I love the Psalms because they’re not always straightforward and concise. On the contrary, they’re messy and passionate and confusing at times. Psalms invite me to take off my analyzing glasses and just rest in God’s word in a way lends itself to repetition and meditation.
I started reading Psalm 27 sometime in 2016 and I haven’t been able to stop. Something about it drew me in and kept me there. It became a secret place for me to be with God where I could find rest in Him.
I want to share with you a glimpse of my journey with God as it was enabled by meditating on Psalm 27. I hope that it will inspire you to rest in the Psalms and listen to the Lord in a powerful way.
"The Lord is my Light and my Salvation - whom shall I fear?"
I’ve been thinking a lot about Light for a while now. I think it started when I reread Genesis 1 with fresh eyes. I was trying out the practice of reading a verse and asking “what do I know about God from this?” I was impressed with the idea that God creates and God brings order. In Genesis He’s constantly creating things and separating good from not good. Light from dark, day from night. In a word: redemption. God is a redeemer of goodness and order from the darkness and chaos of disordered creation. Ok: God is a redeemer and light is the first thing He redeemed as good.
Last year I read a book about perception and misperception* and it got me thinking about light as our medium for visual perception. It’s so significant - without light the world would totally suck. I thought about this and let it churn in my mind for a while. I grew to love the time of early morning when the sun is almost up and everything is still black and white; when you can see, but you obviously have limited sight. It’s my favorite time of day because it invites me to accept my limited sight and embrace my need for understanding that goes beyond myself. Morning light lets us appreciate the noonday sun just as the light of the horizon is evidence of more to come. Praise the Lord for separating light from dark!
So in being my light, the Lord is the origin and continual source of goodness and peace in my life. The Lord redeems me out of chaos and darkness, out of confusion and disorder. In being my light, the Lord is my salvation; my redeemer.
This brings me to the age old question “what is the meaning of life?”
One thing I ask of 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.
The Lord is not only my light and my salvation from the cosmic chaos of eternal damnation; no He’s much more than that. When Jesus began his ministry he proclaimed “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”** The power of salvation is not only limited to our eternal dwelling place, but it is here and now.
The Lord saves us from lives of darkness, confusion, and insignificance. The meaning of life is to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and seek Him in His temple and bring others into that kind of connection with Him. Its simple, really. We complicate ministry and church and quiet time; we try to quantify our progress an develop accurate metrics for growth. But we tend to forget our first purpose: to dwell in the house of the Lord. When we can find peace in the presence of the Lord we will find fulfillment in our work for Him. Without that peace our work for Him is like working in the dark; you can’t really see what you’re doing.
The Lord is my Light and my Salvation - whom shall I fear?
The Lord redeems us from the chaos of our world. With God as my light and my salvation I am delivered from the burden of finding meaning in what I do. Meaning is found in Him and in Him my work finds its meaning.
The Lord has used Psalm 27 to teach me the peace that is found in Him: today and in eternity. He has taught me to first rest in Him and then work on redeeming the world. I no longer fear insignificance. I no long fear the darkness of not knowing the future. In Him I have my light and my salvation.
So I encourage you to read the Psalms. But don’t just read them - sit in them. Find a quiet place and repeat them, pray them, meditate on them and ask God to reveal Himself to you through His Holy Word. Take time to celebrate and cultivate the beauty of the psalms and always remember - He is your light and your salvation.
Author | Benji Johnston