Before my dad was married, he lived with his parents and some of his brothers in the little village of Apgar, in Glacier National Park. My Uncle, his eldest brother Earl, had a cabin court just as you enter Apgar called “Moose Cabins.” As a family, we spent a lot of time visiting and camping. My Dad was a fisherman. He would fish wherever there was water. One of his favorite spots was just up the old road to Kintla Lake, to a stream called “Fish Creek”. That was the first place that I remember that he invited me as an 8 years old to go fishing with him. It was a small stream that empties into Lake McDonald. In fishing it, you needed to cross the creek multiple times because of brush and overhangs. This included walking on logs that had fallen across the creek. Dad did this with no hesitation, and I was to follow. I hesitated, looking at the fast-moving stream under the log. My Dad would say, “just walk across the log”!  After some hesitation on my part, he would take off down the creek saying “I’m going fishing downstream. Follow me if you want!” Out of fear, I learned to walk across a log with a rushing stream below me. As time went on, I did not hesitate to walk across the log because I gained confidence that I could do it. I did it without thinking.

Confidence. Since that time, I have had multiple opportunities to develop confidence. Life demands it of us. Life tends to beat us up. I’ve come a long way since that 8-year-old experience, but I have learned to walk many logs through my life.

I have turned to Psalm 27 many times when I am facing a challenge that is bigger than I am. Listen to the author as he tells us where he gains confidence. “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the defense of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” [Think-log walking].

When I am studying Scripture, I am always looking for key words.  The Psalmist says, “The Lord is my light…”. The New Testament speaks much about “light”. It is not referring to some artificial light, but an inner illumination. It speaks of knowledge that can be attained beyond anything we may gain through cognitive study. Listen to Paul in 1 Corinthians 2:11; “For who among us knows the spirit of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so, the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God. We have received, not the spirit of this world, but the Spirit that is from God, that we might know the things freely given to us by God”.

That is the light that the Psalmist speaks of; “the Lord is my light.” So, if I have that “light”, whom shall I fear? I see confidence building! The Psalmist then says, the Lord is also his salvation. The salvation he speaks of is not the salvation we receive from Jesus Christ, for Jesus had not yet been revealed. The word “Salvation” refers to the deliverance that the Psalmist has received by walking with God. Now, the Psalmist exclaims, “the Lord is the defense of my life…”. In other words, the Lord has become a garrison or a fort around the Psalmist and he exclaims, “Whom shall I fear?”

Life is bigger than any of us. We face so many “logs” that need to be crossed, and we see the raging current of life that brings us fear. But the Palmist is telling me, that I have inner knowledge that he refers to as “light”. This will be a beacon that will guide me through those raging currents of life. The Spirit of God within me keeps fear at bay and I become aware that the Lord is indeed “the defense of my life” when the enemies of life seek to destroy my faith.

I see here the faith of the Psalmist. His life is built on the bedrock of what God has promised. He is not crossing the currents of life alone. His faith gives him strength to face what life brings. This faith comes from God alone. We must allow Him to become part of our life. Verse 4 states: “I have asked from the Lord that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life”. His life is interwoven with the very life of God; thus, he sees himself walking with God and not being alone. Note how he expresses this intimacy in verse 5. “For in the day of trouble He will conceal me in His Tabernacle, in the secret place of His tent He will hide me, He will lift me upon a rock” [I will not fall into the stream!].

Do you see his confidence?  His focus is on God and his worship of God. His focus is narrow, “…one thing I have asked of the Lord”. I observe the confidence he has, “….He will conceal me…”
         “…He will hide me…”
                  “…He will lift me…”
He has found God to be his “light”,  his “Salvation”,  and his “defense”.

This makes me ask myself, “could it be that the reason I am so fearful, so anxious, so apprehensive, is because I have no God?”  I ignore who He is and what He has offered me. So I walk alone  with my anxious thoughts and issues that want to consume me. The rushing water below the log on which I am attempting to walk absolutely consumes me. I do not see the strength of the log; all I see is the rushing water. I read with great interest what Jesus had to say to His apostle in Matthew 6. [I suggest you read the last half].  I want to walk with God, not just believe in Him.

Allow me to paraphrase verses 11-14 of this Psalm. “Point me down your highway, Oh God, direct me along the lighted street. Show my enemies whose side you are on. Don’t throw me to the dogs, those lions who are out to get me, filling the air with their threat. I’m sure I will see God’s goodness on this earth. Take heart, don’t quit. I say it again, stay with God”.

I ask myself three questions;

  • What resources do you have to live life with?  Are they human or Divine?
  • What are your greatest fears? There are three national fears:

                                 -loss of relationship
                                 -loss of acceptance
                                 -loss of fulfillment

         > What is the focus of your prayers? Do you listen to your prayers?

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