My Light and Salvation

Scripture Reading

The LORD is my light and my salvation;
whom should I fear?
The LORD is my life’s refuge;
of whom should I be afraid? 

Though an army encamp against me,
my heart will not fear;
Though war be waged upon me,
even then will I trust.

For he will hide me in his abode
in the day of trouble;
He will conceal me in the shelter of his tent,
he will set me high upon a rock.

Your presence, O LORD, I seek.
Hide not your face from me;
do not in anger repel your servant.
You are my helper: cast me not off.

(Psalm 27:1,3,5,8,9)

 

Scripture Study

27:1. The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear? The inner man, enlightened in this way, does not waver; he follows the right path, and can endure all things. He who contemplates his final homeland from afar can bear all adversity; he is not saddened by worldly things; rather he finds his strength in God; he humbles his heart and is persevering, and his humility makes him patient. The true light, which comes into the world to enlighten all men, is the Son, revealing himself to all; he gives his light to those who fear him; he infuses it into those who desire it, when they desire it.”

27:2–3. These verses suggest a king hard-pressed by his enemies (who “eat up my flesh”: v. 1); he regains his morale by remembering his God.

27:4–6. His first desire is to be with the Lord in his temple, where he can obtain his help and give him thanks. Desiring to dwell in the house of the Lord is the same thing as desiring to be saved and to see God (cf. v. 8).

27:7–9. This prayer spoken aloud (v. 7) stems from the heart of a man who yearns to see the face of God, to obtain his indulgence (v. 8), by having recourse to the temple (cf. v. 4). Commenting on this psalm, St Augustine writes: “In the most hidden place, where only you may hear it, my heart says to you: Lord, I seek your face: and I will continue in this search, without ever taking rest, so that I may love you freely, for I will never find anything more precious than you [your face]” (Enarrationes in Psalmos, 26, 8).[1]

Scripture Reflection

Trust is possible for those who know the LORD as the savior of their life. The psalm articulates that knowledge at the very beginning where it calls the LORD “my light, my salvation, the stronghold of my life” (v. 1). Salvation concerns life; life is in question in some way where salvation is needed. Salvation is intervention that makes life possible in the face of all that threatens, weakens, and corrupts life. The LORD is called “light” because light drives darkness away. It is in the light that life revives and flourishes; it is in the light that one can see the way.

Trust is nurtured and strengthened by the exercise and discipline of religion. In his time of trouble the psalmist asks one thing: to be in the temple, where he can visualize the beauty of the LORD and seek the direction for his life that comes with the instruction given there through oracle and precept (v. 4). To make his prayer, he goes to the place of the presence of God, obeying the exhortation of Israel’s religion, “Seek ye my face” (v. 8). When trust is kept a private matter, unspoken and unshared, it becomes a personal project and may decay into no more than our own resolution and willpower. Trust needs the stimulus and renewal that come from confronting and contemplating religion’s representation of the revelation of God in liturgy, architecture, and proclamation. In its praise and prayer it evokes the reality in whose life faith chooses to live—the salvation of the LORD.

– James Mays

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV. 

 

 

[1] James Gavigan, Brian McCarthy, and Thomas McGovern, eds., Psalms and the Song of Solomon, The Navarre Bible (Dublin; New York: Four Courts Press; Scepter Publishers, 2003), 108–110.