I'm so excited to get to talk about this verse with our guest this month. Jamie Ivy is going to be on later in the month, and she's going to be talking about this verse because it's her life verse. So what an awesome thing to get somebody like Jamie to talk about her life verse with us.
Right now I am just going to help you understand the context of this verse, why we decided to pick this verse, and why it matters. That's what we're talking about today on the podcast.
So our verse for the month is Psalm 27:1. It says this, “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?” It's just such a great verse. It's a verse that helps us understand how we can overcome fear.
The psalmist here is David, and he gives us three different images of who God is to help himself overcome the fear that is threatening to overwhelm him. We're going to go ahead and read through the whole Psalm together first, so that we can kind of understand a little bit more of its context. And then we're going to pick apart those three images that David gives us. The Lord is my light. The Lord is my salvation, and the Lord is the stronghold of my life.
I hope by the time we get to the end of this podcast, you'll understand that the way that we can have our fear become small to us, the way that the things that we are afraid of can really fall into their proper place is by understanding who God is.
And so we have these three really great images of who God is. And when we think about those things, we can look at all the other things and think, “Why am I afraid of that? [00:02:00] Whom shall I fear?”
Okay, so without further ado, let's go ahead and read all of Psalm 27 starting in verse one.
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 the wicked advance against me
to devour[a] me,
it is my enemies and my foes
who will stumble and fall.
Though an army besiege me,
my heart will not fear;
though war break out against me,
even then I will be confident.
One thing I ask from the Lord,
this only do I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to gaze on the beauty of the Lord
and to seek him in his temple.
For in the day of trouble
he will keep me safe in his dwelling;
he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent
and set me high upon a rock.
Then my head will be exalted
above the enemies who surround me;
at his sacred tent I will sacrifice with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make music to the Lord.
Hear my voice when I call, Lord;
be merciful to me and answer me.
My heart says of you, “Seek his face!”
Your face, Lord, I will seek.
Do not hide your face from me,
do not turn your servant away in anger;
you have been my helper.
Do not reject me or forsake me,
God my Savior.
Though my father and mother forsake me,
the Lord will receive me.
Teach me your way, Lord;
lead me in a straight path
because of my oppressors.
Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes,
for false witnesses rise up against me,
spouting malicious accusations.
I remain confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the Lord.
Whew. That's some good stuff in there, guys. I just love that last part. “I remain confident of this. I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” In that last verse, “Wait for the Lord, be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”
This psalm and this verse is a place for us to go with our fear. It's a place for us to go when the darkness feels like too much, when the war wages around us, we can say, like David says, that there's one thing I ask from the Lord. One thing that I seek, that I can dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and seek him in his temple.
He is the right place for us to go when all of the things are just chaos around us. When the fears press in on us and we think, oh my gosh, what am I gonna do? This is David's response. I want to be with God. I want to be in that safe place in his house. And I believe, I am confident that I will dwell with the Lord in the land of the living, and I will see his goodness.
That's David's hope. And so even though the battle rages around him, and we know that David, he was the king. But before that, and even during his kingship, he had real battles. He had Saul chasing after him and trying to bring him down. He was involved in actual physical battles, but he also was involved in real hardship and struggle in spiritual darkness even.
[00:06:00] We see all kinds of things in David's life that would lead us to believe that he knows the very thing that he's speaking about. This isn't just some kind of philosophical Psalm that he's writing. This isn't a song that he hasn't himself sung many times that he is crying out. God, this is all I ask, is to spend time with you, to know you, to dwell in your house.
That brings us to what he says about how he can fight his fear. It's in that verse that we're learning. It says, “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 when everything is chaos, when everything is just utterly difficult around him, David says, these are the three things that I believe about the Lord. He is my light, not just a light, but my light. He is my salvation and he is the stronghold of my life. Like David, we can do the same. We can look to the Lord and say, “God, you are my light. You are my salvation, and you are my stronghold.”
But in order to really claim this for ourselves as people who believe this about God, in order for us to embrace it and really fully understand it, I want to go into a little bit of depth with each of those concepts—those images that David gives us, in order to fight his fear and even to specifically understand and name the things that those particular images fight against.
David was very specific when he chose these three different images. And so we want to understand what it is about God as a light that would help him fight a specific kind of thing that he is afraid of. [00:08:00] What is it about God as his salvation that would help him to overcome a certain kind of fear? And what is it about God as a stronghold, as his stronghold of his life, That would help David to fight a specific kind of fear.
Let's look at each of them in turn. We're first going to look at “The Lord is my light.” David says, you are my light. Well, what does the Bible mean when it uses the word light?
We know that light is something that exposes darkness, right? When the light comes into the room, the darkness flees. In John chapter one verse five, it says that “the light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.” And that's talking about when Jesus comes into the world.
He overcomes every darkness. So this is the fulfillment of this idea of God as light, but light exposes every dark, hidden thing. There is no possible evil that is prowling beyond God's sight. There is no lurking malice that will ever catch God off guard. He knows it all. He sees all, and everything is exposed by his glorious light.
So for David, if he is in a place where there are literal enemies chasing after him, where there is a battle breaking out, he says that his enemies and foes advance against him to devour him. Right? If you think about old time nighttime, we're not talking about the middle of Chicago with all the streetlights. We're talking there is no light pollution at all. And unless there's a really good moon and the stars out, it can be a really dark place at night and there are literally things that we should be afraid of in the dark! David says enemies. He has these enemies who are [00:10:00] on the prowl that they are coming for him, but he also believes that God is light, that God sees all that God exposes, all that God knows all.
