“So, I’m inviting you to sit down with me in front of Psalm 27. I’m inviting you to keep your eyes focused and your ears tuned. I’m inviting you to open your heart to what you may have been too busy to see. I’m inviting you to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord. And I would imagine that if you are willing to do that…somehow, someway, you’ll get up a changed person.”
– Paul David Tripp, from A Shelter in the Time of Storm, p. 11
I’ve focused quite a bit on studying the Psalms this year and have been looking at books that comment on this great section of Scripture. I recently came across one on Psalm 27 by Paul Tripp called A Shelter in the Time of Storm. I’d seen some excellent reviews on it, and Emily over at A Sacrifice of Praise highly recommended it. In this relatively short book (160 pages), Tripp provides 52 chapters, or meditations, on this Psalm. His meditations alternate between prose and poetry, and each chapter ends with a couple of reflection questions. As Tripp explains, “Each has a different grain, yet each is meant to catch your attention and help you to see.”
One of Tripp’s chapters had an interesting scenario that I think sets the stage for the main theme of his book. He compares our current culture to sitting in a full arena just moments before a concert is about to start. There are voices coming from everywhere, none of them all that distinguishable, but loud anyway and enough to make it difficult for you to hear or think clearly. Tripp suggests that this is what we battle everyday…a culture where everyone seems to be talking at once, and sadly, as he points out, “the vast majority of those voices have not gotten the flowers of their insight from the garden of the Lord.”
It’s this constant din of noise that can make it difficult for us to focus on God. It makes it hard for us to wait on God as well. Tripp asks throughout his book for us to wait on the Lord, as David pleads with us to do at the end of Psalm 27. He also acknowledges how difficult it is for all of us to do this, as we want answers to our problems, requests and concerns now. But Tripp explains why waiting is so critical for us – “Through the wait he is causing me to see and experience new things about him and his kingdom. And all of this sharpens me, enabling me to be a more useful tool in his redemptive hands.”
There are several different sides to Psalm 27, and Tripp highlights them all brilliantly. He continually points us to the hopefulness of this Psalm and the confidence we should have after reading it. The questions at the end of each chapter are particularly probing and challenging. More than a few times I felt like saying, “Come on, you can’t ask me that !” In any case, if you’re looking to camp out in this great Psalm for a while, get a copy of Tripp’s book. You won’t regret it.