“The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27: 1)
Psalm 27 is one of over 70 psalms written by King David. It is among the many psalms that reflect David’s struggles and unwavering faith in God. It is not known for certain when the psalm was written. But many Jewish expositors believe that David wrote it in his last days after he was saved from death by the intervention of Abishai (II Sam 21: 15-17).
It is evident from the psalm that David had his moments of anxiety and fear. But God had, on each occasion, graciously delivered him. He began this psalm by expressing his confidence in God and his triumph over fear. More than anyone else, David had experienced dangerous situations when he feared for his life. Pursued relentlessly by King Saul who sought his life, he had to flee from one place to another. He remained an outlaw till the death of Saul. He was constantly at war with the enemy nations around him. When his son, Absalom revolted against him in his old age, Ahithophel his counsellor and one of his closest friends, defected to his son’s camp (II Sam 15: 12; Ps 55: 12-14). David then had to flee for his life: “And David said unto all his servants that were with him at Jerusalem, Arise, and let us flee; for we shall not else escape from Absalom: make speed to depart, lest he overtake us suddenly, and bring evil upon us, and smite the city with the edge of the sword” (II Sam 15: 14).
“The LORD is my light and my salvation”
Despite the turmoil in his life, the psalmist felt safe when he rested in God’s providential care. In verse 1, he confidently proclaimed: “The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?”.
Our Lord Jesus Christ is the Light of the world: “That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world” (Jn 1: 9). He came into the world to dispel the darkness of sin and to direct sinners to Himself through the Gospel. This same Hebrew word is used in Psalm 36: 9: “For with thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light.” Before our conversion, we “were dead in our trespasses and sins” (Eph 2: 1). But, by grace, God quickened us by shedding light upon our darkened souls and causing us to know our lost estate and our need for Christ as our Saviour: “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (II Cor 4: 6 cf Eph 2: 1-9).
Now that we know the Lord, God’s Word “is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” to show us our sinful ways, our duties as Christians, and to lead us “in the way everlasting” (Ps 119: 105; 139: 24).
“The LORD is my light and my salvation.” Will not our Lord Who has saved our souls, deliver us from all earthly woes and dangers? Whom shall we fear? “Those who have God for their Saviour, Protector, and Guide, have no reason to fear, but may walk through life and through the valley of the shadow of death unmoved by the enemies and dangers that may surround them” (Family Bible Notes).
While it is true that earthly fears are real and may often trouble us, they are but lesser fears. We may lose our jobs or face failures and disappointments in life. But all these threats are as nothing in the light of the great salvation God has wrought for us. As God’s redeemed, our souls are eternally secure. Certainly, He Who has saved us from the terrors of His wrath and eternal fires of hell will deliver us. What then shall we fear? Nothing. This truth is reiterated in Matthew 10: 28: “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”
“The LORD is the strength of my life”
The psalmist declared that it was the Lord Who had kept and preserved him. On his own, he would have been easily overwhelmed by life’s sorrows and trials. But as long as the Lord was his Strength and Defender, there was nothing to fear. The Lord had shown Himself superior to the power of his enemies; he was fully assured that he could safely trust in God to deliver him even from the greatest dangers: “When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell. Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident. Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident” (vv 2-3).
Like the psalmist, we all have our fears. What are some of these fears? Fear of the unknown especially in these perilous times; fear of losing our health, our loved ones, our jobs, our security; fear of failure; fear of death. But we thank God that we are not alone in our struggles. The Lord Who is our Light and Salvation, will see us through our difficulties, and guide us in the path of righteousness. He Who is the Strength of our life, will defend us and keep us safe. Brethren, when faced with life’s perplexities and sorrows, let us fully trust in our God. Then can we declare triumphantly with the psalmist: “The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” Amen.