- A psalm of David.1
My light, my Savior
- 1 The LORD is my light.
He drives darkness away.2
He’s the savior of my life.
How could anyone frighten me?
The LORD is my bodyguard.3
Who could possibly scare me?
- 2 When bad people attack me
And try to kill me,
They’ll miss their chance
and fall flat on their faces.
- 3 When a hostile army surrounds me,
Big deal. No fear here.
When people declare war on me,
I’ll stay confident, trusting in you.
- 4 There’s one thing I’ve asked the LORD.
There’s one thing I want from him, three things in all.
To make my home with him all my life.
To look at the LORD and see his great beauty.
To talk with him in his holy Temple.
- 5 When trouble comes,
He’ll protect me in his home,
In a hiding place inside his sacred Tent.4
Then he’ll lift me high, onto solid rock.
- 6 My enemies will have to look up to me then.
Back in his Tent, I’ll shout for joy and offer sacrifices.
I’ll sing. Oh yes, I’ll sing praise songs to the LORD.
- 7 Please hear me, LORD, when I cry out to you.
Be kind to me and answer my prayers.
- 8 You said, “Look for me.”5
I answer from my heart, “LORD, I want to see you face to face.”
- 9 Don’t hide from me.
Don’t get angry with me and send me away.
You’ve been the one I turn to for help.
Don’t give up on me and walk away.
You are my God,
the only one who can save me.
- 10 Even if my family kicks me out,
the LORD will take me in.
Show me the way
- 11 Show me the way you want me to go, LORD.
Help me see what’s going on around me.
I have enemies all over the place.
- 12 Don’t let my enemies do what they want with me.
Liars have rallied against me.
When they open their mouths, they exhale violence at me.
- 13 It would be terrible without the assurance
that God would be good to me
and that I’d live to see it.
- 14 Wait for the good LORD’s timing.
And while waiting, be strong, not afraid.
Wait. Yes, wait for the LORD.
The subtitle wasn’t part of the original psalm. And the possible byline “of David,” isn’t necessarily a byline. The vague phrase could mean the song was written by David, about David, or was inspired by David. Almost half of the psalms are attributed to David in this way, 73 of 150. Ancient Jewish history tells of David playing a lyre and writing songs. For one, he wrote a song of mourning at the battlefield death of King Saul and his sons: “How have the mighty fallen!” (2 Samuel 1:19-27 New American Standard Bible). An ancient Jewish scroll from about the time of Jesus, discovered among the famous Dead Sea Scrolls, reports that David wrote 3,600 songs.
“He drives darkness away” is not in the original language but seems implied in the context. In a time before electricity, darkness was a bigger problem and a great source of fear. Tragic things happened in the darkness. But the metaphor here describes the LORD as someone who drives out fear.
Literally “refuge” or “place of safety.”
Not just any tent. It’s often called the Tabernacle. This is portable worship center the Israelite ancestors of the Jews used from the time of Moses on the Exodus out of slavery in Egypt until the time King David’s son and successor King Solomon built the Jerusalem Temple.
More literally, “Seek my face.” Another paraphrase might be, “Seek my presence.” In other words, make the LORD part of our lives. Many scholars say the meaning of this verse, in the original Hebrew, is unclear. Scholars have to guess how to translate it. The evidence of that shows up in comparing Bible translations.