1 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?
2 When the wicked advance against me to devour[a] me, it is my enemies and my foes who will stumble and fall. 3 Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then I will be confident.
4 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. 5 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.
6 Then my head will be exalted above the enemies who surround me; at His sacred tent I will sacrifice with shouts of joy; I will sing and make music to the Lord.
7 Hear my voice when I call, Lord; be merciful to me and answer me. 8 My heart says of you, “Seek his face!” Your face, Lord, I will seek. 9 Do not hide your face from me, do not turn Your servant away in anger; You have been my helper. Do not reject me or forsake me, God my Savior. 10 Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me. 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.
Wow! I read, “…of whom shall I be afraid? (v.1)” and “…the wicked advance against me. (v.2)” Who are these people in my life that I might see as the enemy? Is it those who are pushing for a godless world that might make me hesitant or uncomfortable to speak of my faith or advocate biblical principles? Maybe, it is those who seem to have it out for me or members of my family. Or increasingly, it seems it is those whose politics don’t align with my own. Whomever it is, I know they don’t tend to inspire “peace” in my mind and in my spirit.
Whoever it is causing the affront in my life, I know I can tend to get vocal, even angry, and sometimes bitter towards those who are not on my side. So…no peace. That doesn’t really jibe with, “For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling (v.5),” and “I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. (v.13)“ That sounds like “peace.” How is it a person can read the words laid out plainly here and throughout the Bible, and not feel the peace of the Lord even in a troubled time?
For me, the problem seems to be focus. I look in the mirror and I far too often see the person in charge of my destiny. I look at the greater world and I see people whose decisions will make the world as I want it to be. But this psalm reminds me, “Seek His face! (v.8)”
We’re in the process of celebrating the birth of Christ. The Christ Who tells us to seek His face. “Focus” on His face and understand that He was sent to bring us the peace we all want, but have difficulty allowing Him to provide for us. There can be strife in the world, yet peace in our hearts. I can use what God gave me intellectually, spiritually and financially to try and make my life and my world a better place, but I am not in charge. As I recognize the truth that Christ will make a way regardless of my circumstances, it takes the burden off of me. I am thankful for the reminders in the Word that teach me repeatedly to trust the Christ Child, that, “The Lord is the stronghold of my life (v.2).” This is the way to peace.
by Chet Gilmore