Every year there is a distinct period of time when I realize the High Holy Days are approaching. Why? Because spiritual warfare begins ferociously. Whether it is personal issues being brought to the surface, kids getting sick, work problems, synagogue craziness or all of the above…the heavenly storms begin to brew. It is no wonder that the month of Elul is a time to press into God and seek His face for direction, focus, and cleansing. As Heather mentioned in last week’s blog, there is a tradition of reading Psalm 27 twice a day. This is one of my very favorite psalms in general, but I looked at it with fresh, yet weary eyes the other day and saw some things that either I hadn’t seen before or wasn’t meant to fully understand until now. But before I get into that, let’s talk about the psalm in general.
The thing that is so refreshing and cathartic about the psalms is that they are beautifully, painfully human. Praising God, crying out to him, being angry with enemies or with oneself, begging for forgiveness…it’s all there and it’s all US. Psalm 27 is no different. It begins with the memorable verse, “The Lord is my light and salvation, so why should I be afraid?”* It ends with almost a ‘moral of the story,’ saying “wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.”*
So what is Psalm 27 telling us? If this psalm is so human, how do we find ourselves in it?
Psalm 27 isn’t just a nice and encouraging scripture; it is speaking faith against all odds, light against a backdrop of darkness, hope into the vast expanse of hopelessness. Living the life of a Believer is a hard road, and it can leave many of us feeling like we’ve gone from the frying pan to the fire. However, God is our only Light in the darkness…and even when we’re surrounded by whatever enemy (insert current battle here) may be pursuing you, He is faithful and will bring you deliverance.
But it doesn’t always feel like it, does it? It feels like sometimes, that deliverance is very far away.
As I read through this psalm, I couldn’t help but imagine that moment that we have all seen in movies. That moment when the battle is at its worst point, the enemy has the high ground, the men and women we are rooting for have little to no strength and even less morale. We all know that moment because that is the moment that the tides change. That is the moment when mere men are made into heroes. That is the moment when faith becomes more important than circumstance. THIS concept is what grabbed me as if I had never read it before. I have read this psalm and sung it in songs since I can remember, and yet here in this place and time I could see with clearer vision what this psalm meant for me, and perhaps for you.
Psalm 27 is telling us that God is coming to your rescue because He is faithful to His promises. God is coming to your rescue because He values your life.
God has already promised to do his part. He will either defeat your enemies, or strengthen you to endure the battle. Our part is to wait on Him for what He will tell us to do. “Wait patiently for the Lord.”* All of this psalm, from hiding in His sanctuary to seeing His goodness in the land of the living comes through having faith in waiting on HIM. Waiting on God’s answer to a prayer is one of the most important things we can do because it is in this agonizing time of stillness that we are refined and made into stronger, better versions of ourselves.
Waiting on the Lord is a wilderness in and of itself. We are often confronted with our fears and battle without and within. Not because God is unkind, but rather because He loves us enough to allow that holy fire to burn up what cannot cross over to the other side. That is why we must be “brave and courageous”* while waiting. We are valuable in His eyes, and He will not abandon His precious ones in battle, for the battle is His. We are only meant to take into deliverance what has been refined and what is glorifying to the Lord. So in that waiting, we must surrender to Him and let Him work His wonders in and for us.
If you are in a place where you are waiting for an answer from the Lord, deliverance from a situation, salvation for a loved one, or just praying through the month of Elul and waiting on God to speak to your heart, be strong and courageous. The warfare might be raging in your life as Rosh HaShanah approaches, but the Lord is your light and He will keep you safe in the midst of battle. The night is always darkest just before the dawn. The deliverance comes when it is too late for man, so that only God can do it. Keep on waiting for the Lord and He will, every time, prove Himself to faithful.
Brooke Manolis has been heavily involved in the Messianic Movement through youth ministry and worship for about 15 years. She is a worship leader alongside her husband at Keren Ohr Messianic Synagogue in Savannah, GA. She is also on the leadership team of Meuchad: Messianic Worshipers United, a new ministry building up the Messianic Jewish worship community. She is an avid reader (or was in a past life, because parenthood) and has a coffee habit that would put the Gilmore girls to shame. She and Toby are happily and crazily on the adventure of raising their two children, Yosi (3 years) and Chesed (8 months).