Jesus, in His wisdom, warned about the spiritual foundations of life when he told the extraordinary tale of two foundations: one who built on solid rock and the other who built on Sand; then when the great storm came and battered both houses even though they where made in the same way and of the same foundation when the clouds cleared there was only one house left standing – the one with a secure foundation. Foundation is everything; what we build on will tell how long we last in the end. Stanley captured it beautifully as he wrote: “There is only one secure foundation: a genuine, deep relationship with Jesus Christ, which will carry you through any and all turmoil. No matter what storms are raging all around, you’ll stand firm if you stand on His love.” 1
The Foundation of Life (7:1)
When we talk about life foundations, we can mean many different things. Simply put, a foundation is a thing on which we choose to base our life, purpose and worth – family, career, job, hobby and many other things. The foundation of our life is the reason we get out of bed in the morning, the reason we might suffer different seasons and costs in the hope that one day there might be something built out of it. Our foundation beneath us is often our hope before us. There is so much in the world that we might build upon, hoping that what we are making lasts, and it may weather many storms. Still, there will one day come a moment when the cracks appear, and the structure begins to weaken as we wonder just what our life has been about as we realise how little control we have over our life and our success. Our Foundations are our idols, the things we give our lives to in the hope that we might find some value or meaning in a purposeless world; lifeless Idols will eventually take all the energy in us as the trials come and expose their ineffectiveness.
So if everything in life will let us down, if every foundation will eventually crack and bring the house down, what can we build on? Simple, we build on what we were made for! Genesis tells us that as God created the world, he made humanity not look like the world but look like him; so unique was humanity in his creation that they were made in His Image. The theological term is ‘Imago Dei,’ meaning that every human carries something of God in them. Thus, if we reflect something of God is the essence of our being, it would suggest that something about our being must reflect God. We were made with purpose and intention: to reflect back to God and into the world the Image of God in us! If that is our ultimate purpose, then that is our secure foundation. The Son of God went to the cross so that in the power of God (The Holy Spirit), we might fulfil the image of God in us and through us. To trust in Jesus and live for him is to build on the secure foundation that will survive all the storms of life and live out our eternal purpose of reflecting God back to the world. What does such a foundation and hope look like in the life of a believer? Verse one of this Psalm!
Here is David as one whose life has been marked by many a mountain top moment and valley experience; not only has he been in the valley, but there have been several seasons of wilderness wandering and being battered by the worst storms that life could throw and even in those moments David knew there was only one secure place on which to Stand and one true direction to follow – God. King David models for us the life of Faith in Christ as he lives in the faith of the salvation to come and trusts in the one who will bring it! It is no coincidence that the first verse is a multifaceted declaration of trust in who God is and what God is doing. David trusts in the leading of God, that he is the light guiding him through life and that God is ultimately leading him to the right place, his salvation. Furthermore, David knows that by faith in God, there is nothing in life to fear, that is not to say that David was perfect in his following, but that again and again he relented and placed his all in the place where it would be secure eternally – with God. Not only Does David trust in the light of God to guide him and the security of his salvation, but he also trusts in the secure presence of God, who is his stronghold.2 Hence with such guidance, and in the assurance of a final destination and somewhere safe to dwell along the way, David can declare boldly:
“Whom shall I Fear?”
Not in an arrogant belief of himself or his own ability, but in a confident declaration of confidence in God. David is sure in who God is and that God is doing something in every season and situation of life; thus, he has nothing to fear. Perhaps we could even say that: David knows why he was made and what the foundation of his life is, and because of the strength of this foundation and purpose, he has the confidence to live and declare that no matter how great the situation or storm, God is greater still.
