Standing on the Rock & Looking to the Light on a Day of Darkness

a brief study of Psalm 27, adapted from PCC Prayer Meeting Exhortation on 18 Dec 2006

“The Lord is my light and my salvation.” These words immediately lead us to think of Christ, the ‘true Light’ (Jn 1:9) and our Saviour. Indeed, some think that these words could not have been sung by the Lord Jesus because of the reference to ‘salvation.’ The Lord does not need salvation since He had no sin, or so it is surmised.

But the word ‘salvation’ does not only refer to being ‘saved from sin.’ In fact, in the context, it is about deliverance from one’s enemies, verse 2!

So, these words could, no doubt, have been used by the Lord. But the question is: Does this psalm describe the experience of Christ or one of his own? I believe it is both. For we must remember that the Church and Christ is one. Christ is the head, the Church is the body. As Andrew Bonar puts it: “David was taught by the Spirit to write the blessed experience of the Church and its Head.”

The psalm describes objectively the experience of our Lord, and it describes subjectively the experience of every believer united to Him.

This psalm has 4 parts:

· v. 1-3—A Declaration of Confidence in the Lord

· v. 4-6—A Meditation of delightful communion with God

· v. 7-12—A Petition that God would hear his cry for favour and grace

· v. 13-14—An Exhortation to wait on the Lord.

1. A Declaration

1 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? 2 When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell. 3 Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident.

Do not these words bring to mind the scene in the Garden of Gethsemane when Judas Iscariot came with a band of soldiers to arrest the Lord?

I am not sure about you, but once I began to see that this psalm describes the experience of our Lord, the picture that comes to mind is the Garden of Gethsemane.

It was a dark and lonely night in the Garden of Gethsemane for our Lord. While His disciples slept He was praying in regard to the intense suffering that was about to befall Him. “If it be possible, take this cup from me; yet not my will but thy will be done,” our Lord beseeched His Father. So intense was our Lord in prayer, that His sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood.

Then came Judas, with the band of soldiers carrying “lanterns and torches and weapons” (Jn 18:3) to arrest Him.

1 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?

He asked them: “Whom seek ye?” They said, “Jesus of Nazareth.” He said, “I am he”; and immediately, they “went backward, and fell to the ground” (Jn 18:6)

2 When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell.

Then they surrounded the Lord in such a threatening fashion that Peter raised his sword to cut off the ear of one of them. And the Lord had to stop him.

“Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword. Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels” (Mt 26:52-53).

3 Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident.

Can you see how beautifully these words express our Lord’s experience in the night of His passion?

Though our Lord was facing one of the most severe trials in His life, He was confident of His Father’s deliverance.


Beloved brethren and children, let us learn likewise to trust in Him through times of fear and uncertainty. Let us learn to be brave in the Lord.

Believers should never be cringing cowards. In times of trials, let us learn to lift up our heads unto the Father. Indeed as Christ our Lord, who was likewise tempted as we are, is seated at the right hand of the Father, let us go to the Father boldly in His name.

Let us go to Him and hide in Him as our Lord did. For, consider His meditation on how He found peace and delight in the presence of His Father.

2. A Meditation

4 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.

What a beautiful statement of faith by our Lord. While He was confronted by His enemies and by the prospect of suffering and abandonment on the Cross, He was thinking about the joy of being in communion with His Father.

I am reminded of the time I was in Brunei for military training. We were marching through the jungle to attack a certain enemy outpost. It was a three-day journey. Towards the end we had very little water left to drink. We had a lunch break, but no one ate because we did not have enough water to wash down the dry biscuits. Then one of my platoon mates started telling us what it was that was encouraging him on. He said that he kept imagining eating a whole tub of King’s ice-cream all by himself. A few other soldiers then joined in and began to talk about what brand of ice-cream they love most. The things that soldier think about!

Well, what do you think about to encourage yourself in times of darkness and distress? Our Lord thought about the joy of fellowship with the Father.

As He thought about the Father, all His troubles must have, as it were, melted away. Even in the midst of the trouble, the Father hides Him in His pavilion, in the secret of His tabernacle. Verse 5—

5 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. 6 And now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me: therefore will I offer in his tabernacle sacrifices of joy; I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto the LORD.

It is not difficult for us to imagine how these words must have encouraged our Lord as the soldiers surrounded Him and bound Him up.

These words are written in the future tense because they were written before the Lord’s actual experience. But it is not difficult for us to see how they must have resounded in the heart of our Lord, and brought Him comfort.

