In addition to Psalm 27:1, we have to go to the New Testament to find a good parallel between God and light. When we do we find that there "light” is a name for Jesus Christ: "The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. . . . The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world" (John 1:5, 9). John, who makes this identification, also says, "God is light; in him there is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5).

Psalm 27 is one of the best known and most comforting psalms in the Psalter. But it is hard to know whether it is chiefly a psalm of confidence, written against the dark background of David's many enemies, or whether it is chiefly a lament in which David cries out for help against implacable foes. The reason for the confusion is obvious. The first half of the psalm (vv. 1-6) exudes confidence. The second half (vv. 7-14) is a very moving prayer.

During World War II a young soldier from a very wealthy and sophisticated Philadelphia family became a Christian, and when his time of service was over and he was about to go home he expressed concern that his old acquaintances would soon draw him back into the immoral life he had led before entering the army. His pastor advised him to give a testimony concerning his conversion to the first ten of his old friends he should meet. "If you speak about Jesus, either they will become converted themselves or they will drop you; you will not have to drop them,” he was told.

Well, the problem of separating from evildoers may be both difficult and delicate, but it is obviously not unsolvable since there is a kind of separation recommended in this psalm. What is it? Like every other similar passage in Scripture, it is a separation based, not on a sense of our being better than others but of not being good enough to survive in such company. Jesus had no trouble in his associations with sinners, because he was not one of them. We are sinners and do have trouble. So, although we will be in the world and will associate with sinners daily for the gospel's sake (we can hardly avoid it), we will not "consort with" or otherwise appear to condone those whose lives are openly opposed to God's truth or morality.

The way of the righteous, which David claims to have been following, is outlined in verses 3-8. But verse 2 has something important to contribute to it. In that verse David asks God to examine both his "heart" and his "mind." In other words, in order to walk in a right way David must be both instructed in God's truth and be born again, which is the only way anyone ever acquires a heart that wants to go in God's paths. He needs to know the way, but he also needs to want to follow it. These two ideas carry over into verse 3, for the idea of heart desire is preserved in the word "love," and the idea of mind instruction is echoed in the word "truth”: “for your love is ever before me, and I walk continually in your truth.”