Trusting Amid the Trials of Life (7:2-6)
David knows God personally – the same relationship that each Christian has with God through faith in Christ – and with such personal knowledge and experience of God, has grown confident in God’s power, protection and providence. Specifically, David knows that regardless of the striation or trial he faces, God is working for His (that is God’s) good. Hence, even when the wicked descend against David with the intent to devour him, it is not he who will ultimately stumble and fail but those who oppose him because they are opposing one aligned with the heart and purposes of God. Hence, while they might intend to devour David, it is they who will ultimately stumble and fall, not necessarily in that moment but in light of God’s ultimate purposes. Hence, even when there is an army besieging David, and his peace has been destroyed as war has broken out against him, David’s heart will not be broken, nor will his confidence decrease because his confidence is no in the schemes or purposes of humankind but in God the eternally secure foundation.
What is the Prayer of David amid the tumultuous moments of life? It is not for relief, nor that the trouble will stop. No, because David knows the fullness of life and that seasons come and go, yet in the movement of the seasons, there is one thing that remains constant – God. Hence, the cry of his heart is that God will make more real in him the declaration of verse one: God as light, salvation and stronghold. Specifically, David pray’s that he may remain in that stronghold – the house of God – all the days of his life. There is no better place to be that in the presence of God, and there is no other place that we can remain eternally and securely regardless of what life may be throwing at us because it is not a physical dwelling but a spiritual one. The secure foundation is known by faith and felt through the dwelling of God by the Spirit of God, so regardless of the season or storm of life there, we remain secure if we choose to root ourselves there and build from there. Moreover, there is nothing more beautiful, fulfilling and secure than knowing God and enjoying him. Thus David’s Prayer amid difficulty is that the Lord would make it possible for him to gaze on his beauty, seek him in worship (the temple), and to know the eternal security of his presence. Why? because there is no more secure place to be in this life or the next; through faith, when we enter into the presence of God, we find all that we need and more, thus, even when the day of trouble comes, God “will keep him safe in his dwelling” and place his children on secure foundations, “high upon the rock.” There is no better place to be than in every season of life than in the presence of God because no matter the trial or temptation, his Mercy and Grace are more.
His Mercy is More (7-12)
The storms of life may be many, but one whose life is built on the secure foundation of God will know that the Grace and Mercy of God are more. Thus there in the joyful presence of God, steady on the secure foundation of his salvation David prays that the Lord will hear him and allow David to seek Him. Amid the storms of life confident in the presence of God, it is not just that David waits for these things out there: he seeks the help of God amid the storms from the safe company of God as he prayers for deliverance. The difficulties of life are not dismissed by the bible, nor the feelings and frustrations that we might feel in such moments lessoned. Yet, what we are challenged to do is place them in the context of eternity, remember God amid all we face, and trust that despite what the evidence may say or suggest that God can be trusted and is at work. Even though all around him may forsake him and abandon him the Psalmist prays that God will remain faithful to him despite his unfaithfulness.
The Psalmist prays that God will renew in his life the faithfulness that he has experienced throughout his life as he seeks him (8 &9), even though the situation has become so bad that his own parents have abandoned him. Additionally, the Psalmist’s prayers that God might instruct as to how to live and what do to – “teach me your ways” – a request that is directly related to the attack that the Psalmist is enduring from those who oppress him. Thus, the Psalmist is praying that the Lord will give him wisdom about how best to navigate the difficulties he is facing and that they will not succeed in their plots and schemes even though they will go to no end to do so. Such is the evil intent of those afflicting the Psalmist that they will go to no end to succeed, even raising up false witnesses to spout malicious lies and rumours. Yet, no matter the schemes of humankind, those who dwell in the presence of God can be confident and assured that the grace, mercy, and power of God are more. The Psalmist knows the security of life in God and life with God and knows that no matter the plans and plots of individuals that, God’s will ultimately prevail. Hence, his Prayer acknowledges the reality of what he is facing and more confidently the beauty of life with God and confidence in his work. The Psalmist models for our a simple approach to Prayer one that is honest about the reality of any situation, yet, more beautifully reveals a peace in the presence of God and a confidence in the work of God. The Psalmist reminds us that through faith and Life in God, there is always a reason to be confident – the faithfulness of God, though the trials of life may be many, his mercy is more, and he is our everlasting confidence.
