“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).
Here is a very suggestive bit of scripture that I wish to consider with you because of its peculiar revelation of the triune God. It is the testimony of one who has had a revelation of Jehovah God. This revelation has penetrated to the deepest places of his life and, consequently, “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” There is added strength and value to the song because it bears vital personal testimony. He is happy to relate the reactions of his heart to the revelation and the unfolding of God in his inner life.
Let us pause here to recall a very important factor concerning our nature and makeup. In God’s creative plan or design for the human life or that of the individual, He made us reacting agents. That is, we are not automatons, nor are we purely subject to our environment and the law of heredity for our development. But we are free moral agents and continually react to all the outer and even inner stimulus by the power of choice we exercise. We are alive, and whether we consider the point purely from a natural or a spiritual approach, the fact is still there. We react to life. So is it a fact in regard to truth. We cannot ignore it and “make believe” we never heard it. There is either a positive reaction to truth that will bless, deliver, and create, or there is a negative reaction that thwarts, blinds, and eventually ends in death
Truth is a great classifier. God does not arbitrarily classify people into groups according to His personal likes, dislikes, and fancies. The eternal truth does that. The soul is brought into touch and into the presence of truth, and the soul reacts to it. Sometimes the power of the impact of truth is quite revolutionising when the soul gives complete control to its ministry. Our attitude toward truth is what counts. In the days of Christ it was truth that classified and grouped the people about Him. He loved all and desired to bless all, but the personal attitude — acceptance or rejection of truth — automatically puts each heart into its chosen group.
The lesson today is a simple analysis of one man’s reaction to a revelation. How are you reacting today to the wonderful revelation of God’s Word? One cannot remain the same after once facing truth and God’s unfolding of His heart and life. One must do something with the Word, and that is what counts.
Let us make an analogy between what this man found God to be to him and what God becomes in revelation to a soul today, centuries later. You will discover the revelation is threefold. God has become to him three things: light, salvation, and strength. This arrangement or unfolding is quite logical. He begins with that which is most essential or necessary — light.
Please note the possessive pronoun my. Had he said, “The Lord is light,” it would still be true, for God is light. That would be a statement of the general heritage of the children of God as light is the heritage of all men, but not all come into their portion so that it is an inheritance. Here he says, “The Lord is my light.” Many today say, “Christ is the Redeemer, He is the Saviour,” but that does not make Him a personal reality and a possession unless the man has met conditions that make Christ a personal Saviour.
The Revelation: “My Light”
It is quite in order that God is light first. In 1 John 1:5, we have a short descriptive definition of God: “God is light.” The first vocation of personality is expression. God is a living being, a dynamic personality. And since expression is a basic fact of His being, He has continually expressed himself in many, many forms and patterns.
Even in Genesis we find an intimation of this law of expression: “Let there be light” (1:3). Here is a dramatic and picturesque pattern (real for all who desire to confine it to merely a literal light), but deeper in meaning I am sure. Not until in verse fourteen do we find the sun appearing with our natural light. There is light in the universe aside from that given by our little sun. Here is a creative word of God. He is light in essence and nature and as such radiates and expresses himself; He penetrates the darkness and seeks to illuminate (John 1:4,5).
He comes as light to the natural man who is born in darkness. This light does two things: it reveals the need and also the remedy. It shows us our sin and also our Saviour. That is why the natural man, or sinner — anyone out of Christ — has no real sense of sin and failure. He may be conscious of manifestations and outward displays of sin, but he has no inner conviction and consciousness of sin itself as the root of the matter. Only the Spirit’s bringing light can do that.
So the first part of the revelation is light, and his reaction is a sense of need and unlikeness. How true with many of us! My greatest consciousness and conviction of sin came after God broke in upon my inner life. There was enough sense before that of sin and failure (quite surface in nature) to bring me to God. But only after He began to really shine in my heart did I become conscious of sin in nature and as a root of all unrighteousness and evil. As the light shone and God began to reveal himself, I discovered my utter unlikeness, and then was born a cry for a salvation to cover all, a cry that He would meet me in the deepest places of life.
The first phase of the revelation is “God is light.” It is God as the first member of the Trinity in dealing and discovery.
Man today needs above all things a rediscovery of God (of course as revealed in Christ). Man has built a world and a civilisation but left God out of the picture, and so finds himself in total darkness. And the darkness is dense and gross.
The Revelation: “My Salvation”
Here we find the desired sequel to the revelation of God as light, showing the need. Christ as Saviour next fills the soul. He is my salvation. Again note the possessive sense of the revelation. Here is the second member of the Trinity (God the on) making himself known in personal relationship.
And it is sweet to know that He, too, is light. “God [who is light] was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, etc. And again hear Him: “I am the light of the world.” All the light that characterised God in essence and power was personified and focused in full-orbed beauty and glory in the Son.
And now He is the Saviour. He has become the perfect answer to all the discovery of need in my life and yours made by the “inshining” Light. There is not a need or a sin in a life discovered by the all penetrating, searching, piercing light that the Saviour and His redemption cannot settle.
So he sings again not only of light (God) but now of salvation (the Christ).
The Revelation of “Strength”: The Holy Spirit
This revelation results in a new life. “Who has delivered us from the power of darkness, and has translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son.” Here he is in a new order — old things have passed away and, behold, all things are made new. He is thrilled to sense God in his life and now rejoices in Christ as a personal Saviour. He is filled with life, and if he has received the fulness of the Spirit, he is even more conscious of life and has a great desire to express it.
In order to teach one the necessity of having God’s power or the scriptural dynamic for the “outliving” of this new life, He has to let one fail sometimes when one tries to live the Christ life in the energy of the natural or human strength. This is only to bring the soul in touch with the third member of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, who is the strength of the new experience and life.
Since the Christian life cannot be lived victoriously in the strength and the power of the old Adamic equipment, God has made a wonderful provision for this in the Holy Spirit. That is why Christ was so careful to tell His followers to tarry until they should receive this gift of power (the strength of the new life). This mighty baptism or immersion in the Spirit became the dynamic power enabling them to live the life in the Spirit. There must be “strength of life,” and that beyond the natural man if the revelation is complete. This “strength of my life,” as the Psalmist sings, is the Holy Spirit’s ministry and life. Dear reader, how complete is your revelation of God? I do not mean how deep or how full, but have you the simple skeleton outline in truth?
The fellowship we sustain as Christians is threefold. It is so suggested here. To have a life in the Spirit that is symmetrical, balanced, and fruitful, one must cultivate and encourage the growth God desires in us. There is a phase of fellowship quite unto God — He is light. We do not reach the fulness of this revelation at once, nor do we stop at the first stage just because we find another phase of fellowship that centres about the Christ. We need to continue day by day and year by year the deeper and fuller unfoldings of God as Light.
Under what impact of truth are you living? There is some form or phase of light or truth that is influencing you today. You do or do not do certain things. Why? Well, because you know certain things are true and your life will be affected and changed according to your response and attitude. We are building a life; we are shaping a character to abide through the ages. There can be no higher or better vision to behold than God. Get God in the picture. Put Him first. Focus your vision upon Him, even as He is revealed in the lovely Christ, and note the transforming power it will have as you yield to the drawing and fascinating power of His person and love.
What have you done with the lovely truth you last heard? What power has it had beyond warming your heart or stirring your emotions? How far has the light penetrated? To be conscious of light is one thing, and to have it minister to you is another. Look with the Psalmist again and trust God to make his testimony yours in all its fulness. He is my light, my salvation, and the strength of my life.
John Wright Follette (1884-1966)