“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 was written by David. From the psalm itself it is evident that David was facing great danger from his enemies. Some see a connection between this psalm and Psalm 3, which was written in connection with David’s flight from Absalom. In verse 5 of that psalm David wrote, “I laid me down and slept; I awaked; for the Lord sustained me.” Others suggest that verse 10 of Psalm 27 links the psalm to David bringing his parents to Moab for safe-keeping because of Saul (1 Sam. 22:3–4). They translate verse 10 of this psalm, “For my father and mother have left me; but the Lord will take me up.” Whether or not either of these events was the occasion for this psalm, it is evident from the psalm itself that David was facing great danger from his enemies.
The theme of this psalm is expressed in verse 1, which we consider for this meditation, “The Lord is my light and my salvation.”
Notice that David made a confession here. He confessed that the Lord (Jehovah) was his light and salvation, the strength of his life. It is important to observe what was not David’s light and salvation—his army, alliances with foreign powers, his wealth, or earthly counselors. Jehovah was his light and salvation. Therefore, he was not afraid. Even though an army was encamped against him to eat up his flesh, he was not afraid.
This confession must also be ours as we make our way through a life fraught with essentially the same enemies that David faced.
A terrible darkness!
The fact that David confessed Jehovah to be his light suggests that David faced a situation that was dark and foreboding.
In the Bible darkness is often a figure of distress and danger, whereas light is a figure of deliverance and salvation. For example we read in Micah 7:8, “Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy: when I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord shall be a light unto me.” Notice how falling to one’s enemy is paired with sitting in darkness and arising once more is paired with the Lord being a light.
It was a very dark day for David. In verses 2, 3 of this psalm David speaks of his enemies. From these verses we learn that his enemies were the wicked. There was a host (army) of them that made war with him. They came upon him to eat up his flesh.
Of importance here is that David’s enemies were wicked. In their wickedness they hatred and opposed David for righteousness’ sake as a man after God’s own heart. Interestingly, these enemies most likely belonged to the nation of Israel, the covenant people of God. Here we see again that the church is often dominated by a large reprobate element. And behind them was the prince of darkness. The intent of David’s enemies was to destroy him. They sought to destroy him personally. But they also sought to destroy him as the Lord’s anointed and, by destroying David, to destroy the covenant and the covenant nation.
As David faced these enemies, it was a dark day. His enemies were far superior in strength and resources. It appeared that David’s life was over and the cause of the covenant destroyed.
The darkness that descended on David’s life often descends on our lives as well.
We face the same spiritual enemies as did David. The Devil walks about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour (1 Pet. 5:8). He hates the living God. He hates Jesus Christ, the Lord’s anointed. And he hates us as the people of God’s covenant.
His desire is to destroy us spiritually. He would destroy our faith, rob us of our salvation, and bring us under his own control again. His ultimate goal is to destroy the cause and covenant of Jehovah, even if it means killing the people of God.
Satan attacks us without ceasing. Sometimes he does that directly with tragedy as he did to Job, so that hopefully we curse God and die. But more often he attacks us through the world of the ungodly that is under his control and in his service. These attacks come in the form of the alluring temptations of sin’s pleasures, false doctrine, and persecution.
This brings many dark hours to our lives. There are times when we are on the point of being overwhelmed with temptation and sin. There are times when the church is troubled with controversy. There are times of persecution. There are times of sickness, loss, or tragedy that the devil uses to bring us to the point of despair because it appears as though God has forgotten us and there is no hope.
A saving light!
In the dark hour David found himself to be in, he confessed that the Lord (Jehovah) was his light and salvation, the strength of his life.
Jehovah is God’s covenant name. His covenant is an intimate relationship of friendship and fellowship that He establishes and maintains with His elect people in Jesus Christ and in which He lives and dwells with His people in blessing. The name “Jehovah” emphasizes His faithfulness to that covenant. David knew Jehovah as his God and he belonged to Jehovah’s covenant. It is this covenant relationship that the powers of darkness ultimately seek to destroy as they attack the people of God.
David acknowledges Jehovah to be his light and salvation. In keeping with the figure of darkness and light, light is further defined by David here as salvation or deliverance. David confessed that in the time of darkness and trouble Jehovah was his light and salvation.
This is further explained in that Jehovah was the strength of his life. Jehovah was David’s light and salvation exactly because He was the strength of David’s life. Jehovah was the strength of David’s life, the one who strengthened David in every situation of life, so that he could do battle with his enemies and overcome them. This was true repeatedly in his battle with the Philistines and other nations. This was also true in his battle with Absalom. By strengthening David against his enemies, Jehovah was David’s light and salvation in the darkest hours of his life.
Jehovah is also our light and salvation, the strength of our life.
He is this because He first is the light and salvation of Jesus Christ.
We must see David as the type or picture of Jesus Christ. David was the Lord’s anointed, appointed by God to be king and thus the defender of Israel and the covenant. As such he was a picture or type of the Lord’s Anointed, appointed by Jehovah to be the Defender and Savior of the church of all ages. To accomplish our salvation Jesus Christ was subjected to the darkest of hours. He was required to bear all the punishment for the elect of God, and do so in one short lifetime, especially on the cross. This alone would defeat the devil by destroying the legal hold he has on the church from the time of the fall of man. Even though Jesus is the Son of God in our flesh, the cross was a terribly dark hour that He faced all His life long.
But Jehovah was His light and salvation, the strength of His life. Jehovah repeatedly strengthened Jesus as the dark hour of the cross approached. He did so with expressions of approval from heaven during the course of Jesus’ ministry—“This is my beloved Son in Whom I am well pleased!” He did so at the Mount of Transfiguration, when He gave Jesus a foretaste of the glory that awaited Him. He did so also in the Garden of Gethsemane with the presence of the angel. And during the darkness of the cross, Jehovah strengthened Jesus, even though Jesus for a short time lost sight of that help.
It is in Jesus Christ that Jehovah is our light and salvation, the strength of our life. Through Jesus Christ Jehovah strengthens us as we face the onslaughts of the Devil so that we can overcome him and emerge victorious. He does so by His word and Spirit that lead us to prayers of faith. This is true when we are tempted, when we are overwhelmed with adversity, and when we are persecuted. Through the word preached and brought to us by our fellow saints, we are instructed in the reality of each situation and sent to Jesus by the prayers of faith to be strengthened. Remember, we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us (Phil. 4:13).
A wonderful confidence!
Because Jehovah was his light and salvation, David was without fear in the darkest of hours. He asked rhetorically, “Whom shall I fear? of whom shall I be afraid?” By his rhetorical questions David expressed that he was not afraid and did not tremble before any of his enemies. He is not afraid of Saul, of Absalom, or of any king. And he is not afraid of the prince of darkness himself. He is not afraid, even though from a human point of view defeat looks sure and all appears lost.
Stated positively, David had absolute confidence of victory in the face of all his enemies.
David had this confidence only because Jehovah was his light and salvation. David had come to know Jehovah as his God, the one only light and salvation in the dark hours of life. In that faith David turned to Jehovah as his light and salvation. He looked to Jehovah in prayer as the strength of his life. The result was that David faced his enemies in the confidence of victory and without fear.
The same must be true for us. We must by faith know Jehovah as our light and salvation. In the dark hours of life we by that faith turn to Jehovah, our covenant God, as the strength of our life. He will certainly strengthen us in Jesus Christ to fight fearlessly the many spiritual battles of life. In Jesus Christ we will fight victoriously, confidently, and without fear!