“The Lord is my light and my salvation.” Is not that beautiful? “The Lord is the strength of my life, of whom shall I be afraid?” Why does the Apostle Paul tell us to rejoice? Things were going badly with him when he wrote Philippians, but he is not afraid. If he is not afraid, we are not to be afraid. The Psalmist was not afraid, though there was the wicked one, enemies, war. Because the Lord was light, the Lord was salvation, the Lord was strength: Why should he be afraid?
But if there is anything else in which your confidence is placed, failure will follow. Your confidence should be in the Lord. If in the Lord, He will prove sufficient no matter what the circumstances may be; we are only a poor feeble people, so our joy and strength and confidence must be in the Lord alone. He will prove sufficient whatever happens, and if we tell Him our troubles, He will give us the peace that passes understanding. “One thing” engaged Paul, “one thing” the Psalmist desired. “One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in His temple.” Is that what we desire? Is that what we seek after? We may be very nice Christians, speaking after the manner of men, and know very little, or nothing, of “beholding the beauty of the Lord.”
It is everything to have the Lord before us. You need not isolate yourself; if you are in school, at work or at home, or anywhere else, you can get alone with the Lord. The great lack today is we so little dwell in the presence of God, so as to see the beauty of the Lord.
Then we are to “enquire in His temple.” It is the place of light where we get guidance. Why is it that one Christian says a thing is right, and another says it is wrong? It is just this, one or other of them is not in the light of the temple. It is not enough to have Scripture at our finger-ends. We may be well up in our Bibles, may know our Bible wonderfully, and still know nothing about guidance in a difficulty. We must get into the presence of God if we are to get real understanding of the Scriptures and light from God as to our path. Differences of judgment are because we dwell so little in the presence of God, and we are so much formed by one another. We run to one another and say, “What do you think about this?” and “What do you think about that?” We must get alone, the door shut—the door of our hearts, these poor foolish hearts of ours that go out here and there—that God may speak to us, like Mary sitting at the feet of Christ, and hearing His word, that God may make His mind clear to us. That is what the Apostle Paul did. He dwelt so in the presence of God that he had the mind of God in a wonderful way when many were otherwise minded. He was in a time of trouble, but nothing troubled him, nothing made him afraid.
The Psalmist said, I will offer in Thy tabernacle sacrifices of joy. Why? Because he was in the presence of God. In spite of the difficulties, in spite of the enemies he could rejoice and sing. In myself I am a poor thing, and I need the Lord every day and every moment of my life, and I cannot get on without Him. Glorious as my position is in Christ, glorious as the prospect is before me, yet in myself I am a poor thing; so, feeling my weakness and the condition of things I turn to God, not being able to bear them alone, and I pray, “Teach me Thy way, O Lord, and lead me in a plain path because of mine enemies.” We are such poor things, and we need Him every moment. Whoever forsakes us—and the dearest may forsake—yet the Lord will be sufficient. “Wait on the Lord be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.” If we get into the secret of God, if we get alone with Him, so that He can speak to us and we can hear His whisper, then He comforts our hearts with His complete superiority to everything, and then we can turn to others and say, Be of good courage. Do not fear. If you trust in man, be afraid. If you are trusting in circumstances, be afraid. If you are trusting in some grand things that are going to happen, be afraid; but if you have got the Lord before you, you need not fear. Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thy heart. Wait, I say, on the Lord, be much with Him, and know what it is to be shut in with Him, and hear His voice, in that region, so to speak, where the voice of man does not penetrate, and then we can be strong for God in this scene, and invite others to be of good courage, because the Lord is the Lord, and nothing can disturb Him.