Whom Shall I Fear?
Psalm 27:1–5 (NRSV)
1The 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? 2When evildoers assail me to devour my flesh— my adversaries and foes— they shall stumble and fall. 3Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war rise up against me, yet I will be confident. 4One thing I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: to live in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in his temple. 5For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will set me high on a rock.
During this time of “stay at home” orders, I commend to you the words of the Psalmist, as he trusts in the Lord in the midst of trouble. This pandemic affects all of us. Some of us are on the front lines providing food, medicine, or other essential services; remaining for the sake of society in close contact with others who might be carrying the virus. Others might simply be enjoying the comforts of home with a bit more regularity, and only slightly altering an already domestic-centered routine. Some might feel no immediate financial impact, while others are looking for work or wondering how they will make ends meet. All of us feel the impact of separation, and the uncertainty of what might come next. Thus we fight emotions that run a spectrum between anxiety over what might be lost and grief over what already has been lost. A spectrum exists between patience during a time of trial and aggravation over the severity of circumstances in which we have had no control.
Psalm 27 reminds us that while we are in the midst of adversity, “the Lord is the stronghold” of our life. For that reason, we need not be afraid. Then the attention of the psalmist turns to the “house of the Lord.” What an interesting concept for those of us confined to our houses more than usual! There are two dimensions to the “house of the Lord.” One is in the present, per verse five: He “shelters us,” he “conceals us,” and he “sets us high on a rock,” meaning that he keeps us safe and secure. In the midst of the trials and tribulations of this life, our God safely shelters us. We may give thanks for the homes he’s given us, and remember that he is here with us. The other dimension of the “house of the Lord” is eternal: We will dwell in the house of the Lord forever! We will never be distant from the presence of our loving and merciful Creator. We will always be in a perfect community of all the Saints. But Scripture speaks of a “new heaven and a new earth.” This doesn’t imply that we will be trapped in small space together, but that we will be able to live in community in a wonderfully re-created universe, in which there is no longer sickness or death; sorrow or tears. Only the joy of the Lord!
As we shelter in our homes, let’s give thanks for God’s protection even as we await the day that we can all be together in the House of the Lord.