Behold the Beauty of the Lord
October 14-15, 2023
Psalm 27, behold the beauty of the Lord and I got to tell you out of all the Psalms, Psalm 27 is my personal favorite. Now I know you're not supposed to have favorites. Is it like kids, in the sense that you're not supposed to have a favorite child? We raised five kids, and many times we were asked by our kids, "Who's your favorite?" [laughs] I always would give them the answer. I would tell them who my favorite was. I said, my favorite is whoever needs me most. That's my favorite. Amen. I'm going to be there.
I think in some ways it's perhaps like that with the Psalms, your favorite, I think, is the one that ministers to you most, that resonates with you most. Maybe it ministers to you in your time of need, or maybe it just speaks life to you when you need a word of encouragement. I know that for me when I've gone through a valley of trouble or I've gone through a circumstance that it's difficult, I know that just opening my Bible and just reading the Psalms, they just bless the soul. It's just like refreshing water to the soul. It just brings life.
There's just something about the Psalms that just brings life. Have you experienced this? It's just so beautiful. Psalm 27, I think, resonates with me personally because God used it to transform my life and confirm my call to be a pastor. Of course, I've given you this story, many of you know my story, but it's just so important to me because here we are in Psalm 27. The story is this, when I was a young man in my early 20s trying to find my way in life, I would go to church oftentimes, and I would oftentimes go to church alone. I know.
I would get there early and I just loved being at church. I loved the smell of it. [laughs] I don't know, I just really loved just sitting. I would get there early. I would just sit there in the chairs, the pews, and they would have beautiful worship playing, and I would just sit there and read my Bible. One day I'm sitting there and I'm reading Psalm 27 and the words of this Psalm sitting there in that sanctuary, listening to that beautiful music in that place. The words became beautiful to me. Those words became just resonating on my soul, that when you read the psalm, you'll know what I mean.
They just speak a heart after God. It blessed me and I immediately knew that I wanted to be a pastor. It just confirmed in my heart, reading that psalm. See, this is one of those psalms that revealed the inner workings of David's faith. David's perspective on God, David's relationship with God was the very substance of his faith, right? David, in several places is called a man after God's own heart. That is something we all ought to desire to be, a man or a woman after God's own heart. You see that in several places, for example, in Acts, but it's in not the places in the Old Testament too.
Acts 13:22, after God had removed Saul, He raised up David to be their king, concerning whom He testified and said, "I found David, the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart who will do My will." That's the key now, to David's faith, his victorious life is because he is a man after God's own heart, which means he loved God. He delighted in the Almighty, his soul was filled and was overflowing. Remember Psalm 23, my cup overflows, his soul prospered in the light of God. That's what it means to be a man or a woman after God's own heart and that is what we all ought to desire to be.
I. Deeper Faith brings Confidence in God
God loved David because he was a man after His own heart. See, for David, faith was more than just a belief system, you might say, more than just a theological understanding or a theological bearing. No, no. It had everything to do with how you live. The practice of living was born out of thou faith. In other words, how you live, how David lived is because of what he believed, his faith, his relationship to the living God. David was a man of action. Men and women of faith are men and women of action. See, David encountered many, many troubles, many conflicts, many battles, many difficulties.
For him, his faith was a practical part of victory. In those conflicts, in those troubles, in the day-to-day struggles, he did those struggles by his faith. His faith was tried and tested over and over and over because God was with him. God walked with him through every one of those, and he walked by faith. David gives expression to that faith in the Psalm. See, you see a Psalm now where his faith is defined. Ah, this is David. This is what David believes. This is how David lives. This is how David takes that faith and puts it into life. That's why it's so important.
Anyone who desires to be victorious in the practice of living, and I think everybody would say, "Yes, I want to be victorious in how I live my life." See, if anyone wants to be victorious, if anyone wants to have a heart after God, then these words out of Psalm 27 will resonate in your soul. Let's read it and then we'll look into it together. Psalm 27 and will begin in verse one, "The Lord is my light and my salvation. Whom shall I fear?" Now, see, I don't know, you got to read it with a determined faith, right? The Lord is my light. The Lord is my salvation so whom should I fear?
