The Light of Salvation: Psalm 27

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A note to readers: Today’s post is part of a Sunday Voice Series by Dr. Timothy C. Tennent, a close friend, mentor and colleague of mine. He serves as the President of Asbury Theological Seminary among other posts he holds across the global church. This Sunday Voice Series will cover the Psalms, beginning to end, by focusing on a Psalm each Sunday. I can’t tell you how excited I am for his interest in contributing here. This will be a huge blessing to us all.

Psalm 27 (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.
One thing I ask from the Lord,

    this only do I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
    all the days of my life,
to gaze on the beauty of the Lord
    and to seek him in his temple.
For in the day of trouble
    he will keep me safe in his dwelling;
he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent
    and set me high upon a rock.

11 Teach me your way, Lord;
    lead me in a straight path
    because of my oppressors.
12 Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes,
    for false witnesses rise up against me,
    spouting malicious accusations.
13 I remain confident of this:

    I will see the goodness of the Lord
    in the land of the living.
14 Wait for the Lord;
    be strong and take heart
    and wait for the Lord.

CONSIDER THIS

Today is Epiphany Sunday. It is the day we remember the wise men coming to Christ, representing the nations of the world streaming to Jesus Christ. This is the season of the year when we celebrate the light of Christ in the world. Psalm 27 opens with those memorable words, “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?” We live in a time of unprecedented change and volatility. This psalm reminds us that God’s presence is the only steadfast assurance we have in this world. The light of God is most evidently seen in the face of Jesus Christ who is the “light of the world” (John 8:12; 9:5). The psalm expresses that great longing to be in the presence of God, to “dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life” (vs. 4). The psalmist uses the most dramatic example he can think of to demonstrate this: “Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me” (vs. 10). How steadfast is the presence and grace of God in Jesus Christ!

David longs to dwell in the house of the Lord and to gaze upon his beauty. For David, this was primarily a longing for the earthly Jerusalem and the temple which he longed to see established. As Christians, we realize that this light cannot be contained in any earthly temple, but is seen ultimately in the face of Christ. As David longed for the day when a temple would stand in Jerusalem and God’s presence would fill the holy of holies, so we long for the day when we will be in the full presence of God. We live in this longing.

David’s closing prayer is our prayer, “I am confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart, and wait for the Lord” (vs. 13, 14). Now we see but a dim reflection, but someday, face to face. Now we know in part; then we shall know fully, even as we have been fully known (1 Cor. 13:12).

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Timothy C. Tennent is the President of Asbury Theological Seminary and a Professor of Global Christianity. His works include Invitation to World Missions: A Trinitarian Missiology for the Twenty-first Century and Theology in the Context of World Christianity: How the Global Church Is Influencing the Way We Think about and Discuss Theology. He blogs at timothytennent.com and can be followed on twitter @TimTennent.

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