Even as He was surrounded by angry men who would, as it were, eat Him up, He was hid in the secret dwelling of the Lord, sheltered by the pavilion of His temple, and set upon a high rock. His captors must have pushed His head down physically as captors always do when leading their prisoners away. But spiritually, His head was lifted up and He was singing praise in His heart.

He was, as it were, transported in the spirit to a different reality where He found comfort and joy in the presence of His father.

Beloved brethren and children, when things in your life begin to crash around you and everything seems so unreal, do not allow yourself to sink down in despondency. But go to the Father and hide in Him. You can do so in the spirit even though the trial that is afflicting you is still boiling around you.


Our Lord both meditated on the delight of communion with His Father, and petitioned Him at the same time.

3. A Petition

7 Hear, O LORD, when I cry with my voice: have mercy also upon me, and answer me. 8 When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, LORD, will I seek.

One of the most comforting thoughts when going through trials is the knowledge that the Father is in control and giving appropriate guidance.

So notice how the Lord desired of the Father that He continues to commune with Him: to answer Him, and to call out to Him.

This was especially so as He was about to face the darkest hour in His work as redeemer. He was about to go to the cross for the sin of His people. He knew that at the Cross, the full weight of the guilt of His church would be placed upon His shoulders. As He was sentenced by the earthly court in perfect injustice, so He was sentenced by the heavenly court in perfect justice—though not for His sin, but for the sin of His people.

In this anticipation, our Lord cried out to His Father:

9 Hide not thy face far from me; put not thy servant away in anger: thou hast been my help; leave me not, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation.

Do these words not remind you of how our Lord cried on the Cross: “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” The Father heard His prayer indeed, but for the sake of the elect He must suffer His wrath, or they would find no redemption.

So our Lord’s prayer that He would not be forsaken must be understood according to what He said in the Garden: “Not my will, but thy will be done.”

The same goes for His petition in verse 12…

12 Deliver me not over unto the will of mine enemies: for false witnesses are risen up against me, and such as breathe out cruelty.

He would indeed be delivered over to the will of His enemies through false witnesses and such as breathe out cruelty.

But, be as that might be the case, our Lord knew that the Father would not completely abandon Him, even if all men, including His earthly father and mother were to forsake Him:

10 When my father and my mother forsake me, then the LORD will take me up. 11 Teach me thy way, O LORD, and lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies.

The Father would not completely abandon Him. Even though He was delivered into the hands of His enemies, they were but instruments of His wrath. They were in His hands to accomplish His purpose.

So it is with us, beloved brethren and children: God will never fully abandon us even when He has to chastise us for our sin. Our Lord was punished for our sin, and yet the Father did not forsake Him completely. His wrath burned but for a moment.

God will not punish us for our sin, because He has already punished His Son for us. But He will sometimes chastise us out of love for us. Let us be assured that His wrath will last but for a moment, and then weeping shall turn into joy.

So let us take heed to the Lord’s exhortation.

4. An Exhortation

13 I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. 14 Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.

Had our Lord not believed in the Father, He would have fainted—not that He would literally faint, but that He would have given up for weakness and fear.


But our Lord believed. And He was confident that He would see the goodness of the Lord while He was yet in the land of the living. That is: He was confident that He did not have to wait for death before He saw again the goodness of the Lord.

Did He not say: “It is finished”? Did He not say: “Father, into thy hands, I commend my spirit”? Our Lord did not give up. When the hours of darkness ended, He knew that His Father was still there. He knew that the Father had never given up with Him.

Therefore let us take heed to our Lord’s exhortation: Wait on the LORD. Be of good courage. He will strengthen our heart. If He appears to withdraw His countenance for a while, remember that there is a good reason for it, and that it would only be for a season. Wait on the Lord. He will, in His good time, bring cheer to your heart.

It will be soon. You will not have to wait for death to end your misery. You will know the blessings on the Lord in the land of the living. This was the confidence of our Saviour, this can be our confidence too. So seek Him in prayer; and wait patiently for Him.


Are you going through a difficult trial in your life, beloved brethren and children? Have you ever wondered why so many of the psalms have to do with trials?

Is it not because “we must through much tribulation enter into the Kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22)? God appointed for us tribulations that we may learn to wait upon Him patiently. While we may not like the trials that try us, we must understand that they are for our long term and eternal good. And so we ought not to grumble against the Lord, but to rejoice in our trials.

And we are not to rejoice with a stoic indifference. We must follow the example and exhortation of our Lord and rejoice, as we wait upon the Lord; and sing and meditate on His Word such as in this Psalm. May the Lord help us! Amen.

— JJ Lim