The Lord is the defense of my life. Now, by the way, the word Lord is in all caps, which means it's the name of God, it's Yahweh, Yahweh, Yahweh, however, you want to say. It's the name of God. He's naming God by name. Yahweh is the defense of my life, so whom then should I dread if God is the defense of my life? When evildoers came upon me to devour my flesh, my adversaries and my enemies, they stumbled and fell. Notice verse three, "Though a host in camp against me, my heart will not fear."
This is faith right here in the practice of living. He then says, "Though war arises against me, in spite of this, I shall be confident." Then verse four. This is what, when I was sitting there in that church on that beautiful evening, these were the words right here. Verse four, "One thing I have asked from the Lord and that I shall seek one thing. One thing above all other things I ask and I seek and it's this, that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life to behold the beauty of the Lord and to meditate in his temple."
I read those words and I thought, I want that. That's what I want. I want to dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life. I'm a pastor. I get the privilege of dwelling in the house of the Lord all the days of my life. I get to teach five times a week the word of God. Am I blessed? I'm blessed. Amen. I'll tell you what, and we're going to read it because all of the paths of the Lord are loving, kindness, and truth. All the paths of the Lord are loving, kindness, and truth. When I get to teach the word of God, I get to bless, but I am blessed.
See, whenever you're blessed, you get to receive a blessing. Oh, I am so, so blessed. David, that's his prayer. That's what I'm asking all the days of my life. Then he says verses five and four, "In the day of trouble, He will conceal me in His tabernacle or His shelter in the secret place of His tent He'll hide me and He will lift me up on a rock. Now my head will be lifted up above my enemies around me. I will offer in His tent sacrifices with shouts of joy, I will sing. Yes, I will sing praises to Yahweh, to the Lord. I will shout it. I will sing it. I will praise his name.
Hear, oh Lord, when I cry with my voice, be gracious and answer me. When you said, 'Seek My face' my heart said to You, 'Your face, oh Lord, I will seek.' Do not hide your face from me. Do not turn your servant away in anger. You've been my help. Do not abandon or forsaken me. Oh God of my salvation. Father and mother have forsaken me but the Lord I know will take me up." Verse 11, "Teach me your way. Oh Lord, teach me, lead me in a level path because of my foes. Do not deliver me over to the desire of my adversaries.
False witnesses have risen up against me." David had many opponents, many challengers, many who would rise up against him. He said, "As such, they breathed out violence. I would've despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living." Yes, I know I will see the goodness of the Lord when I breathe my last, and I'm in His presence. I believe I will see the goodness of the Lord right here, right now in the land of the living." That's why he says verse four, he turns his attention to those who would read this Psalm.
"Wait for the Lord, be strong." He means, here, "Arise, in your faith, let your faith arise in strength. Be strong and let your heart take courage." Yes. Wait for the Lord. Oh, now is that a good psalm or what? Yes, it's a good psalm. It's the best one of all of 'em. Okay. It was a little strong, but it's awesome. Let's read it. Let's look at it. There's so much to apply. Starting with this, deeper faith brings confidence in God. This is a theme, one of the great themes of David's life. Confidence. David was a very, very confident man. This is a theme of David.
David was confident because of his faith. He was not self-confidence. It was confidence because of faith in God. It's boldness in David. It came from the depths of faith. God wants this for you, that you be a man after God's own heart means to walk in that faith. A boldness, man of faith are men of action. David faced his troubles straight on. He drove straight into a storm that you got to just admire the boldness, the courage, the faith. He would drive straight into the storm knowing that God was with him, that God was for him. That with God there would be victory.
By the way, some are I think sometimes confused on this point because there are other Scriptures that suggest that victory is ours when the battle is the Lord's and that God will do the fighting for us. We do not have to engage the enemy at all. That is true. We do see examples of that in the Scriptures. In other words, God works in many different ways. We need to wait on God to discern how God is moving in the circumstances. We do need to see that God does move in different ways.
