Psalm 27 - Shelter In The Lord And Fear Not

How would you finish this sentence, "The Lord is my ..."? In Psalm 27 David begins the psalm with those exact words and he answers it in just four words. He says, "The Lord is my light and my salvation." This is the only time that David uses such an expression to describe his relationship with the Lord. For David, the Lord is his light and his salvation.

I can still remember a night out on a lake in Missouri. There were four of us out in a small boat in some back area cove. The problem was that the water was low that year and our boat had become lodged onto the top of an old tree that was under the water. When we would try to accelerate the boat to get off we would just spin in circles. Now the four of us in the boat was my step-mom, and two of my cousins. I was the only boy in the boat. I am not sure just how long we were stuck on top of that tree but I know that it was a long time and it was getting dark. Perhaps out of desperation and a bit of panic my step-mom told me that I should get out into the water and without my weight in the boat they could get off.

To be honest, that thought horrified me. It was dark, the water looked scary and just a bit earlier we had seen a snake in the water. Within moments I saw that all three of them were nodding in agreement that this was a good idea and they thought that it just might work. I really did not want to get into the water and I was willing to fight anyone that tried to throw me in if it were to come to that.

About the time that panic really started to set in we saw a boat in the distance coming towards us. What a relief. For the moment there was no more discussion of throwing me in to lighten the load. As that boat came closer you could make out the running lights on the front of the boat. I still remember the green and white lights that lit up the night sky.

After a while the boat made it closer and I heard the voice of my dad calling out over the noise of the motor asking us if we were all OK. He pulled the boat up next to ours and then tried to find out what the problem was. I will admit that it was at this moment that I let my dad know that the biggest problem we had encountered was that they had intended to put me out of the boat into the creepy water below.

My dad had us all climb into his boat and then he got into the one we had been in. He pushed us off and told us to get at a safe distance. He accelerated that little boat up and he began to spin in circles but then he eventually popped off of the old tree. Then we boated back to our campsite together and I was never more happy to tie a boat off at the dock as I was that night.

It has been thirty-five years since that happened and yet I remember that night as if it were yesterday. If someone were to ask me what I remember best about my dad I would imagine that this would be one of the top three stories that might come to my mind. I would remember that night when the small lights on that boat pierced through the darkness and my dad came in that boat to save us.

For David, the Lord had come to save him over and over again. And so, when David set out to describe the relationship that he had with the Lord, he said, "He is my light and my salvation". What a beautiful way to describe someones relationship with the Lord. Before the Lord came into my life there was darkness; but now there is light. Before the Lord rescued me there was confusion; but now there is light. Before the Lord showed up there was nothing but fear; but now there is light. The Lord had saved David in such a way that now he simply says twice in verse one, "Of whom shall I be afraid?" and "Whom shall I fear?" And in verse three David can think of the worst scenario in his life and still say, "My heart shall not fear" and "Yet I will be confident".

Oh, to have such trust in the Lord that I could have such a confidence in the Lord. Oh, how I would like to be so trusting of the Lord that fear would be vanquished and exiled from my heart! Listen again to what David says in verse one.

The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?

"The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?"

So what does it mean that the Lord was the light for David? Well, in one sense he answers it in verse two. He does this by contrasting the light he walks in with the darkness that his enemies walk in. As a result, David is able to worship and to be exalted far above his enemies (v.5-6); but his enemies stumble and fall in the darkness (v.2).

Now let us look at the second part of verse one. It says, "The Lord is the stronghold of my life". It seems that most of this psalm is about how David experienced the Lord as the stronghold of his life. So the first part of verse one has to do with the Lord being David's light and his salvation and the second part has to do with how David made the Lord his shelter. So the majority of this psalm is about how David made the Lord his stronghold. In fact, he will give us quite a few examples as to how we can do this too.

The first thing that David does is to give us an insight into his enemy. I am glad that he does this because David's enemy is larger than most of the enemies that you and I will face. It is also interesting to note that whenever David speaks of his enemies it is always in the plural. His enemy is not just the neighborhood bully but rather it is evildoers, adversaries and foes. I see in this the fact that there is appropriate grace in all of this for you and I as well. No enemy is too big. No situation is too large for the Lord to handle and to allow us to be confident in the midst of it. In fact, even if a war breaks out David says that he will be confident and will not fear.

Then David says that there is only one thing that he would ask of the Lord. He says that he will ask of the Lord and seek to dwell in the house of the Lord all of the days of his life. David, having been saved and had the Lord dispel the darkness now longs to be in the house of the Lord each and every day. He wants to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in His temple. May this be the one thing that my heart would ask too.

Then in the second half of this psalm David begins to show us what he requested of the Lord so that he could shelter in Him. These are all things that you and I can do as well. The first thing that we are to do is to cry aloud to the Lord. And David's desire is that the Lord would hear his prayer. We are a needy people. And long after we are saved we will continue to cry out to the Lord each and every day.

The second thing he asks of the Lord is that He would be gracious to Him and that the Lord would answer his prayer. Salvation is of grace and our blessings are all of grace too. We don't deserve mercy but God is gracious to bestow it.

The third thing that David displays is a desire to be obedient to the Lord and to scripture. He says, "Y