A psalm of David.
1 The Lord is my light and my salvation— so why should I be afraid? The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger, so why should I tremble? 2 When evil people come to devour me, when my enemies and foes attack me, they will stumble and fall. 3 Though a mighty army surrounds me, my heart will not be afraid. Even if I am attacked, I will remain confident.
4 The one thing I ask of the Lord— the thing I seek most— is to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, delighting in the Lord’s perfections and meditating in his Temple. 5 For he will conceal me there when troubles come; he will hide me in his sanctuary. He will place me out of reach on a high rock. 6 Then I will hold my head high above my enemies who surround me. At his sanctuary I will offer sacrifices with shouts of joy, singing and praising the Lord with music.
7 Hear me as I pray, O Lord. Be merciful and answer me! 8 My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.” And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.” 9 Do not turn your back on me. Do not reject your servant in anger. You have always been my helper. Don’t leave me now; don’t abandon me, O God of my salvation! 10 Even if my father and mother abandon me, the Lord will hold me close.
11 Teach me how to live, O Lord. Lead me along the right path, for my enemies are waiting for me. 12 Do not let me fall into their hands. For they accuse me of things I’ve never done; with every breath they threaten me with violence. 13 Yet I am confident I will see the Lord’s goodness while I am here in the land of the living.
14 Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.
I have been reading this passage over and over for the past week. So many thoughts have been bouncing around in my head about it. Every time I read it, I gain new insight and understanding into what the psalmist (David) is trying to express. I love that about God's word, it is alive and active! Never gets boring and never stops being relevant. My fiancé mentioned this passage to me last week at a point where I was feeling pretty down about different things going on in life. Even though I have read this passage countless times growing up, it came alive to me this past week to a point where I could just not get enough. I began mediating on it and rereading different verses and began to see and understand more and more how God is always with us and how I should not live in fear. I thought I would try to write out my reflections on this passage in the hopes of organizing them in my mind, and maybe motivating some of you to read it as well! This passage was a great comfort to me, and I know it will be to anyone else who reads it as well!
The first part of the psalm immediately starts out by saying the Lord is our light and salvation. Light shows us the way to go, and the Lord does just that. He clarifies our way and decisions. All we need to do is go to Him and remain in His light. The verses go on to say that the Lord is our fortress and protects us, so why are we afraid? I am such an overthinker/worrier and am constantly afraid of some "what-if" that ends up not even happening. Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of things in life that are perfectly legitimate things to be afraid of. But with the Lord at our side, we can stand in confidence (v. 3). It may feel like we are at war and that we are surrounded by constant attack, worry, hopelessness, or any other negative association with this world. But God is at our side, and we can remain confident in Him!
I love how David expresses how much he desires and longs to be with God. I want that longing for God and only God. In verse 4, he says that the ONE thing he asks for and seeks is to live in the house of the Lord and delight in Him. The more we know God, the more we will delight in Him, and the more we will WANT to know Him. I've realized that the best way to know God is to ask God to open up my heart to His presence and goodness, immerse myself in His word, and stay in constant communication with Him.
One of the most profound parts of this psalm for me was verses 7-8, where David says that his heart has heard God's call, and his heart responds back to God saying "Lord, I am coming." I love this. I realized that David's close relationship to God (he was, after all, known as a man "after God's own heart") made it possible for him to hear the Lord's calling, and for his heart to respond to his God. Our hearts can be so distracted and full of many other things in this world that we can hardly hear the soft call of God to come to Him, spend time with Him, and rest in His presence. I want there to be CLARITY in my heart. I want nothing to stand in the way of God's communication and call to my heart, so that when I hear it, I can respond as David did: Lord, I am coming! To me, this means not spending time or energy on anything that will draw me away from God, and cause me to fall father away from Him and His love. This also means trusting in God, going to Him in times of trouble, and believing that He is who He says He is, and He will be there and comfort me always, just as verse 9 says about how God has always been David's helper.
David also asks God to "teach him how to live" (verse 11). I realized that so many times, I am unwilling to learn new things, especially if they mean a disturbance in my everyday routine and life. David had a teachable heart. He constantly wanted to learn from the Lord and be willing to grow. This has become my prayer, that the Lord would grow me and strengthen me, and teach me how to live for His glory and purpose, not my own. David ends this psalm by saying he is confident he will see God's goodness in the land of the living. He is confident that God is good, all the time. He wants to wait patiently for the Lord, because His timing is perfect (hey, it's a cliche because it's TRUE). I love that he uses the words "brave" and "courageous." He calls us to be those two things, which means it actually is possible to be brave, courageous, and not live in fear. This goes right back to how he starts his psalm about not living in fear and not being afraid, because God is with us. Only the Lord can enable us to be brave and courageous, because He is our light, and will lead us to His goodness.
Oh, how I love the Word of God! The more you dig into the Word, the more alive it becomes. I pray that this desire never dies in my life, and I also pray that all of you can experience the joy of relationship with the Lord as well!