Day 29: Monday, 8 April
The Lord Is My Light and My Salvation
1 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?
2 When evildoers assail me
to eat up my flesh,
my adversaries and foes,
it is they who stumble and fall.
3 Though an army encamp against me,
my heart shall not fear;
though war arise against me,
yet I will be confident.
4 One thing have I asked of the Lord,
that will I seek after:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord
and to inquire in his temple.
5 For he will hide me in his shelter
in the day of trouble;
he will conceal me under the cover of his tent;
he will lift me high upon a rock.
6 And now my head shall be lifted up
above my enemies all around me,
and I will offer in his tent
sacrifices with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make melody to the Lord.
7 Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud;
be gracious to me and answer me!
8 You have said, “Seek my face.”
My heart says to you,
“Your face, Lord, do I seek.”
9 Hide not your face from me.
Turn not your servant away in anger,
O you who have been my help.
Cast me not off; forsake me not,
O God of my salvation!
10 For my father and my mother have forsaken me,
but the Lord will take me in.
11 Teach me your way, O Lord,
and lead me on a level path
because of my enemies.
12 Give me not up to the will of my adversaries;
for false witnesses have risen against me,
and they breathe out violence.
13 I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living!
14 Wait for the Lord;
be strong, and let your heart take courage;
wait for the Lord!
I can’t place my finger on what it is about this psalm that I love so much. It may be a mixture of the way the psalmist describes God’s protection over him (and therefore, me) and his (my) desire to remain, to rest, to stay in God’s presence.
David was not a priest (his sons are oddly listed as priests) and it was his son Solomon who built the Temple, but David still knew about the close presence of God. He had the Ark of the Covenant, one of the most holy objects from the Tent of Meeting, moved to Jerusalem. The Ark was a central artefact as it contained objects significant to the Jewish faith and it was over the Ark that the presence of God had been revealed to the High Priests of old in the Tent of Meeting. God did not always speak directly with David – God’s plans were more often revealed to prophets who then had the task of relaying the good or bad news to the king.
All the same, David could draw on his experience of God’s present protection from foes without and within and his past support for David in battle. This was enough to bring David before God in worship. It is a gift of God in Christ that I, and you, may dwell in God’s presence. No condemnation now I dread, so Bold I approach th’eternal throne. God calls us to rest in his presence. This must be the desire of our hearts. It is easy to fall into the trap of busy-ness – we so much want to be seen to be busy for God that we take no time to rest in him, and we run on empty. Time for God can quickly become Whatever Time’s left, if any, for God.
It’s not easy to stop and rest. What will I say? What should I do? What words should I use? How do I hear what God’s saying? Am I listening correctly? The simple answer is that if you spend time, the rest will follow on naturally. Holy pauses in your day, grace over a meal, turning the telly off, Face-time with God, all of these help build the relationship.
Pauses for God are not freestanding, separate activities that have no bearing on the rest of your life. They are actually necessary parts of your life that will enhance it. David acknowledges that because he spends time in God’s presence he is shielded and protected against his enemies. There is positive outcome from spending time with God. Take note of, and learn verse 14
How do I seek the Lord’s face? Perhaps by sensing his smile:
The Priestly Blessing
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Tell Aaron and his sons to bless the people of Israel with this special blessing:
‘May the Lord bless you
and protect you.
May the Lord smile on you
and be gracious to you.
May the Lord show you his favour
and give you his peace.’
Whenever Aaron and his sons bless the people of Israel in my name, I myself will bless them.”
If you have not regularly spent time in God’s presence where might you go to do that? What might you need to take with you?
Father God, simply resting in your presence is better than reeling off prayers to you. Bring me home to you as I make the first steps. Amen.
Psalm 27 sung in Hebrew (with subtitles):
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version ® (ESV ®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
The Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.