For example, later on in Israel's history, the story unfolds that nations on the other side of the Jordan had formed an alliance of countries and nations against David and even across the Jordan and encamped at En Gedi. Jehoshaphat was the king. He gathered all the assembly from the cities of Judah to seek the Lord, pray for God's help. They were standing there with their infants, their wives, and their children just waiting on God. That right there is a great lesson. Then notice the word of the Lord. 2nd Chronicles 20:15-17. "Then the spirit of the Lord said," Okay, there they are.
They're all standing. They're waiting. Got their babies in their hands. They're just waiting. Jehoshaphat had made an amazing prayer. Yes. Then they're just waiting on God. Then the spirit of the Lord came upon Jehaziel. He said, "Listen, oh, Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem and King Jehoshaphat. Thus says the Lord to you, do not fear or be dismayed because of this great multitude for the battle is not yours, but God's. You need not fight in this battle station yourselves. Stand and watch and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf."
We know the story. God set the armies of those nations into confusion and they attacked one another. While the army of Judah stood and watched the scene unfold them, they did not engage in the battle. That's a powerful example of how God can move in your behalf. God moves in many different ways in the Scriptures, but your confidence is in Him. You pray and you seek the heart of God, and you do not move until you have the direction of God for whatever you are encountering. Whatever challenges before you, you wait and hear the direction of the Lord.
There are times when He says, "Do not engage at all. Be silent. Do not even speak a word." I felt the Lord speak that to my heart at times. Don't even speak a word in response. Sometimes silence is very powerful. For example, 2 Kings, 18:34, "The people of Jerusalem are silent and answered the captain of Assyrian, not a word, for the king's command was 'Do not answer him a word.'" Sometimes that's what God uses. That's what God would say. Do not answer. Do not engage, do not speak a word. Sometimes God just wants you to give a gracious answer and move on.
A. If God is for you, who can be against you?
There are other times, however, when God says, encounter the problem head-on, go straight into the storm believing that God is with you in the midst of it and that God will be your help. God is with you in the storm and that God's help will make you great. God's help will make you victorious. There's a theme here in this psalm that is a theme of David's life. I submit that it is a theme that we see in the New Testament as well. It's this, if God is for you, who can be against you? It's the New Testament principle. We see it in David's faith.
We see it in David's life, is the very substance of David. If God is for me, who can be against me? It comes right out of Romans 8:31, 37, and 39, where Paul writes this, "What then shall we say to these things if God is for us, who can be against us?" That is a great word right there. Do you believe that word? It's a strong word of God. If God-- and really the best way to see that is since God is for us. In the Greek, it's even more clear. It's the word since God is for us then who can be against us?
For in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him, God's help makes me great through Him who loved us. For nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God which is found in Christ Jesus, our Lord. Romans 8 is one of the most powerful chapters in the whole Bible. There you see the substance of it. See, that was David's faith. Notice verses one and two. Notice what he says. "The Lord is my light and my salvation. Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the defense of my life. Whom shall I dread?" Is he not saying the same thing?
If God is for me, or since God is my light and since God is my salvation, then you tell me, should I be afraid of someone if God is my light and God my salvation, and God is the defense of my life, should I be afraid? David said, "No, I will not." See, I love that phrase, the Lord is my light. See, light is vision, light is understanding, it's clarity, it's insight, it's hope, it's life. Darkness is despair, uncertainty, doubt, confusion. Now, the Lord is my light. I do not have doubt. I do not have confusion. I do not have despair.
God is my light. I have clarity. I have hope, I have vision. God is my light. God is my salvation, whom shall I fear? See, whenever you read Psalm 27, the reason those words are so encouraging is because we know that David did it. That these words are tested and tried. David proved it. Therefore, we look at our lives and say, then I will test it and I will try those words and God will prove it in my life. See, your faith arises when you read a Psalm like that because you want to say, the Lord's my light, the Lord's my salvation, and the Lord is the defense of my life and I will not be afraid.
