1.Jehovah is my light. This commencement may be understood as meaning that David, having already experienced God’s mercy, publishes a testimony of his gratitude. But I rather incline to another meaning, namely, that, perceiving the conflict he had to wage with the sharpest temptations, he fortifies himself beforehand, and as it were brings together matter for confidence: for it is necessary that the saints earnestly wrestle with themselves to repel or subdue the doubts which the flesh is so prone to cherish, that they may cheerfully and speedily betake themselves to prayer. David, accordingly, having been tossed with various tempests, at length recovers himself, and shouts triumphantly over the troubles with which he had been harassed, rejoicing that whenever God displays his mercy and favor, there is nothing to be feared. This is farther intimated by the accumulation of terms which he employs, when he calls God not only his light, but his salvation, and the rock or strength of his life His object was, to put a threefold shield, as it were, against his various fears, as sufficient to ward them off. The term light, as is well known, is used in Scripture to denote joy, or the perfection of happiness. Farther, to explain his meaning, he adds that God was his salvation and the strength of his life, as it was by his help that he felt himself safe, and free from the terrors of death. Certainly we find that all our fears arise from this source, that we are too anxious about our life, while we acknowledge not that God is its preserver. We can have no tranquillity, therefore, until we attain the persuasion that our life is sufficiently guarded, because it is protected by his omnipotent power. The interrogation, too, shows how highly David esteemed the Divine protection, as he thus boldly exults against all his enemies and dangers. Nor assuredly do we ascribe due homage to God, unless, trusting to his promised aid, we dare to boast of the certainty of our safety. Weighing, as it were, in scales the whole power of earth and hell, David accounts it all lighter than a feather, and considers God alone as far outweighing the whole.
Let us learn, therefore, to put such a value on God’s power to protect us as to put to flight all our fears. Not that the minds of the faithful can, by reason of the infirmity of the flesh, be at all times entirely devoid of fear; but immediately recovering courage, let us, from the high tower of our confidence, look down upon all our dangers with contempt. Those who have never tasted the grace of God tremble because they refuse to rely on him, and imagine that he is often incensed against them, or at least far removed from them. But with the promises of God before our eyes, and the grace which they offer, our unbelief does him grievous wrong, if we do not with unshrinking courage boldly set him against all our enemies. When God, therefore, kindly allures us to himself, and assures us that he will take care of our safety, since we have embraced his promises, or because we believe him to be faithful, it is meet that we highly extol his power, that it may ravish our hearts with admiration of himself. We must mark well this comparison, What are all creatures to God? Moreover, we must extend this confidence still farther, in order to banish all fears from our consciences, like Paul, who, when speaking of his eternal salvation, boldly exclaims,
“If God be for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:34.)
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