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 have lived in Oregon for over 22 years. One of the great delights one has here is visiting the coast and on the Oregon coast one can hardly miss the light houses. My wife and I celebrated an anniversary at one of the light-keeper’s houses that has been converted into a bed and breakfast. At the top of these light houses is a great light, made greater by a complex set of glass lenses which have been carefully positioned to direct as much of the light as possible outward at the level of the sea so a ship can see it. Today the light houses are maintained for historical and sentimental reasons as well as for their valuable contribution to navigation. They are really something of a backup system, useful for the few who venture out without modern equipment and always ready in case the fragile modern networks fail.
David calls God his light and salvation in that powerful first verse of this psalm. In a world before electric light, the gift of light in the dark was even more important, just as it was for those mariners who were navigating up the dangerous Oregon coast long before GPS and other mechanisms upon which we rely today.
Without God’s Son and Spirit, we live in a deep spiritual darkness. I see it in the empty eyes of some in my community. I have spoken to those who lay dying without any hope for what is to come. It is a dark place. I have also sat on the hill beside one of these great lighthouses and watched its beams pierce the gloom and mist of a dark coastal night. It is a pleasure and delight to be in the light of God. It is also my honor and delight that through me, Christ causes his light to shine.