And when he enters anywhere, the darkness has to flee. That light is not just a symbol of an exposing of things. It is also a symbol of purity of absolute goodness. And in the presence of God's absolute goodness, his enemies must flee. Darkness and evil must flee. He says in verse two, “It is my enemies and my foes who stumble and fall.”
And then verse three, “Though an army besieged me, my heart will not fear the war breakout against me. Even then, I will be confident.” He is confident that God knows that God sees and that where God, wherever God is, and when he is believing in the God of light, that evil must flee. So that is excellent news for us who so oftentimes find ourselves in the dark, isn't it?
We don't know what's coming next and that can cause us fear. Just like David, we can feel like we are alone by ourselves in the dark and uncertain about the things that are to come. We might get a diagnosis, we might hear terrible news from a friend, whatever it is that we look at, and we look to the future and we think that is an uncertainty, that is an unknown.
We can say to ourselves, “The Lord is my light. And if he is my light, then I'm going to trust that he knows and that he sees, and that ultimately I believe that he cares for me.” And we're gonna see that in the next one, which is that the Lord is my salvation. This has got to be [00:12:00] the thing that most gives David hope that though there is chaos and disorder, he knows that God will rescue him. That anything and everything that threatens him, that overwhelms him, that wants to overtake him and overcome him, his enemies, that he God is not going to leave him, that God will save him and rescue him. In verse 10, he says, “Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me.”
He says, in verse nine, right before that, “Do not hide your face from me. Do not turn your servant away in anger. You have been my helper. Do not reject me or forsake me, God, my savior.” See, David believes that God is going to save him. And even if the closest people in the world to him, his parents, would forsake him, God will not abandon him. God will rescue him.
Not only is God the one who sees all and knows all, but in that seeing and knowing God chooses to rescue and save. And his salvation is as sure as he is, as dependable as God himself, as reliable, as trustworthy as God is, and it is as good as his word.
Because of that, David doesn't have to fear. He does not have to fear that he is going to be forsaken or rejected, but he knows that he is accepted and that salvation is his because God is his salvation and God is always. Who he says he's going to be. He is trustworthy and that salvation is good. So finally we get to [00:14:00] our last point, which is “the Lord is my stronghold.”
The stronghold of my life is how David puts it, and I just love this image of a place where we can go that is safe. A place where we can run and hide that is just so incredibly safe. That is like a shield. It is a strong tower. God is our protector. And whatever battle we find ourselves in, God will defend us. He is the one who's going to uphold our case. He is the one who is going to keep us safe from any hardship, from any enemy.
God is our safe place and so we see that throughout here, and I love how he talks about dwelling in the house of the Lord. That is David's safe place, the Lord himself again.
In verse four, it says, “One thing I ask from the Lord this only do I seek that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple for in the day of trouble. He will keep me safe in his dwelling. He will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock.”
There is safety, there is protection. There is shelter. There is goodness in the house of the Lord. And so just like David, I would encourage you. To run to Jesus, to run to that safety, that place, that good dwelling place of the Lord. To spend time in his word, to spend time just praising him and putting out all of your fears before him. Laying them before God [00:16:00] and saying, “God, I'm afraid that my finances are not gonna be enough this month. Or, Lord, I am afraid about my wayward child and where they're headed. Lord, I feel out of control with this situation. Or Lord, I don't know what's gonna happen next, but we can go to Him and we can say, Lord, you are my light and my salvation. Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life? Of whom shall I be afraid?”
I'm just going to read you a prayer that I wrote. For those of you who are members, you already read this on the back of the card that we sent you to help you memorize this verse. But I just want to pray it with you.
I want you to hear these words over you and pray them with me. Lord, you are my light. You expose every dark and hidden thing. There is no possible evil prowling beyond your sight. No lurking malice ever catches you off guard. You know all you see, all everything is exposed by your marvelous light.
Therefore, I will not fear the darkness for you have overcome it. Lord, you are my salvation. You rescue me from any and everything that threatens, overwhelms or overtakes me. Your salvation is as sure as you are, as good as your word, solid and dependable. Always true. I will not fear being lost or forsaken for you have saved me.
You are my stronghold Lord, you are my shield and protector. Where can I run and hide where I can run and hide and be held tight. Whatever battle I come up against you, defend me. You uphold my cause. You keep my very soul. I will not fear any hardship or [00:18:00] enemy. For you are my safe place because you are my light.
I will not fear the unknown because you are my salvation. I will not fear rejection because you are my stronghold. I will not fear the battle. You are the God who overcomes all things and invites me into your safe haven, whom or what shall I fear? Amen.
Amen. Amen. I hope you guys really enjoy this first, this month. I hope that it becomes the words on your tongue when fear threatens to overwhelm you. I hope that you. Understand that when we dwell in the character of our God, when we dwell in his word, when we memorize it, we put it in our hearts and minds that it is the very thing that we can use to overcome any fear, any trial, and every problem in our life, because ultimately, God is God.
And God is good, and God loves you and he wants you so desperately He gave his son for you. And when we look to that, when we understand who he is, we can know and believe and trust that he has every good thing for us. And so as you memorize this verse, this month, I hope that it would just minister to your soul.
And I hope that you would give it away. I hope that as people, uh, in your own life struggle that you would be able to say these words to them. 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. Thanks for joining me today. It was so great to talk with you and I hope that you really, just enjoy this month with us.