B. You pursue what you desire
"The war arise against me. In spite of this, I shall be confident," David wrote. See, in other words, his confidence in God was greater than the fear of war arising. God is with me. Then, would you notice verse four? Oh, how beautiful is verse four? Obviously, to me, it's the high point of the Psalm. I like to perhaps see verse four from this view that you pursue what you desire. It's one of the most beautiful, insightful verses here. In my view, Psalm 27:4 is one of the most beautiful and insightful verses in the Bible.
I submit that we are right now, you are, we are, I submit we are pursuing what we desire. By nature, by our nature, what we desire, what we long for. See, having desires and longings is part of the nature of men. Everybody's got desires. We don't even need to do a show of hands. I know everybody has desires. Everybody has things they long for, things that they're striving for. You could write a list of the things that you're desiring and striving for. You pursue the things that you are desiring, that you are searching for.
Therefore, what you desire has everything to do with who you will become. Your desires define who you will become. Now, I can tell you personally that what I pursue and what I desire has changed over time. When I was a young man in my, let's say teens and early 20s, the things I desired then are not the things I desire now. Anybody old enough to agree with what I say here? I think what happens as you get older, and if you're in your teens or 20s, trust me, you'll change because what happens is the value of things change.
You see the things that you value change because the things have different values. See, for example, I've come to see the value of my soul like I've never seen it in my life. Now, I've been a believer since I was very young but the depth of understanding of what God is doing and how precious it is to the soul is what David is saying. David is saying, "I'm asking one thing above all things and that is the one thing I seek." I ask because I seek. What is that one thing to you? I mentioned this Wednesday, and it's a good question to ask, if you could ask one thing above all things, one thing, what would you ask of God for you personally?
I'm not talking about world peace, I'm talking about you. What would you ask for, for you? Me? Yes, the one highest, the one that's above all things. This is got to be you. It's not world peace. That's you. What's the one thing you would ask for from God? David says, "One thing, above all things, one thing I want is this, I want to dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life. I want to behold the beauty of the Lord. I want to meditate in His temple." Why would David ask that? Because he understood the value, the beauty of the soul. Even understood what few understand.
He understood the depths of the beauty of the Lord. Once you see the depths of the beauty, the glory, the amazing, beautiful delight of God's glory, you see it throughout the Scriptures. I've used this illustration before, I want to use it again because I cannot think of a better one. It's like this, it's like someone who's colorblind and then they get a gift of those, they're called EnChroma glasses that allow a colorblind person to see in color. All their life they've seen monochrome and that that's what life is to them, everything's monochrome.
Then for their birthday, they're given these glasses where they can see in color. Maybe you've seen these videos on YouTube, they're very moving. You start crying because they put on these glasses for the first time and it's like, of course, everybody there knows what it is and so they've got their beautiful balloons and reds and yellows and blues, what everybody's wearing and they got flowers. Then the guy puts on the glasses. He goes, "Wow, is this life? Is this real? This is the way you see? This is the way you see?" Yes, this is the way we see. This is life.
"I had no idea." He goes outside and looks at the green grass and the blue sky, and he's crying. This is so amazing. He's discovered the beauty, what he never saw before and everything was monochrome to him. Here's my point, it's like that, David sees what many do not see. David sees the glory. David sees the beauty. Many people, they had no idea. They read the Bible in monochrome. God wants to bring a depth. I'll just tell you what, you see the beauty and the glory, it will bring revival. It will bring revival to the soul. It will.
I'm here to tell you, it will bring revival to the soul because the glory of God resonates upon the soul. That's why David says, "I want that above all things." Then he adds, "For in the day of trouble," verse 5, "He will conceal me in His tabernacle," or His shelter, "And in the secret place of His tent, He will hide me and He will lift me up with a rock." In other words, and I know that in that day of trouble that God will draw me closer to Himself, that's what he means. In the day of trouble, God will draw me into the shelter of His wings.
He'll draw me nearer to Himself. That is victory. When God draws me near, He covers me with His wings, He covers me with His protection. He says, "And then He will lift me up on a rock." See, there under the shelter, verse 6, notice under the shelter of the Almighty David says, "And then I will offer sacrifices with shouts of joy. I will shout it out and I will sing, and I will sing praises to my God and I will just let my voice be heard on high. I want God to know, I am so thankful to Almighty God for all that He's done in my life."
