1 The Lord is my light and my salvation—
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
of whom shall I be afraid?
2 When the wicked advance against me
to devour me,
it is my enemies and my foes
who will stumble and fall.
3 Though an army besiege me,
my heart will not fear;
though war break out against me,
even then I will be confident.
4 One thing I ask from the Lord,
this only do I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to gaze on the beauty of the Lord
and to seek him in his temple.
5 For in the day of trouble
he will keep me safe in his dwelling;
he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent
and set me high upon a rock.
6 Then my head will be exalted
above the enemies who surround me;
at his sacred tent I will sacrifice with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make music to the Lord.
7 Hear my voice when I call, Lord;
be merciful to me and answer me.
8 My heart says of you, “Seek his face!”
Your face, Lord, I will seek.
9 Do not hide your face from me,
do not turn your servant away in anger;
you have been my helper.
Do not reject me or forsake me,
God my Savior.
10 Though my father and mother forsake me,
the Lord will receive me.
11 Teach me your way, Lord;
lead me in a straight path
because of my oppressors.
12 Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes,
for false witnesses rise up against me,
spouting malicious accusations.
13 I remain confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living.
14 Wait for the Lord;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the Lord.
The Psalmist begins with a shout of praise. God has drawn him up, healed him, and restored his life! It is a thanksgiving that pours from a soul experienced in anguish, pain and sorrow. The writer had experienced a dark time, but the Lord never failed to keep the writer from sinking into a pit.
In verse 4, the Psalmist breaks off his individual narrative to invite the gathered community to praise the Lord as well. It goes from a personal praise to an implicit invitation for all who can hear to praise God. And in verse 5, we find one of my favorite lines of scripture, “Weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.” Why does rejoicing (joy) come in the morning? Why not tomorrow? The Psalmist could have said joy comes tomorrow. But the morning connotes something different. It brings to mind the first measure of light in the darkness, the sun coming up on the horizon, the beginning of something new and fresh. It is not just another day when joy appears but at the beginning of a new day. Just when the dark of night consumes everything, a glimmer of light turns the night into morning. It serves as a reminder that the night is only a period of time. It does not last forever, in fact, the light begins to break through almost as soon as darkness fully covers the earth. There is always a new day, a morning, a fresh start. And with it comes joy. The Psalmist reminds us this is worthy of praise.
Dear Lord, teach me to hear, lead me to see and guide me to heed your words. Let these words from the Psalms infuse my soul. I trust you, Oh Holy One. I submit fully to your will for my life. Lead me on the path of righteousness and forgive me for the ways may I fail. May your grace be born anew for me each day. Amen.
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version ® NIV ®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2014 by Biblica, Inc.®. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.