned. The enemies expect to be victorious, but they are the ones who will fall, and not David. They will not be falling at David’s feet, but falling at the feet of God. It is he who fights our battles. You might like to look up this song on such a theme by Michael W. Smith:

People ‘falling’ at the power/revelation of God was a common experience in Scripture, Ezek. 1:28; 44:4; Dan. 2:46; 8:18; 10:9; Acts 9:4; 22:7; 26:14; Rev. 1:17; 19:10; 22:8, and when the soldiers approached Jesus.

“When Jesus said, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground.” (John 18:6 NIV11)

The story is told of the Christian woman who heard a knock at the door. She called out, “Who’s there?”. “The devil”, came the reply. “Can I come in?” “Yes”, she said, ‘but you should know that Jesus is here with me.” “Ah!”, said the devil, “I’ll come back another time.”

What is the lesson from this verse? When under attack David does two things:
i. He turns to God in prayer
ii. He turns to God in faith

These two actions are adequate to quiet his soul. Both actions require courage. The courage to step away from our anxiety long enough to pray, and the courage to trust God for a future which we cannot yet see. How could these two simple actions help you with whatever you feel I might ‘devour’ you?

We will conclude today’s podcast with the song I wrote using the words of Psalm 27 verse 4.

Next week we will proceed to the third verse of the Psalm. In the meantime, please add your comments on this week’s topic. We learn best when we learn in community.

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“Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.” (Psalms 100:2 NIV11)

God bless, Malcolm