The Ups and Down of Life

Psalm 27

An EasyEnglish Translation with Notes (about 1200 word vocabulary) on Psalm 27

Gordon Churchyard

Words in boxes are from the Bible. Words in brackets, ( ), are not in the Hebrew Bible.


Jesus said, "I am the light of the world. People that follow me will not walk in the dark. They will have the light of life". (John 8:12.) John was a friend of Jesus.

Psalm 27

  (This is) a psalm of David.

v1   The LORD is my light and he makes me safe.
  Who will make me afraid?
  The LORD is my hiding place.
  So, who will make me afraid?

v2   Bad men came near me.
  They wanted to eat my body.
  But it was my enemies,
  the people that fought me,
  that tripped and fell.

v3   If an army uses arms against me,
  my heart will not be afraid.
  Even if they fight against me,
  I will be sure (of God's help).

v4   I have asked the LORD for only one thing.
  This is what I want:
  I want to live in the LORD's house all the days of my life.
  Then I will see that the LORD is beautiful.
  I will look for him in his palace.

v5   He will keep me safe in his house in the day of trouble.
  He will hide me in the hiding place that is his tent.
  He will lift me up on a rock.

v6   He will raise up my head above my enemies all round me.
  I will give him gifts in his tent.
  I will sing and I will make music to the LORD.

v7   LORD, hear my voice. I am praying.
  Be kind to me and answer me.

v8   My heart says, "Look for (God's) face".
  I will look for your face, LORD.

v9   Do not hide your face from me.
  Do not be angry and turn away from your servant.
  You gave me help (in the past).
  Do not put me out and forget me (now).
  You are my God and you make me safe.

v10   If my father and my mother forget me,
  the LORD will care for me.

v11   LORD, teach me your way.
  Lead me in a straight path, because of my enemies.

v12   Do not give me to my enemies.
  They will do what they like with me.
  People are saying things that are not true about me.
  Others are saying that they want to hurt me.

v13   (What would happen) if I had not believed
  to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living?

v14   Wait for the LORD. Be strong.
  Make your heart become brave.
  Again, wait for the LORD.

New Words

( ) ~ these words are not in the Hebrew Bible

LORD ~ a special word for God; only his people use it

tripped ~ nearly fell over

palace ~ the home of a king

tent ~ a small house made of animal skins

The Story of Psalm 27

We do not know when David wrote Psalm 27. Some Christians believe that he wrote it in 2 parts. He wrote verses 1 - 6 when life was good. God was answering all his prayers. Perhaps it was after he had killed Goliath. (See Psalm 27:2 below). He wrote verses 7-12 when life was difficult He thought that God was hiding from him. Perhaps it was when Saul was fighting him. (See Psalm 27:12 below). He wrote verses 13-14 when he put the 2 parts together. Other Christians believe that David wrote it all at the same time. In the past God had been good to him. Why was God not good to him now? He would still believe in God and wait for his help. In Psalm 27 we learn that for David life had its ups and downs. The ups were the good times. The downs were the difficult times. This happens to us also. When life is difficult we must remember the good times. When we think that God has forgotten us, we must remember the times when he did not forget us. We must be like David in Psalm 27:14. We must wait for the Lord. One day he will give us help. If we believe this, it will make us strong.

What Psalm 27 means

Verse 1 3: "The Lord is my light" means many things. One is that he shows us what to do in life. "The LORD is my hiding place" means that when trouble comes the LORD will be with us in it. He will give us help to live through it, he will not leave us by ourselves. Verse 2 says that David thought that bad men (like animals) wanted to eat him. But these bad men fell down and they did not hurt David. Perhaps David remembered Goliath. Goliath said that he would feed David's body to the wild animals and birds. But David killed Goliath. David believed that because God gave him help in the past he will in the future. The same is true for us. Every time God gives us help we are more sure that he will give us help in the future.

Verse 4 6: Here are 4 words for where the LORD lives: house, palace, hiding place and tent. They are not 4 different places. They all describe where God is. For David it was either the tent with the ark in it, or heaven. The ark was where the Jews kept special things that made them think of God. Heaven is where God lives. If we are Christians then God lives in us. We are the house of God.

Verse 7 9: Here the psalm changes. In verses 1-6 life was good for David. Now life is difficult. David thinks that God has forgotten him. David prays to God, "Answer me". He thinks that he hears a voice inside him that says, "Look for my face". So David continues to pray. He says, "You gave me help in the past ~ do not forget me now".

Verses 10 12: Verse 10 tells us that David is sure that God will answer him one day. Even if his parents forget him, God will never forget him. In verses 11-12 David tells us that he has many enemies that want to hurt him. Some, as Cush in Psalm 7, tell lies about him. Lies are words that are not true. So David prays for a straight path. This means one that is safe.

Verses 13 14: This starts with something very strange. Verse 13 has no beginning. In Hebrew it is " . . . . . if I had not believed to see the goodness the LORD is in the land of the living". This is not a mistake, as some people think. It means that everyone that reads the psalm can put their own words in. What would happen to you if you did not believe in the Lord? But because you do believe in the Lord you are ready to wait for his answers. You may wait a long time, but be brave and strong. One day, God will answer you, if you believe in him.

Something to do

This is how you can show Psalm 27 is one psalm and not two psalms. It is called the "vocabulary test". A vocabulary is a list of words. There are some special words in Psalm 27. Put where they are in the psalm into the list below. Do the special words come in both parts of the psalm?


Special word

Is it in Psalm 27:1-6?

Is it in Psalm 27:7-12?





Look for





2001, Wycliffe Associates (UK)

This publication is written in EasyEnglish Level A (1200 words)

January 2001

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