God is like light, like a stronghold. Light, by its very nature,
drives away the darkness and shows what has been hidden;
it can do no less. A stronghold could be a place with thick walls
and tiny windows perched somewhere inaccessible. Its nature
is to be a place of safety, and that will not change. In just that
way the psalmist knows God’s nature; he acknowledges it as a
nature that offers salvation and help, love and glory. God’s salvation
and ability to rescue from despair remains constant. God’s
nature will not change and cannot be defeated, whereas the sun’s
light will one day fade, and the protection of a stronghold can be
destroyed or breached.
God’s nature offers us reason for hope. Knowing God’s
qualities gives reason for hope. God loves us; God offers us
salvation and presence. The psalmist boldly proclaims these
facts by naming God light, salvation, and stronghold. He longs
for God’s presence in his life, desires to orient his life around
worship and prayer: “to behold the beauty of the Lord.” The
author’s passion for the Temple, the center of religion and devotion,
makes known his commitment to the Lord.
The psalmist’s experiences of God’s past faithfulness result
in his praise of God. God hides him in times of trouble, conceals
him in God’s tent, sets the psalmist high on a rock. Such knowledge
of God comes not from memorized words and phrases but
from experience. God comforts the psalmist, driving him to
praise and dedication. It gives him confidence as he struggles
through life’s trials.
When has God come into your life situation like a light, a
stronghold? How do you experience God’s salvation? What one
thing would you ask of the Lord?
Help us to know you more fully, O God, every day. Amen.
The image of light figures in three of the texts. Light not only illumines but brings a changed situation. The psalmist’s confession links light with salvation. The Gospel lesson expresses deliverance in terms of the nearness of God’s reign, which overcomes diseases and distortions. Light permits well-being. Light is the mode of God’s presence.
• Read Isaiah 9:1-4. When has God called you out of the darkness of an old habit, a familiar circumstance, into the light of new opportunity for ministry?
• Read Psalm 27:1, 4-9. Do you feel more comfortable talking with God about your joys or your pains? Is there need for more openness in either?
• Read 1 Corinthians 1:10-18. In your faith community, when have members found themselves at odds over priorities of no eternal value?
• Read Matthew 4:12-23. Put yourself into the story. What do you hear, see, feel, or smell? How have you answered the call of Jesus?
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