“The Lord Is My Light”

Categories: M. W. Bassford, Sermons

As hopefully most of us have picked up on by now, our congregational theme for the year is “Be the Light”.  As a result, Clay and I are going to be spending the rest of the Sunday mornings in May preaching on various aspects of light.  We aren’t going to be following any particular theme, just looking at the abundant Biblical discussions of light.

This morning, though, I’d like to look at a passage that reminds us that we’re mirrors, not light bulbs.  The light that we shed isn’t our own light; instead, it is the light that we reflect from God.  Without His light, we would spend our lives in darkness.

This is important all the time, but it is especially important in difficult times.  Even when we feel like the night is closing in around us and there is no hope, God still gives us hope.  His power, compassion, and love constantly show us the way forward.  Without Him, we cannot succeed, but with Him, we cannot fail.  This is not a new insight; indeed, it is something that David understood very well 3000 years ago.  Let’s consider what it means, then, that the Lord is the light for each one of us.

Our text, of course, will be Psalm 27, and in it, David first identifies God as THE STRONGHOLD OF MY LIFE.  Look at Psalm 27:1-3.  David’s fearlessness really shines through in this reading, but the important point is that David’s confidence isn’t in himself, even though he was a gifted man.  His confidence is in God.

The same holds true for us.  God is the only reason we can have to be fearless.  Somebody who goes through life without God and is confident and unafraid isn’t courageous.  They’re a fool.  Sooner or later, something is going to happen in every one of our lives that we cannot handle.  However, there is nothing that can happen that God can’t handle, so fearlessness in Him is completely justified.

Second, notice how David looks to the past for confidence for the future.  God defeated his enemies for him before, so no future enemies can make him afraid.  This is a vital lesson for us.  Repeatedly, God has proven Himself to be faithful.  We see it in the lives of the people of the Bible, and if we’ve been Christians for any length of time, we’ve seen it in our own lives too.  On that basis, we can be sure that God will be faithful in the future too.  Whatever lies in front of us, He will get us through it!

In the next section of the psalm, David asks for ONE THING FROM THE LORD.  He explains in Psalm 27:4-6.  This is an interesting text.  David asks God to let him dwell in His house and His temple all the days of David’s life, but as far as we know, there wasn’t a temple in existence during David’s time at all.  We should understand this, then, as not being about any earthly building, but as being about God’s heavenly presence.

This is sort of like walking with God.  It doesn’t mean that we can look over and see Him trotting down the sidewalk next to us.  Instead, it means that we are abiding in Him. 

It’s vital for us to be with God because when we’re with Him, He’s with us.  As David observes, that’s when He protects us in times of trouble.  David describes Him as simultaneously hiding us in His tent and putting us on a rock.  Basically, the protection that God offers is the best that it can possibly be.

When God is faithful to us, though, we have a responsibility to be faithful to Him by doing what David describes—praising Him for His goodness.  Too often, we busily bang on God’s door when we’re in trouble and need help, but as soon as He helps us, we go our way without even a thank-you.  That’s not right.  Every time we experience God’s blessing in our lives, let’s make sure that we glorify Him as He deserves.

The third part of the psalm is about SEEKING GOD’S FACE.  Consider Psalm 27:7-10.  Once again, I think this is a passage about not taking God for granted.  My father-in-law likes to joke, “I told you I loved you once.  If that changes, I’ll let you know.”  That’s not how our relationship with God ought to be.  If we truly are intent on dwelling in His house, we need to be calling out to Him and seeking His face continually.

We do this in part because we recognize the all too ample reasons we give Him to turn away from us.  When David is worried about God turning him away in anger, he’s not just being paranoid.  He says this because he knows he’s an imperfect man seeking a perfect God.  When we get complacent about our sin, God will turn away from us in anger too.  Instead, we must seek Him in humility and repentance.

Notice, though, what the result of seeking God in this way will be.  He will be a better protector for us than our own parents would be.  For some Christians, sad to say, this is a low bar to meet, but in my case, I had amazing parents, and God is still a more faithful friend than they were!  How good it is to have a God we can trust so much!

Finally, the psalm discusses WAITING FOR THE LORD.  Let’s read here from Psalm 27:11-14.  One of the things that I love about the Psalms is the way they capture the divided thinking of humankind.  On the one hand, we see that David is concerned about a new batch of enemies that has risen up.  On the other, though, he expresses complete confidence in a positive outcome despite his fear.

Isn’t this so often the way that our own minds work?  I know who God is.  I know that I’ve seen His goodness in my life, over and over again.  And yet, every time I see some new challenge ahead of me, there’s that little voice inside my mind that says, “This time is different.  God won’t get you through this one.” 

When we hear that little voice, it doesn’t mean that we are unbelieving, any more than David was unbelieving.  It means that we’re human.  Always, our hearts will be divided between faith and fear.  God knows that, and He wants us to know that it has always been so with His people.

Look, though, at what the conclusion of David’s self-talk is.  He tells himself, “Wait for the Lord.”  This is where our self-talk should end too.  No matter what our problems are, waiting for the Lord is always the right answer.  Even if we do not see how it possibly could work out, God knows just what He will do.  He will be faithful to us as He always has been faithful to all of His people.