Your Face, Lord, Do I Seek (Psalm 27)

. 3 min read

face, LORD, do I seek
      Praying the Psalms, 3                                                       Ps 027
Mar 2019, Christ Mountain Top
reading, Philippians 3.17-4.1
Luke 13.31-35
Psalm 27
Moment, UMCOR Sunday video 2
51 – lament for our sin
91 – quoted both by the devil and by Jesus in the NT
      Deliverance of slaves, God as deliverer
      What does God’s victory look like? Domination
or the cross?
Psalm 27 – theme of coming home
City Slickers:
Jack Palance’s character to Billy Crystal’s, the secret to life is “one thing.”
Figure out what it is for you, give everything to pursuing it. In our world, we
pursue all kinds of things that fail to satisfy, but if we find the right “one
thing,” what a blessing. The psalm writer describes it this way:
thing I asked of the LORD,
will I seek after:
live in the house of the LORD all the days of my life,
behold the beauty of the LORD,
to inquire in his temple.
my heart says, “seek his face!”
face, LORD, do I seek.
“one thing,” the greatest desire, the desperate need, the entire hope of the
psalm writer is this: to come home to God, for the light to be left on, for
there to be a place at the table, for there to be room at the inn, for God to
smile that great toothy grin and reach out to embrace and welcome me.

themes in the texts for the day around “home”:
·       Philippians
– our citizenship is in heaven. We know where we come from, where we’re going,
where home is
·       Luke
– refusing to come to Jesus, refusing to make our home under his wings
·       Psalm
and Danny
      The midnight escape from the orphanage
      The adoptive parents who returned them
      “Come,” my heart says,
“seek his face!”
is almost an ache, a desire too deep for words. The Hebrew text is unclear
whether this is the call of our own heart or the call of God. I imagine that
this prayer is God’s prayer for us, a prayer that we join, a prayer that comes
from the hidden core of who we are, the center of our souls. “Seek his face!”
“One thing I desire.”
Downside and the Upside (v10), in terms
of our experience:
my father and mother forsake me,
LORD will take me up.
translations are more emphatic with the first clause. Rather than representing
a remote possibility, “If my father and mother forsake me,” they translate it
with “though my father and mother” or “when my father and mother forsake me.”
Or they take it a step further, “For my father and mother have forsaken me.”
Given the vivid and visceral nature of Hebrew as a language, given the grammar
of the text, and given the decisive contrast, I prefer that reading: “For my
father and mother have forsaken me.” That’s some downside.
      The upside is “the LORD will take me up”.
The literal meaning of the verb is to “gather” or “collect,” and particularly
to gather into a larger company or group. I prefer the translations “the LORD
will take me in,” when joined with the recognition that we are not the only one
God takes in. All kinds of castoffs and misfits and rejects and orphans are
welcomed into the house and family of God.
The Bird Box,
post-apocalyptic thriller starring Sandra Bullock
      Seeking desperately for a home, finally
taken in
      Instability of home
            Not post-apocalyptic!
            Not unloved or unwelcome
      Found a refuge in Scripture and in God
      Evaluation by Jim Griffith: “I never had a
·       For
every Muslim immigrant to New Zealand, forced to leave home to avoid violence,
only to perish at the hands of religious hatred
·       For
every gay young person kicked out of their home by parents that can’t figure
out how to love them
·       For
every veteran who came home from war in one piece, but whose mind and soul are
unalterably scarred
·       For
every abused child, for every abused romantic partner
·       For
every young person subject to bullying in the school yard or the classroom
·       For
everyone longing desperately for home
have these words:
father and mother have forsaken me;
the LORD will take me in.
that promise your “one thing.” Make that ache your prayer. If you seek God’s
face, you will find it, and you will find yourself home.