The 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?
When evildoers assail me
to devour my flesh-
my adversaries and foes-
they shall stumble and fall.
Though an army encamp against me,
my heart shall not fear;
though war rise up against me,
yet I will be confident.
One 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.
For 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.
Now my head is lifted up
above my enemies all around me,
and I will offer in his tent
sacrifices with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make melody to the Lord.
Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud,
be gracious to me and answer me!
"Come," my heart says, "seek his face!"
Your face, Lord, do I seek.
Do not hide your face from me.
Do not turn your servant away in anger,
you who have been my help.
Do not cast me off, do not forsake me,
O God of my salvation!
If my father and mother forsake me,
the Lord will take me up.
Teach me your way, O Lord,
and lead me on a level path
because of my enemies.
Do not give me up to the will of my adversaries,
for false witnesses have risen against me,
and they are breathing out violence.
I believe that I shall see the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord;
be strong, and let your heart take courage;
wait for the Lord!
from Psalm 27 (New Revised Standard Translation)
The psalmist's words from 2,600 years ago - perhaps longer - speak deeply today to people at risk as they did in antiquity.
Uncertainty and fear now are as commonplace as then even though the perils have changed. What might have been an invading neighboring tribe's army then might be another manmade disaster like a gushing, broken oil swell that threatens the livelihoods and way of life for millions.
We still need to hear and believe that God sets us high on a rock and our heads are lifted up above all the things seen and unseen that trouble us.
We are not just near peril, we are simultaneously in the presence of the most high God.
The psalmist offers the goodness and love of God given too all creation. We are reminded that God is accessible: "Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud, come, my heart says, seek God's face, and teach me your way, O Lord, and lead me on a level path."
Whatever our fears, whatever the threat, God promises not exemption, but comfort and guidance.
People seldom have enough patience, and waiting is never easy, but the memory passed on by hundreds of generations before us is the direct ancestral and tangible link to the hope so eloquently sung by the psalmists of the Bible.