Psalm 27: The Lord, My Light, My Salvation and the Strength of Life
We would like to know which period of David’s life is responsible for this Psalm, but like many of his Psalms it is difficult to tell. David focuses on his thoughts and relationship with God. What is interesting is that we see two closely related moods yet opposing one another. Do you find that you often feel great confidence in the Lord and then almost immediately some difficult situation springs up and you swing to being anxious and concerned right after expressing your confidence in the Lord? I certainly have and that is part of being weak. At those times we can be taught by David. This is one reason we “are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb. 12:1-2). Perhaps the question we should ask at this point is: “Are we using the witnesses of those who have gone through the same problems we go through and are following their example of being faithful?
Looking at David’s confidence we see that the Lord brought three things into his life:
- David speaks of God as his light (I Tim. 6:16) Paul spoke of God living in unapproachable light. Light has an extraordinarily rich meaning throughout the Old Testament as well as the New Testament. In Psalms 104 the writer described God as being covered with light as a garment. John describes Jesus as “The light.” “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it” (John 1:4-5). We are called to walk in the light just as He is the light.
- His salvation. The Hebrew word for salvation means “deliverance” and this probably refers to the Lord’s deliverance from his enemies. If you notice Psalm 28:8 you will find it used in this sense: “The Lord is their strength,
and He is the saving refuge of His anointed.”
- The strength or stronghold of my life. The psalmist said, God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. (Psalm 46:1; Psa. 61:3; 2 Sam. 22:3). David was a skilled, experienced warrior and must have been a man of impressive physical strength. Nevertheless, he looked to the LORD as the strength of his life.
Maclaren said, “The very names of Jehovah as ‘Light,’ ‘Salvation,’ ‘the Stronghold of my life,’” imply darkness, danger, and besetting foes.” Yet, David said, “Of whom shall I be afraid? 2 When the wicked came against me to eat up my flesh, my enemies and foes, They stumbled and fell.3 Though an army may encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; Though war may rise against me, in this I will be confident.
David then expressed his great desire: “One thing I have desired of the Lord, that will I seek: That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in His temple.” The terms house and Temple are metaphors for living close to God. This reminds us of Psalm 23 which ends with David dwelling “in the house of the Lord forever.” Should this not be our desire also?
David’s prayer begins in verse 7 and continues to the close of the Psalm asking God to continue His providential care of him.
First, David asked God to hear and answer his prayer and then in vv. 8, 9 that God would not t hide His face, that is turn away from him. He probably had Deut. 4:29 in mind when God said, “But from there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul.” David continued to ask God not to forsake him. David then declared that even if his parents forsook him, he would always be God’s child and that he would be dependent on the Lord. In his hour of fear, David once again spoke in faith, declaring God’s faithfulness (cp. Deut. 20:1; Josh. 1:9).
Second, David refused to accept the possibility that God would forsake him. “I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord In the land of the living. In Romans 8 Paul captures the essence of Psalm 27 in his declaration, “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? 33 Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?.... Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:31-39).
Third, with his own faith renewed he can now invite Israel to join him in waiting "on" or "for" the Lord (v. 14). Confident that God hears and answers, David exhorts Israel and us to wait for the Lord with "good courage / And He shall strengthen your heart." We must remember that the Lord does not always answer our prayers when we expect Him too. Therefore, we need to wait on Him because God’s timing is not always based on our timing. As we wait on Him, we will commune with Him and grow to trust Him even more. David's single-minded goal demands single-minded means.
Do we have sufficient faith to wait on the Lord?