Reflections on Psalm 27

By: Scott R. Ward

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The LORD is my light and my salvation—
so why should I be afraid? Psalm 27:1a (NLT)

I love it when the first thing a passage of scripture says is, “the LORD.” It is immediately clear what the topic of conversation is and this is important to know. This passage is not talking about doctrinal or theological teachings on how we should dress or when the end of the world may come. It is not an appeal to the mind for study and understanding—it’s a passage that is talking about Jesus in a very personal and testimonial way that touches the heart. Jesus, you say, how do you know the LORD is Jesus? Don’t you just love that the LORD is in all capital letters? I love the emphasis that this is the most important word in the Bible! And yes, the LORD is Jesus.

Who else would David be talking to like this—as if He’s a real person and a friend? Let’s take a look at the options: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is not portrayed in Scripture as One to enter into conversation with. We plead for His influence and His presence but He is not usually the most directly linked with “light” and “salvation” as this verse talks about.
And the Father always seems to me like the One who stays up in heaven orchestrating things and just being purely holy—seemingly untouchable for us humans. But that may just be the feeling I get from growing up in an era of reverence and awe that had a very “high church” feel to it—very formal and self-restrained.

But Jesus—He is the One whom John 1 tells us was our Creator. Jesus is the One who stooped down in the garden and formed Adam out of the clay. He is the One who bent over and breathed the breath of life into Adam’s nostrils and then surely hugged him as he awoke to new life—brand new, never before seen or felt life. Isn’t the LORD just amazing -- how He could do that?! Jesus was and still is the One who always comes to interact with us humans and is the One who eventually came down to personally live and die to demonstrate how to die to self and live eternally with Him. And you know what is really amazing? Ellen White says that it was Jesus who was in the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night that traveled with the children of Israel as they wandered through the wilderness trying to find their way back to a relationship with Him—He was right there with them all the time, all the way.

Yes, Jesus was in the Old Testament sanctuary then and is in the heavenly sanctuary now. That is why David loved the sanctuary so much then and why we should be clinging to Jesus now. We know that he is interceding on our behalf in the midst of the great battle between good and evil that we are all caught up in, against our will. And, that is one of the reasons I love this passage so much. Psalm 27 is known as the passage of scripture where David talks more about the sanctuary and his love of spending time there than in any other Psalm or scripture. The sanctuary was the Israelite’s visual aid for the plan of salvation and that message was very clear to David, as is evident here. The first verse of this Psalm says, “The LORD is my light and my salvation—so why should I be afraid?”  Isn’t that great? Your best friend can also be your salvation if your best friend is Jesus. And the light—oh the light—don’t we all need help seeing more clearly and understanding more fully? The light of a relationship with Jesus is bright indeed and gives the illumination that we so desperately need to make our way through the trials and distress this sinful world has to offer. And thus, the promise at the end of this sentence, “so why should I be afraid?” Choose Jesus—He chose you first—journey with Him and you will not be lost or permanently lose your way. Help is here and He’s standing right beside you. Just as Jesus traveled beside the Israelites in the wilderness in the form of cloud and fire, He is ready to take your hand and lead you through the deserts of our time, today.

Questions for discussion:

1. Why is it important to know who you are talking to or about in Scripture?
2. What is the difference between passages of scripture that discuss “teachings” and those that talk about a person’s “relationship with Jesus”?
3. Where could you use Jesus’ “light” in your life?
4. What does salvation mean to you?
5. How does the first sentence of this Psalm help you to live with “no fear”?

About the Author

Scott R. Ward is a husband and father of two daughters and a son. Scott is also a Youth Pastor and the Public High School Ministries Coordinator for the NAD. Scott loves helping people learn to nurture their devotional lives and challenging them reach out to the world around them by Living their faith. Scott’s first book on the devotional life, Authentic: Committed for Life, is due out August 2012 from Review and Herald Publishing Association.

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