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Bible Commentaries

The Church Pulpit Commentary

Psalms 27

Verse 1


‘The Lord is my light.’

Psalms 27:1

‘The Lord is my light.’ Here only does David, in all his psalms, so speak of the Lord; and, indeed, this exact expression only occurs twice in the Old Testament. ‘When I sit in darkness,’ says the prophet Micah, ‘the Lord shall be a light unto me.’

I. ‘The Lord is my light.’—David’s was a life of great vicissitudes. His temperament, too, was of a kind which alternates between periods of great exhilaration and great depression. The Lord was his light, the light by which he saw things as they really were when the mists of passion and of self-love would fain have hidden them.

II. Jesus Christ was ‘the true Light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.’—He is light because He is what He is: absolute perfection in respect of intellectual truths; absolute perfection in respect of moral beauty. Hence those momentous words, ‘I am the Light of the world,’ and hence that confession of the Christian creed, ‘God of God, Light of Light.’

III. ‘The Lord is my light.’—Here is a motto for the Church of Christ. In the darkest time of the Church the darkness has never been universal, the sap never dried up; the tradition of light and warmth has been handed on to happier times, when her members could again say with something like truthful accord, ‘The Lord is my light.’

IV. Here, too, is a motto for Christian education.—One kind of education only is safe, one only deserves the name, and its governing principle is from age to age, ‘The Lord is my light.’

V. This is the motto of individual Christians.—In precisely the sense in which we can truthfully say these words, we are loyal to our Lord Jesus Christ.

—Canon Liddon.

Verse 11


‘Teach me thy way.’

Psalms 27:11

The map of life is a network of roads; and the broadest and those that present themselves most readily to the eye are not generally the best, and the narrow ones are very hard to find, while every heart is naturally bent to its own way—wayward.

I. Notice, first, the Teacher.—And here we find at once the Three Persons in the Trinity all uniting to make the one office of Teacher. David, addressing the Father, says ‘ Teach me to do Thy will’; of Christ Nicodemus bare witness, ‘We know that Thou art a Teacher come from God’; and of the Holy Ghost Christ Himself foretold it as His blessed office, ‘He shall teach you all things.’ So the teaching enshrines itself in Trinity.

II. The expression is not ‘Show me Thy way,’ but ‘Teach me Thy way.’—Showing may be an instantaneous act, but teaching is a process. We learn gradually; we learn by study; we learn by effort; we learn by discipline. It is no little thing you ask, and it is no little submission and work and faith that you commit yourself to, when you say to God, ‘Teach me Thy way.’

III. One of the most difficult things in life, and a difficulty often repeating itself, is a distinction between a leading providence and a temptation.—Never accept anything as a providence till you have asked God to throw light upon it, to show whether it be indeed of Him. You may, through the not seeing or through the not using all the answers which God will assuredly give you, make mistakes in life; but if you are diligent in the use of this little prayer, you may say, with David, ‘I shall not greatly err.’


‘When India was still heaving with the ground-swell of the terrible mutiny of 1857, the wife of Sir John Lawrence was called home to her children in England, and had to leave her husband worn out with the anxiety and labour which did so much for the preservation of the Indian Empire, unable to leave his post and surrounded by smouldering embers which might at any moment break out again into flame. She writes: “When the last morning (January 6th, 1858)—arrived, we had our usual Bible reading, and I can never think of the twenty-seventh psalm, which was the portion we then read together, without recalling that sad time.” In perusing the psalm one can see what springs of comfort must have opened in every verse from the beginning, “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?” to the close, “Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.” ’

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Bibliographical Information
Nisbet, James. "Commentary on Psalms 27". The Church Pulpit Commentary. 1876.