II. God says to you, “Seek My Face”
See, you see what David's doing? He's giving something back. See, he's received and received and he's received, and he's received, and he is so amazingly blessed and he wants to give something back. He says, "God, I want to shout it out. I want to give you praises. I want to just declare it." Now we see David's faith in the practice of life. Then notice where he goes with the Psalm next, God says to you, "Seek My face." David said, "When you said to me, 'Seek my face,' my heart said, 'I will.'" I will seek your face.
I submit that God is saying that to you. God is saying to you, "Seek My face." God wants you to seek His face. Now, you cannot see God's face, but you can seek God's face. You can seek God's face when you pursue God's presence. The nearness of God to your soul, when you are seeking the glory, the beauty, you are seeking the face of God. See, let's think of it this way. When you have a relationship with somebody, you address them to their face. See, when I speak to you, you have turned your face to me. Thank you.
When you are addressing me, you see my face. I don't speak to you with my-- that would be very rude. See, what it speaks to is relationship because the face is the expression of the countenance. You can see the countenance. If there's joy, it's in the countenance. If there's peace, it's in the countenance. You can't really hide your countenance. I said some people do, the pretenders. Generally speaking, we are where we are. Out of the abundance of the heart is the countenance of the face. Would you agree with me?
Some people you can just tell they've been eating sour grapes for a long time. They must have sour grapes for breakfast. They eat sour grape nuts even. Work with me here. At least I think it's funny. Note to self, don't use that one tomorrow morning. It's the countenance of the face. You seek his face when you desire his glory. The glory of God is the countenance of God. The beauty of his presence. You come to see that you seek for more. "Seek My face. Seek My face," He says, you seek it, you want more. God wants you.
He says it many places. Here's another one. 1 Chronicles 16:10-11. Glory in His holy name. Let the heart of those who seek the Lord be glad. Seek the Lord and His strength. Seek His face continually. Then notice in verse 11, and then when you seek His face, He says, "Seeking to know the ways of the Lord." When you seek His face, then you'll seek the ways. Notice verse 11, teach me Your ways, oh Lord, and lead me on a level path. There's a vast difference between God's ways and man's ways. Vast, vast, vast, vast difference.
A. Seek to know the ways of the Lord
Proverbs 14:12-14. There is a way which seems right to a man, but the end is the way of death. The backslider in heart will have his fill of his own ways. In other words, God's way is the way of life. When you seek His face, when you delight in the Almighty, you want to walk in the ways. There's a path. There's a way to live. See, for David, faith was the practice of living. He put it into the path. How you live, how you walk, the bearing of your countenance, the bearing of your faith. When you seek the ways of the Almighty, when you walk in the ways of God, it will come back to you as great blessing.
It will come back to you as great blessing. For example, Matthew 6:33, seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added unto to you. It comes back to as blessing. First, seek first the kingdom of God. Order your way by that and it'll come back to you. Psalm 25, we just read this on Wednesday. Psalm 25 is amazing. You can write a book on Psalm 25. It is so amazing. If you missed it, I taught it on Wednesday. It is on YouTube and on the app. Psalm 25 is amazing. Notice Psalm 25:10 and 12-13. All the paths of the Lord are loving, kindness, and truth.
God says, seek the ways. Talk about the path. Walk on the path. All the paths of the Lord are loving, kindness, and truth. Who is the man who reveres the Lord? God will instruct him in the way that he should choose, and his soul will abide in prosperity. That's such a good word right there. His soul with abide in prosperity. We're not talking about prosperity gospel that has nothing to do with it. We're talking about a soul that's prosperous because glory abides, because the joy of the Lord is made known because the love of God overflows.
