Psalm 27: 1-3 (NIV)
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?
When the wicked advance against me to devour 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.
This weekend, the clocks will be turned back an hour; soon evening will arrive in the middle of the afternoon. It’s a time for hunkering down behind closed curtains. No wonder we enjoy festivals of light such as Bonfire Night or lantern processions! We are drawn to them to find comfort and togetherness against the dark.
David, the writer of this psalm, knew far greater challenges than seemingly endless nights. At different times he lost his home, his position and his best friend. He was forced to live in a cave while a murderous king hunted him down. People he trusted – even his own family – turned against him and he suffered the loss of a child due to his own lack of self-control.
We don’t know at what point in his life David wrote these words, but the language he uses is strong. ‘..wicked advance….to devour me….an army besiege…war break out….’. He was often in the thick of darkness and fear. We may not have armies to deal with, but we may know the darkness of a friend’s betrayal, a dysfunctional family, a bereavement or bitter regret. We can feel besieged by fear or worry and approaching winter can make these seem worse.
But the first thing David states, before he even mentions his problems, is that The LORD is my light and my salvation. Twice he asks the question: Whom shall I fear? Of whom shall I be afraid? The unspoken answer, of course, is No-one. David was able to be confident even against his darkest fears (v3). The word ‘confident’ comes from the Latin, ‘to have full trust’. If David trusted God in the darkness, so can we. Because note in verse 1 that the LORD doesn’t give David light. Rather, He is David’s light – and ours.
This Autumn, as you watch fireworks that explode in wonder and then die away, or huddle close to a bonfire that will be gone in the morning, think instead of the One who is your everlasting light. Perhaps you could ask him to shed his light on your darkest fears and to help you to bring that light to others.
Sarah Dodd (North Lancs, NISCU Schools Worker)