“The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell. Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident. One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple. For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock.”
There is an ancient and transcending belief. It is one that carried prophets and kings, saints and apostles, disciples and martyrs for generations. It guided their lives and their paths according to the wonders and the righteousness that could come to encompass their lives in even the harshest of times, even in the most difficult of challenges while it seemed like darkness surrounded them. Their bodies bruised and broken, their frame left crumbled on the ground, their life held cheap by their enemies as they raised their hands against them in brutal oppression and subjugation, they knew one fundamental and basic truth. It would be a hope and a faith that would carry them through all the days of their lives.
They knew that there was God who presided from above. He was not just some far distant deity who watched from isolated places, from desolate locations, unable or unwilling to intervene in the plight and the struggle of men. He did not just sit atop a perch somewhere on some lonely mountain, watching as events unfolding, indifferent to the cries and the calls of those who were in need, those who found themselves held in dark places. He did not just let pain and agony, anguish and hurt, suffering and sorrow encompass their life until there was nothing left for them but the grim realities of this mortal existence. He did not just let the grim and brutal grief of this temporal plane overshadow their lives as they dwelt amidst the torment of another man’s hand raised against them.
He was the light of their salvation, the strength of their lives. When the wicked rose against them, seeking to devour them when they stumbled, when their enemies rose up against them in the darkest of days to destroy them their God would never forsake them or abandon them. He would never leave them to the evil devices of iniquities grim hold over their lives. Devoted to them in the love that He had for His children He would guide them and lead them according to His righteousness all of the days of their lives. This would be His faithful assurance to them as His love was made manifest in their lives through His grace according to His great compassion and mercy.
Perhaps they were not perfect men and women. Who amongst any of us are? We all sin and fall short of the glory of God, (Romans 3:23) our righteousness reliant solely on His righteousness, our salvation based solely on that which is granted through His Son, our Savior Christ Jesus. Yet to our Heavenly Father, that was inconsequential, as He guided and sheltered the life of His people, protecting them against the transgressions of their fellow man as they sought to oppress. His love, undeserved, yet inalterable, would offer to them all that they needed even as their world seemed to come crumbling down all around them and they were left to feel the deep gnawing of the impending chaos all around them.
Never willing to abide with the slavery and the captivity of His people at the hands of wicked and brutal transgression as iniquity and pain marks their way the Lord God Almighty contended with their cause in their time of need and the hour of their adversity. He was there through all things, in all things, for those who placed their hope and trust in Him even when it seemed like all they would know was hurt and pain.
As He promises “I the LORD do not change. So you, O descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed” (Malachi 3:6) so the Lord delivers.
The Lord, our God, is unchanging through the ages, and though we may live in a different world or a different generation than that age when the Psalm was first written we know that the words spoken are just as applicable today as they were in days gone by. He is there for the cause and the struggle of His people, He is there contending with their plight and their turmoil through even the times of greatest challenge and harshest adversity. He is there showing His light and His love as He proves that He is just as powerful, just as strong in this world today as He has been in days gone past.
This is the hopeful assurance, the blessed promise that the people of God, wherever they may be, whomever has a hold on them, can trust all of the days of their lives. They can place their faith and their trust in the words that He has always spoken unto them, tell them to abide in courage and strength for He walks beside them all of the days of their life. There is no wickedness, no iniquity, no evil that can be left standing when it comes up against the power and the might of the Lord, our Heavenly Father. He shall set it to flight as He ransoms His people even in the harshest of times, even in the deepest of challenges that now seem to so encompass and overshadow their lives.
Perhaps it may seem as evil is on the rise and the days of darkness are long and full of hurt and sorrow. Yet through His love and by His mercy God shall show that He is there to make way the path on high. There the march of evil and the onset of this torment shall be put to a halt as He makes His will and desire known and proves Him to be a Just God who believes in the cause of liberty and freedom throughout the world.
This is a love then that all of people can put their hope and trust in all of the days of their life, knowing that though it may seem as if the struggle is great and the challenges are enormous, He shall be there as the transformative power of liberation and emancipation in their life, abolishing the authority of the wicked and their brutal oppression as they seek to assert their evil on this world. He shall be there to show that He does not contend with their cause and that their will is not His will, their way is not His way. Just as Christ set to flight the dark bondage of our captivity to sin, death and the Devil so too shall God break the grim chains that would seek to hold prisoners and hostages, slaves and captives in this world according to the wickedness of man’s iniquity and corruption.
It will be then that, like David, we shall too be able to sing our praises to the Lord, knowing that He has heard our cries and our calls for justice and that He has delivered according to His compassion and love, His mercy and His grace. It is then that, like the host of saints and martyrs, who have come before, know that God’s triumph shall be the ultimate victory of the soul and the spirit even against all of the challenges and the struggles of this world and in this world.
Lord, grant this unto us all…
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.