Conclusion: Our Everlasting Confidence (13-14)
And so as it began, it ends, with the Psalmist finishing his hymn of praise and Prayer for deliverance with a confident declaration about who God is and why it is in we should trust and depend. Though the season of life and are, and we can be guaranteed that no matter who we are or what we possess, we will all face difficulties and storms of life will be many, the Psalmist reminds us that there can be one constant source of strength and joy: a place to look to, and on which to build regardless of what we find ourselves enduring or enjoying. Where? In the Stronghold of God, there is no better place in which to dwell and no better foundation on which to build than that of God. The Psalmist knows the purpose for which he was made and why he must live regardless of what he is facing. Thus, when times are good, he will dwell with and trust in God, then even when times are bad, he will dwell with and trust in God. We have a reason for joy and to have confidence in all the stages of life: Life with God through faith is our everlasting confidence.
Hence, as this Psalm began with a declaration of confidence in God over any worldly situation, so it ends with a confident declaration in God. Specifically, the Psalmist is convinced that God will hear his prayers and grant him deliverance in the land of the living. That is to say, the Psalmist believes that the Lord will listen to his Prayer and answer in in this life, that he will deal with those who oppose him, provide guidance to walk the road before him and allow the Psalmist to seek the presence and face of God despite others around him fleeing his company. This Psalmist’s trust in God is based on his understanding of the character of God and the goodness that he has seen in his own life.
The Psalmist has shown us several different things to consider here. First, regardless of the season of life we are in or the experiences we are going through, remember that there is one to whom we can always turn and depend on! Thus we must mirror the movement Psalm 27 teaches us and seek God in praying, being honest about the situations we face, yet, perhaps more profoundly than we must be intentional about our own seeking of God. That we do not simply pray to God amid what we are going through in the hope that he might make it better, but that we seek God amid the trial; we seek out his presence, we seek to renew the foundation of our lives and to learn more of his truths and guidance in terms of our ways.
We are part of our own response to Prayer, that as we seek the help of God so we seek the security of his presence through faith in his Son and the dwelling of the Holy Spirit so that we can know more of who God is and what he is calling us to. Why? Because it is only in the presence of God that the truths of God make sense, and the knowledge of God will grow in our lives and shape our living. The Psalmist is confident that he will see the goodness of God in the land of the living because it is already confirmed! He has seen the goodness of God every day as he has lived in the stronghold of God’s presence. Thus, he is confident that he will continue to see it in his days to come. Then what will he do until the Lord answers his Prayer? What he has been doing already, he will wait for the Lord (14). The Psalmist’s final words encourage all of us who read these words based on his experiences to take heart and trust in the Lord’s deliverance in our own circumstances. Through faith, we are those who have known the final deliverance to come from sin, wait in the power of the Holy Spirit and know there is a greater fulfilment of salvation still to come. Yet, how daily we need to be reminded of the goodness of God. So let us heed the words of the Psalmist and seek God as we wait for his deliverance. The very fact that the final verse repeats the phase twice makes clear the Psalm’s expectations and instruction, we are to await the Lords’ deliverance in his presence, and as we wait for him, we are to “be strong” and “take heart.” The exact same phrases used in Joshua when the Israelites are encouraged to Cross the Jordan when the exodus wondering of the children of God ended, and they entered into the beauty of Gods’deliverance in the promised Land. Today, let us consider what we are built on and make sure our foundation is the stronghold of God, and in his presence seek him as we wait for him and live for him in the Power of the Holy Spirit, confidence that he is working and will hear our prayers until we enjoy the beauty of his final deliverance when Christ shall come again! Let us be assured that he is our everlasting confidence and live confidently for him by reflecting his image back into the world, looking for something to depend on and live for. God (through faith in Christ) is our everlasting foundation and hope.