Trust in God, Our Light and Salvation
1 Of David.
The Lord is my light[b] and my salvation;
whom should I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life;
of whom should I be afraid?
2 When evildoers close in on me
to devour my flesh,[c]
it is they, my adversaries and enemies,
who stumble and fall.
3 Even if an army encamps against me,
my heart[d] will not succumb to fear;
even if war breaks out against me,
I will not have my trust shaken.
4 There is only one thing I ask of the Lord,
just one thing I seek:
to dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
so that I may enjoy the beauty of the Lord[e]
and gaze on his temple.
5 For he will hide me in his shelter
in times of trouble.
He will conceal me under the cover of his tent[f]
and place me high upon a rock.
6 Even now my head is raised high
above my enemies who surround me.
In his tent I will offer sacrifices[g] with joyous shouts;
I will sing and chant praise to the Lord.
7 O Lord, hear my voice when I cry out;
be merciful to me and answer me.
8 My heart[h] says of you,
“Seek his face.”
It is your face, O Lord, that I seek;
9 do not hide your face[i] from me.
Do not turn away your servant in anger,
you who have been my help.
Do not reject or forsake me,
O God, my Savior.
10 Even if my father and mother abandon me,
the Lord will gather me up.[j]
11 Teach me your way,[k] O Lord,
and lead me along a level path
because of my enemies.
12 Do not abandon me to the will of my adversaries,
for lying witnesses have risen against me,
breathing forth violence in their malice.
13 I am confident that I will behold the goodness of the Lord[l]
in the land of the living.
14 Place your hope in the Lord:
be strong and courageous in your heart,
and place your hope in the Lord.
- Psalm 27:1 Although enemies or the difficulties of existence may be multiplied, the believer finds a sure refuge in God—such is the cry of trust that opens this psalm. Then the movement of the prayer deepens, becoming the search and avid desire for God. It is in the temple that one discovers the presence of the Lord in the sacrifice, chant, supplication, and the law. If such a search becomes necessary for life, will not God be present to his most forsaken and pressured servant?
In praying this psalm, we can place a similar confidence in God and the Lord Jesus, one capable of enabling us to overcome all adversity and death itself.
- Psalm 27:1 The Lord is my light: “light” often symbolizes happiness and well-being (see Pss 18:29; 36:10; 43:3; 97:11) or life and salvation (see Isa 9:2; 49:6; 58:8; Jer 13:16; Am 5:18-20), whose source is the Lord (see Isa 10:17; Mic 7:8f).
- Psalm 27:2 To devour my flesh: the psalmist’s enemies are like rapacious beasts (see Pss 7:3; 17:12; 22:13f, 17); in the figurative sense, this refers to calumny (see Dan 3:8).
- Psalm 27:3 With the Lord as his stronghold and helper, the psalmist fears nothing—not even an army arrayed against him. So long as this strong union with God remains unbroken, the psalmist is secure. Heart: see note on Ps 4:8.
- Psalm 27:4 Tarrying in the house of the Lord is an expression and sign of spiritual union with God and intimacy with him. Beauty of the Lord: i.e., his goodness (see Ps 90:17).
- Psalm 27:5 Shelter . . . tent: references to the sanctuary of Jerusalem (see Rev 7:15f). See also Pss 31:21; 32:7; 61:5; 91:1.
- Psalm 27:6 I will offer sacrifices: see note on Ps 7:18.
- Psalm 27:8 Heart: see note on Ps 4:8. Seek his face: an idiom meaning to commune with the Lord, originating in the custom of pilgrimages to sacred places (see Pss 24:6; 105:4; 2 Sam 21:1; Hos 5:15). It then took on the general sense of seeking to know the Lord, anticipate his desires, and live in his presence. In a word, to seek the Lord is to serve him faithfully (Deut 4:29-31).
- Psalm 27:9 Hide your face: see note on Ps 13:2.
- Psalm 27:10 Union with God gives confidence in prayer; and prayer is something that even the most devout person must do. Sirach says: “Pray in [the Lord’s] presence” (17:25) and “Let nothing hinder you from promptly discharging your vows [i.e., your prayer]” (18:22).
- Psalm 27:11 Your way: God’s manner of dealing kindly with those who remain faithful to the covenant by keeping his commandments (see Pss 86:11; 128:1; 143:8).
- Psalm 27:13 Goodness of the Lord: the good things promised in the covenant with David (see 2 Sam 7:28). Land of the living: reference to this life or to the temple (see Pss 52:7; 116:9; Isa 38:11), where the God of life is present; the psalmist is speaking of the world of the living as opposed to the world of the dead.