That's the soul. See, you can choose the way, the path of God, and have your soul alive and overflowing with the joy of the Lord, or you can walk in the ways of the world, the ways of the flesh, the ways of man, and it will bring about a soul that's sick. All the paths of the Lord are loving, kindness, and truth, but the pathways of the world and the pathways of man bring sickness to the soul. I was thinking of an illustration on a trip that I took down for going time. We were doing pastors conferences and at the end of the week, we brought all of the churches from those pastors all together in one big gathering.
It was wonderful. Oh, the worship, oh, it was amazing. I had the privilege of bringing the word and I was talking on this theme. I was thinking of an illustration. As we were driving through the town, we saw this creek and you can't help but notice it because everybody throws their garbage in it. They use it as a toilet. It is just, you're with me on this? I said, "You know that creek?" They all knew that creek. "You know that creek? Would you drink that water?" Of course, in Africa, they're very, very responsive. "Would you drink that water?"
They all shouted, "No. No, we won't drink that water." I said, "What if we put sugar in it? Made it sweet. Would you drink it then?" "No. No, we won't drink it even if it's sweet to the taste we won't drink it." "Would you drink a glass of water with only one drop in it?" "No. I don't even want one drop in my glass of water." "Why?" "I know where it came from and I know what's in it. I don't want it." I submit to you that if we knew what was in the stuff that people drink from the world, if we really knew what it did to the soul, if we really knew, you wouldn't drink it.
B. Wait for the Lord; be strong
That's what revival is. That's what revival is. My eyes have been opened. Now I see the depths of the glory of God. I see that thing which was sweet to the taste, I know what it's made of. I don't want it. Now, if none of this makes sense to you, then perhaps you need to taste and see that the Lord is good. Psalm 34:8, taste and see the Lord is good. Oh, how blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him. Then lastly, we'll close with this verse 13. Verse 13 is personal with David. Be strong. Wait for the Lord. Be strong. He says, "Great finale," because he turns his attention to you, the reader.
Wait, let me give you a lesson from my life. Wait for the Lord and be strong. He says, "I would've despaired, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. See, David believed with all his heart that he would see the goodness of the Lord, that walking in the pathways of the Lord would mean that he would see the goodness of the Lord right now in the land of the living. To wait on the Lord means that you wait with eager expectation. God is my help. God is my help, the very present help in times of trouble.
I will wait with eager expectation. Don't be impatient. Look to God to be your help in time of trouble. Wait. Do not move. Do not move until you've waited for the Lord, until the Lord shows you the way and God will strengthen you while you wait. Isaiah 40:29-31, "It is He who gives strength to the weary and to him who lacks might. It is He who increases power. Though youths grow weary and tired and vigorous young men stumble badly, those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength. They will mount up with wings like eagles.
They will run and not get tired, and they will not be faint." Wait. Be strong. While you wait, be strong. What he means by that is strong in faith, courageous in faith. Courageous in faith, that's what he means. David surely knew what he was speaking of. David knew what it meant to be strong in faith. Steadfast, take courage, but wait and God will renew your strength. God will reveal to you the beauty, the beauty of the glory. Seek His face, God says to you. Let's pray. Father, we are so amazed. What can we say? We are so amazed. God is my light, my salvation, so whom should I fear?
The Lord is the defense of my life, so whom should I dread? The war arise against me. In spite of this, I will be confident. There is one thing I have asked from the Lord, one thing that I seek that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life to behold the beauty of the Lord and meditate in His temple. God, when you said, "Seek My face," my heart said to You, "Your face, Lord, I will. I will seek it." Church, how many would say that to the Lord today? I will seek Your face. I want to know Your ways. I want to know You. I want to seek Your glory.
I want to see the depths of the beauty of what You would do. I see it now. I see it now, God. You've opened my eyes. I see it now. I want more, more of God. I seek Your face. Father, thank you for everyone who raised their hand to You as a prayer, as a declaration of desire. You said, "Seek My face," and we say to You, "Your face, oh, Lord, we will seek." Show us your glory, Lord. We love you. We delight in the Almighty and we shout a word of praise. We will sing your praise in the house of the Lord, for you are worthy of it all.
In Jesus' powerful name, and everyone said, let's give the Lord praise and glory and honor. Amen. Amen. Amen.