The Lord is my light and my salvation;
Whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the defense of my life;
Whom shall I dread?
David had a strong sense of what the Lord was doing in his life at the moment. “The Lord is” he says – present tense. Light, salvation, and defense are what he was experiencing. These are the effects God has upon us; He can embolden us to cast the fear of man aside.
The following is taken directly from The Treasury of David by Spurgeon.
The Lord is my light and my salvation. Here is personal interest, “my light,” “my salvation;” the soul is assured of it, and therefore, declaring it boldly. “My light;” — into the soul at the new birth divine light is poured as the precursor of salvation; where there is not enough light to see our own darkness and to long for the Lord Jesus, there is no evidence of salvation. Salvation finds us in the dark, but it does not leave us there; it gives light to those who sit in the valley of the shadow of death. After conversion our God is our joy, comfort, guide, teacher, and in every sense our light; he is light within, light around, light reflected from us, and light to be revealed to us. Note, it is not said merely that the Lord gives light, but that he “is” light; nor that he gives salvation, but that he is salvation; he, then, who by faith has laid hold upon God has all covenant blessings in his possession. Every light is not the sun, but the sun is the father of all lights. This being made sure as a fact, the argument drawn from it is put in the form of a question,
Whom shall I fear? A question which is its own answer. The powers of darkness are not to be feared, for the Lord, our light, destroys them; and the damnation of hell is not to be dreaded by us, for the Lord is our salvation. This is a very different challenge from that of boastful Goliath, for it is based upon a very different foundation; it rests not upon the conceited vigour of an arm of flesh, but upon the real power of the omnipotent I AM.
The Lord is the strength of my life. Here is a third glowing epithet, to show that the writer’s hope was fastened with a threefold cord which could not be broken. We may well accumulate terms of praise where the Lord lavishes deeds of grace. Our life derives all its strength from him who is the author if it; and if he deigns to make us strong we cannot be weakened by all the machinations of the adversary. Of whom shall I be afraid? The bold question looks into the future as well as the present. “If God be for us,” who can be against us, either now or in time to come?
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? Alice Driver, martyr, at her examination, put all the doctors to silence, so that they had not a word to say, but one looked upon another; then she said, “Have you no more to say? God be honoured, you be not able to resist the Spirit of God, in me, a poor woman. I was an honest poor man’s daughter, never brought up at the University as you have seen; but I have driven the plough many a time before my father, I thank God; yet, notwithstanding, in the defence of God’s truth, and in the cause of my Master, Christ, by his grace I will set my foot against the foot of any of you all, in the maintenance and defence of the same; and if I had a thousand lives they should go for the payment thereof.” So the Chancellor condemned her, and she returned to the prison joyful. — Charles Bradbury.
The Lord is my light, etc. St. John tells us, that “in Christ was life; and the life was the light of men;” but he adds that, “the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.” John 1:4-5. There is a great difference between the light, and the eye that sees it. A blind man may know a great deal about the shining of the sun, but it does not shine for him — it gives him no light. So, to know that “God is light,” is one thing 1 John 1:5, and to be able to say, “The Lord is my light,” is quite another thing. The Lord must be the light by which the way of life is made plain to us — the light by which we may see to walk in that way — the light that exposes the darkness of sin — the light by which we can discover the hidden sins of our own hearts. When he is thus our light, then he is our salvation also. He is pledged to guide us right; not only to show us sin, but to save us from it. Not only to make us see God’s hatred of sin, and his curse upon it, but also to draw us unto God’s love, and to take away the curse. With the Lord lighting us along the road of salvation, who, or what need we fear? Our life is hid with Christ in God. Col 3:3. We are weak, very weak, but his “strength is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Cor 12:2. With the Lord himself pledged to be the strength of our life, of whom need we be afraid? — From Sacramental Meditations on the Twenty-seventh Psalm, 1843.
The Lord is my light. “Light” which makes all things visible, was the first made of all visible things; and whether God did it for our example, or no, I know not; but ever since, in imitation of this manner of God’s proceeding, the first thing we do when we intend to do anything, is to get us “light.” — Sir Richard Baker.
The Lord is my light. Adorable Sun, cried St. Bernard, I cannot walk without thee: enlighten my steps, and furnish this barren and ignorant mind with thoughts worthy of thee. Adorable fulness of light and heat, be thou the true noonday of my soul; exterminate its darkness, disperse its clouds; burn, dry up, and consume all its filth and impurities. Divine Sun, rise upon my mind, and never set. — Jean Baptiste Elias Avrillon, 1652-1729.
Whom shall I fear? Neither spiritual nor military heroes do exploits through cowardice, Courage is a necessary virtue. In Jehovah is the best possible foundation for unflinching intrepidity. — William S. Plumer.
Of whom shall I be afraid? I have no notion of a timid, disingenuous profession of Christ. Such preachers and professors are like a rat playing at hide and seek behind a wainscot, who puts his head through a hole to see if the coast is clear, and ventures out if nobody is in the way; but slinks back again if danger appears. We cannot be honest to Christ except we are bold for him. He is either worth all we can lose for him, or he is worth nothing. — H.G. Salter, A.M., in “The Book of Illustrations,” 1840.
HINTS TO THE VILLAGE PREACHER
(first clause). The relation of illumination to salvation, or the need of light if men would be saved.
The Christian hero, and the secret springs of his courage.
The believer’s fearless challenge.
WORKS ON THE TWENTY-SEVENTH PSALM
Excellent Encouragements against Afflictions, containing David’s Triumph over Distress; or an Exposition of Ps 27. By THOMAS PIERSON, M.A. (Reprinted in Nichol’s Series of Puritan Commentaries.)
Meditations upon the 27 th Psalm of David. By SIR RICHARD BAKER. (See “Works,” pg 10.)