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).