Let’s do some study on Psalm 27 1 meaning. We start with the title of Psalm 27, which is simply…
KJV Psalm 27:1 <A Psalm of David.>
That doesn’t give us much help in finding the context of this psalm – besides knowing that David wrote it.
Psalm 27 1 Meaning – The Septuagint’s Heading
But what’s interesting is that in the Septuagint – the Greek translation of the Old Testament written about 300 BC from which Jesus and the apostles often quoted – in that version of Scripture the title is just slightly different. It reads, “A psalm of David before he was anointed.”
Psalm 27 1 Meaning – David’s Three Anointings
And David was actually anointed three times. The first time was when Samuel the prophet came to his father’s house and anointed him king of Israel in 1 Samuel 16.
But he didn’t become king right away. And in fact, when he was anointed the second time in 2 Samuel 2 he was anointed as king over only Judah – not all Israel.
Then his third anointing was finally as king over all Israel in 2 Samuel 5.
Psalm 27 1 Meaning – The Third Anointing
So, we ask ourselves, “which anointing is the title in the Septuagint speaking of?” Was this psalm written before Samuel came to David? Or was it written after that but before David was anointed King over just Judah? Or was it written after that but before David was anointed king over all Israel?
I think it’s most likely before David was anointed king over all Israel.
Psalm 27 1 Meaning – Entered the Tabernacle
David is able to speak of entering the tabernacle – which would not have been possible for him to do before he was king of Judah – because he was being pursued by King Saul. At that point David wasn’t entering the tabernacle or Jerusalem at all. He was hiding in the desert.
So, I think that’s our context. This is a psalm written after David was anointed king of Judah and before he was anointed king of Israel.
And here’s what this man in transition wants to express concerning his Confidence in God’s Protection from Enemies.
The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?
the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
Psalm 27 1 Meaning – Fear
David asks two questions in this verse. They both involve fear.
And they are rhetorical questions – questions asked – not for an answer – but for an effect.
The effect that David is achieving through these questions is bold confidence in God. You can imagine David asking these questions with a bit of holy boasting.
And that’s because David knows that he needs fear no one and nothing.
But how has he come to be convinced of that – that he has nothing to fear? Because – after all – David’s life was filled with persons and events that would naturally cause him to fear.
The answer to that question is found in this same verse. It has to do with the Lord’s protection of David.
Psalm 27 1 Meaning – The LORD is my light
David proclaims that the Lord is his light.
Let’s think about natural physical light for a moment.
Without light, you cannot see the path ahead of you. The result will often be that you stumble and fall. You are in danger if you’re walking around in an area that has no light.
Light allows you to see clearly in order that you might avoid harmful things. It illumines your path to help you get where you know you ought to go.
And David says that the Lord is like that for him. The Lord protects him from danger. The Lord guides him into the right paths.
That’s why he doesn’t fear. The Lord is guiding him.
Psalm 27 1 Meaning – My salvation;
And not only is the Lord guiding David. He’s also protecting him.
The Lord is David’s salvation.
When we speak of salvation, we often consider the spiritual aspect of it – of being saved or delivered or rescued from our sin. And David did know that reality.
But in the context of Psalm 27, David is speaking of the physical aspect of salvation – physical deliverance or rescue.
And of course, salvation in the physical sense in David’s life took on the form of being rescued from armies, individuals, and even animals who were determined to destroy him. David experienced this salvation from a bear, and a lion, and Goliath, and the Philistines and the list goes on and on.
And most of the time this salvation came about through the means of David’s sword or other personal means that he exercised. And yet, David here is confessing that this was all ultimately of the Lord. The Lord is his salvation.
Psalm 27 1 Meaning – The LORD is the strength of my life
David also confesses that the Lord is the strength of his life.
The word strength in this verse often refers to a fortress or a similar stronghold. And David is inviting us to consider what a fortress is like.
A fortress is strong. Impenetrable. No one can get in who is not authorized. And thus a fortress protects the lives of its inhabitants.
And that’s how David is picturing the Lord. He is the one who protects David’s life.
And for these reasons – for the fact that God guides and delivers and protects David – he will fear no one.
And let that be our confidence today as well. Let us fear no one and nothing as we consider God’s guidance and protection in our lives.
Back to our Psalm 27 Commentary.