What is the connection between David’s warlike Psalm 27 and Jesus’s famous prayer in John 17? Quite a lot actually, yet one theme, in particular, stands out for me - both are prayers lifted up to God in times of great stress (David on the battlefield, Jesus on the road to the cross) and yet both reveal close intimacy with God.
You’d think intimacy would just be for times of peace and quiet, with testing circumstances calling for a rallying war-cry. Yet, after describing the ferocious attack he is under, David turns to God: ‘to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord.’ Jesus, after describing to the disciples the death he would soon face, ‘looked towards heaven and prayed … Father glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.’
We see deep intimacy here. David desiring closeness to God; Jesus longing to return to the place of one-ness with God He had known from before Creation. Is there not a sense of transcendence from the restrictions of time into the limitless peace and joy of eternity?
David asks that he can: ‘dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life’; Jesus reveals that He will: ‘give eternal life to all those You have given me. Now this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God.’
The word ‘know’, in the Bible, refers to something far beyond mere head knowledge. It’s meaning can range from sexual intimacy and experiencing his power and suffering, through to understanding what God approves of … and obedience. If you want to do a quick scripture search, check out: Philippians 3:7-11; Jeremiah 9:23-24. And Psalm 46:10 reminds us that to know God requires us to be still before Him.
If we can find a moment of stillness, maybe now’s a good time to get to know God better, so we can hold onto that intimacy for when the going gets tough.