Songs from the Heart – Psalm 27:1

Here’s part of a chapter in a new study/devotional book I’m writing on selected Psalms entitled Songs from the Heart. Hope to have it out by late May, 2014. Be blessed.

 Psalm 27:1 “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the defense of my life; whom shall I dread?”

 Have you ever really been afraid? It’s one thing to experience the childhood fear of monsters, but how do you overcome adult fears? Even as adults, some of our fears are totally unjustified, but there are some adversaries out there who are real and formidable. You may struggle with the fear of looming financial disaster or irreversible, terminal illness. It is possible that the uncertainties of the future have created great concern in your life, and your fear is really not for yourself but for what could happen to your children. Your fear could even be a ridiculous phobia – that is ridiculous to others but very real to you. What do you do with debilitating fear? David faced this kind of enemy, and conquered it with the Lord’s help. In the opening verse of this Psalm, he made three declarations that give us a clue as to how David dealt with potential fear: “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the defense of my life; whom shall I dread?” This declaration is key to how David dealt with fear in his life, so let’s consider each statement individually.

The Lord is my light.”  You could take this statement literally simply because God gives evidence to His physical radiance in a variety of places in the Bible (consider the Shekinah glory in the Old Testament and the pillar of fire for the Children of Israel in the wilderness). Deuteronomy 4:24 actually calls God a “consuming fire.” Jesus even said, “I am the light of the world” (see John 8:12). Though we could take this description literally, I believe that David is speaking figuratively. He could have been referring to God as being a guide to his life. In Psalm 119:105, God’s word is seen as a “lamp” to our feet and a “light” to our path. David could have been referring to times of potential darkness in which he had lived in the past. It could have been the darkness of despair and depression or the darkness of sin, but in the midst of these times, God always came forth to illumine his way. So, the light may have been beams of hope or rays of encouragement. It is also possible that the Lord acted as light in David’s life by illuminating sin during times of rebellion. Nathan, the prophet, came to David after David had committed sin with Bathsheba and actually insured the death of her husband. God used the prophet to confront the king and to call him to repentance. There is nothing quite as chilling as Nathan’s words “You are the man! Thus says the Lord God of Israel” (see 2 Samuel 12). All of these thoughts are true, and maybe David had one particular application in mind. The fact, however, is that God is a light to us.

The Lord is also our “salvation.” It is easy to imagine David’s train of thought with this declaration. As he wrote these words, he could have thought back to his short, but very impactful, battle with the giant, Goliath, in the Valley of Elah. It is possible he was thinking of the times God delivered him from the bear or the lion, or maybe he was thinking of his narrow escape from King Saul. Regardless of the circumstances, David had been in serious trouble at various points in his life, and God had saved him from impending doom. To say that “the Lord is my salvation” indicates that we stand in need of a Savior. I think it is significant the Psalmist didn’t just say that God gives salvation but rather God is salvation. Saving is as much a part of His nature as creating or loving. God is your salvation because you need saving. God is your salvation because there is no other means by which you can be saved (see Acts 4:12).

Time Change

I hate losing things, and I especially hate losing an hour. Daylight savings time is about to hit us again, and we are all about to have to go through the struggle of giving up an hour. True, we’ll get it back on November 2, but in the meantime, Sunday, March 9, could be a bummer. How many people will get their hour back by sleeping in and skipping church? How many people will physically attend church but mentally check out during the sermon because they are too tired to really engage? How many people across America will glibly go through the motions of worship but actually not really be present because they would rather be taking a nap? Okay, so maybe I’m approaching this thing like a preacher. I can’t help it. I’ve got something really important to share on Sunday, and the potential for disconnect is even greater than normal because we all lose an hour the night before.

 

When I think about it, this hour of worship on Sunday, March 9, is not the only important hour of our lives. The truth is, we lose hours all the time. We may be present at an event, but we’re really not present. We disconnect as a habit and miss the golden opportunities God gives us for life-change and ministry. We may cheat on a night’s sleep, and when we really need to be alert and engaged, our brains have checked out. Maybe this transition to Daylight Savings Time needs to be a not so subtle reminder that we have to choose to engage with our mission and purpose every day of our lives. If we do not make this conscious choice, we may be present but not really there. We might be present at a spiritual encounter with God but not really there when it comes to realizing this is a Kingdom moment. We might be present at a divine appointment but miss it because our spirits were not engaged in the moment, and we therefore miss the opportunity to impact a life for eternity.

 

These thoughts underscore that every day is important. Losing an hour this Sunday makes me even more aware of how important every Sunday is, and for that matter, it underscores the importance of every day. Our motto should be: “Wherever you are, be there.” Maybe we should spend some time reflecting on Psalm 90:12 as we prepare for time change Sunday: “So teach us to number our days, that we may present to You a heart of wisdom.”