Psalm 27:1-3 - The Verses Project

Bible Psalm 27:1-3

Posted August 11, 2014

[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 evildoers assail me to eat up my flesh,
my adversaries and foes, it is they who stumble and fall.
[3] Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear;
though war arise against me, yet I will be confident.

Psalm 27 is a psalm of confidence which starts (1-3) and ends (13-14) with bold declarations of trust in God! The psalmist declares the Lord to be his confidence by using 3 images: light, salvation, stronghold. If God is not these things to us, then we have plenty to fear, but if He is, we can rest assured He is faithful in both good and difficult times.

The Lord is My…

2 initial observations about how David starts this passage:

First, God is the source of his confidence, not himself. David did not say, “I am my light and my salvation… I am the stronghold of my life.” He knew that he was not a light unto himself, he could not save himself, and he was not strong enough. We live in a time when more and more people seek an inward light and salvation and strength, but the psalmist knew the folly of this sort of seeking. He knew his saving could never come from within, but rather from without. We don’t find our light, salvation, and strength in the recesses of our own hearts, but rather in the loving and powerful arms of God!

Secondly, David describes God not merely as light and salvation in general, but rather my light and my salvation. God is not just a stronghold unto Himself, but also a stronghold that David enters into and is surrounded by. Impersonal theology is a great curse in the church today; it’s the sort of theology that stays on a page, never accomplishing its intended purpose of leading us to know and worship God. The God of the Bible is no vague deity to David. Oh, that the truths of God would be wrestled with in our minds, celebrated and delighted in our hearts, and experienced personally in our lives like David did!

Light, Salvation, Stronghold

David provides us 3 truths that run parallel to each other and are the source of David’s confidence:

God as light - DA Carson commented, “Light is an evocative figure for almost everything good: truth, knowledge, joy, moral purity, revelation, and more.” For those who lived in Bible times, without electricity, light was a symbol of hope, safety and order. It was in the darkness that chaos and wickedness ran rampant; the watchmen of the city watched and waited for the morning light to break through. God was this light to David, dispelling the surrounding darkness.

God as salvation - Not only was He light, but He was David’s salvation. God was not only able to bring light and clarity, but also had the power to do something about David’s situation. He could save! By definition, if someone is your salvation, they are saving you from something. He knows God is not merely salvation, but has tasted God’s saving personally. Spurgeon commented, “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.”

God as stronghold - He’s the stronghold of my life. No part or season in life is excluded from His protective power! He’s not partially strong for a portion of our lives; He’s the stronghold of our lives. It’s precisely why the psalmist can immediately ask the question (needing no answer) about the future, “Of whom shall I be afraid?” Nothing in the present or the future that came David’s way could subvert God’s hold of him!

The Situations

Just in case things were unclear, David laid out a few different scenarios that are naturally “fear inducing”: evildoers trying to eat his flesh like wild animals, an army encamping against him, a war breaking out. They imply not only hardship, but also vicious and enduring elements. We might not relate to the psalmist’s language regarding enemies, but John 10:10 reminds us we do have an enemy who seeks to steal, kill, and destroy us! In spite of all these situations, David end this section by declaring, “yet I will be confident.” Why? We must go back to verse 1: We need not fear flesh eating evildoers, adversaries and foes, encamping armies, and rising wars because we know God to be our light, salvation, and stronghold in Christ Jesus! He is our only steady light, secure salvation, and safe stronghold in this life.


Song by Aaron Strumpel & Joel Limpic. Artwork by Dan Sheed (