3 Though an army encamp against me,
my heart shall not fear;
though war arise against me,
yet I will be confident.
4 One thing have I asked of the Lord,
that will I seek after:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord
and to inquire in his temple.
Where does David get the confidence that will allow him to stand before an enemy army without fear? Is it foolish self-confidence? Is it unfounded? Is he giving into an Old Testament version of prosperity preaching?
I think that David’s ability to speak the confidence that we see in verses 3-4 is found in his perspective in verse 5. David believes that God will care for him and make things work out OK. This is not because David thinks that every season of his life will be easy. But, David is confident in the ultimate desire of his heart. David desires to dwell with the Lord forever. He desires to be in the presence of God ultimately. He has, to put it simply, an eternal perspective.
Truly, the sort of confidence that David displays in verses 3 and 4 was easier for me to have early in my Christian journey. True, that confidence was mostly uninformed, but still, I had it. I just knew that anything I tried for the Lord would be met with rousing success. I believed that I could pray about which sidewalk to walk down, and if I listened well, God would lead me to a person who needed to hear the gospel. I believed that a simple preaching of the word would radically sweep over all who heard it in such a way that churches I was in would grow and grow and grow, and do all that growing with passion and joy. I never counted on hardships or failings. I did not understand, at that point, how God would work as much in my failings and weaknesses as in the strengths he had given me.
But the truth is, though my eagerness to expect instant success may not be as strong, there is a sense in which I can live with a greater confidence. I am confident that, in the end, God will work all things for his glory. Whether through my success or my failure in projects on earth, God will be magnified. His kingdom will come. His will shall be done. He will save souls. He will grow churches. He will allow some churches not to grow. He will give health. He will be glorified as we walk through sickness. He will be magnified in his perfections. He will ultimately win. And I will be allowed to be a part of that victory, not because of my great contributions, but because of Jesus and the grace that God has given me through him.
Lord, I ask for the confidence that I see David have in this psalm. I ask for that confidence, not in a foolish, self-confident, rose-colored-glasses sort of way. Rather, I ask for the kind of confidence that you gave David because of his knowledge of your power and his deep desire to see you in your glory. I want to see your glory. I need the eternal perspective that David displayed. I ask that you help me remember that you will be ultimately victorious, that your kingdom will come, and that you will build your church for your glory. I desire to be a part of that victory, not because I think I’m anything anymore, but because I simply long to experience your glory—which is why you made me in the first place. Through the strengths you have given me or the weaknesses I have brought to the table, please shape my life for your honor.