A Fortress of Faith

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? Ps 27:1

A believer is to be known not only for his peace and joy; but by his warfare in distress. Robert Murray McCheyne


If you are a Christian, you are engaged in war. The moment you placed your faith in Jesus, you became a soldier in the army of God. When you believed you not only gained a wonderful Friend, you gained a terrible enemy. He has declared an all-out war upon your faith and your joy in Jesus. Peter describes his nature as one who “prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” He is a liar and a murderer. He seeks to rob Christians of their faith, and if he can, rob them of their very life. His ultimate goal is not to destroy us, but God’s glory. He will use any ruse, any tactic, any ploy to trick us into relinquishing our faith and trust in God.  

Although the devil is dangerous, he is chained. He is God’s devil. He can only do what God permits him to do. God amazingly uses the devil’s works in the life of the believer to bring Himself glory and the believer joy. But, for the one surrounded by enemies, it is easy to forget that truth. The devil knows that and so he tries to intimidate us to the point that fear drives out faith. And, when faith goes, so does joy. But, God has given us his Word as a weapon, precisely to enable us to defeat the lies of our enemies. When we hide God’s Word in our hearts, the devil cannot devour our faith. 

Psalm 27 is a great friend to all of us who find ourselves in battle. It is a mighty sword in the hands of a man or woman of faith. Each line is like a powerful stroke that severs the sinews of the devil’s arguments. David, the author, is surrounded by real enemies. Because he is a man after God’s own heart, he turns to the Lord for help. Although the assault comes from outside, his battle, like ours, is won or lost on the inside. This psalm provides powerful truths that the Spirit of God will help us apply to our circumstances. It is our hope that these devotions will be used by our Lord to train us in the art of spiritual warfare that will honor Christ and protect our faith and joy in Jesus.


The psalm is divided into three sections. Verses 1-7 contain a declaration of confidence based upon David’s trust in God, his stronghold. In these verses, God is described in the third person. In verses, 7-12, David cries out to God in prayer. His need is great and urgent, so he speaks directly to God. This section reveals a common tendency found in Scripture, where you first find the Word of God being declared and then it is followed up with a sudden prayerful response. Psalm 23 is a prime example: After speaking of God’s greatness to him [“The Lord is my Shepherd,” “he leads beside still waters,” etc.], spoken in the third person, he spontaneously breaks forth into direct conversation with God [“though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me…”] As you listen to the words of this psalm, I would be surprised and disappointed if the power of its liberating truth does not inspire the same kind of response in you. The third section, verses 13-14, is a concluding commitment to trust God even if it means he must wait for an extended time before final deliverance. Take time now to ask the Lord to speak liberating truth to you as you devour this armory of battle resources.   


“The Lord is my light…” In our introduction [See Psalm 27 #1] to this devotional, I described a very dark time in my life. I was hit by a series of dark and devastating storms that threatened my faith and joy in Christ. I was in great darkness.. Darkness signifies confusion, frustration, anxiousness and the fear of loss. Without light we do not know where to place our next step. We cannot see where danger lies. We cannot see where to go to find help. If the darkness is complete, we are paralyzed. That is why the devil is called the Prince of Darkness. Paul described his ways like this: “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” [2 Cor 4:3-4] He seeks to ruin our lives by making us blind to the beauty and bounty that is found in the gospel of the glory of Christ. He seeks to blind believers through temptations that are built on lies and deception. He utilizes both pain and pleasures to rob us of the joy that is promised in Christ Jesus our Lord. 

Darkness is simply, the absence of light. Our Lord is the light that dispels all darkness. Psalm 36:9 says, “In your light we see light.” Light has to do with truth. It has to do with guidance. In times of darkness we cannot see with our earthly eyes, so we are tempted to fear. But, God comes to us with liberating truth. In God there is no darkness. Nothing is hidden from God. He not only rules over all, he knows all. There are no surprises to him. Although it seems like he is far off, he is present, behind the curtains, directing all things, even using the evil schemes of the devil to bring him glory and us good.

God brings us light when we feel helpless and our cause seems hopeless. Truth is not first about feeling but about facts. God speaks in the form of written promises to give us light. “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you.” God is personally speaking to us, giving us solid reason to stand and hope. As we hear him speak in his Word, as we stand upon his promises by faith, as we seek his help in prayer, our eyes are opened to the “armies of God” that surround us and we are strengthened with the power of God. 

“The Lord is my salvation”: Rom 8:31-32, reminds us of an awesome truth: “If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all — how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” Paul is giving encouragement to all who feel overwhelmed by the fury of the enemy. There are times when we feel like we are all alone. We may even think that our situation is so unique that we are an exception to God’s rule. We are not! God is our deliverer. If we need proof, look at the cross. Paul uses an argument that moves from the great to the smaller. If God will give us the most precious gift in the most costly way, won’t he give us everything else we need? That is the thought. We can be assured that God’s glory is at stake in our deliverance so we can say with David, “the Lord is my salvation.” 

“The Lord is the stronghold of my life.” A stronghold was a place of safety. It was usually built on a high point that had the advantage of sight and gravity. High above the enemy, the army in the stronghold could see and prepare for the tactical movements of the enemy. In battle it was always more effective to fire projectiles downward rather than upward. Attacking forces had to fight the fatigue of the climb, while dodging the hostile fire. Built upon a rock, reinforced by thick walls, and supplied by springs deep within the earth, the people in a stronghold could hold out against a much larger army for a very long time.

That is the thought behind David’s metaphor. Our God is a stronghold, a place of safety. Proverbs 18:10, says it like this: “The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.” When we run to the Lord we are safe from human enemies and spiritual forces. We know the schemes of the enemy. Our weapons have the fire of the Spirit of God upon them. We are secure in the strong walls of God’s promises. And, we have divine resources that continually spring up from deep within our souls.

So, God is our light, our deliverer and our stronghold. Although we are in a battle, we need not fear. The Lord has infinitely more than we will need to win the fight for faith. Let me end this devotional with the wise words of Mathew Henry: “We must not think the worse of him [God] or his ways for the hardships we meet in his service. There is enough in God to furnish us with matter of joy in the worst circumstances on earth….Joy in God is a duty of great consequence in the Christian life; and Christians need to be again and again called to it.” So, even though the battle rages around you, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” [Psalm 37:4]. That is the secret of winning. Keep your eyes of faith fixed upon the beauty and bounty of Jesus.