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. Psalms 27:1
Developing an argument and supporting it with evidence is a writing standard required for all high school students. My sophomore AP world history students struggle with developing this skill. We spend much of our year breaking down writing prompts to determine what is being asked and then developing a claim, or historical argument, to address the prompt. Students not only have to state a claim, they have to give reasons why they are making that claim. Then for each reason for their claim needs to be supported with evidence. On top of all that, their argument needs to be securely wrapped in the proper context of time and space like a Christmas present in shiny red and green paper under the tree.
Psalms 27: 1-6 is a proclamation of why I should not be afraid. In today’s vernacular, it is an argumentative essay for not fearing anyone or anything. The writer states his claim, gives his reasons and then supports them with evidence.
In verse one, the Psalmist states his claim. In other words, he makes his argument. He writes his thesis addressing the question of why should I not be afraid? His answer, “The Lord is my Light and Salvation…The Lord is the stronghold of my life.” The Psalmist is arguing that he doesn’t have to fear because God is his light, salvation and stronghold. He doesn't fear because of God.
Following the formula for all good argumentative essays, the writer then provides reasons why his claim is true. He states he is not afraid because with God he is protected, concealed, and lifted up.
Next, he supports these reasons with evidence. His enemies stumble. He has confidence even when he is surrounded by enemies. He is hidden from those who wish him harm. He has the best defensive position of the high ground in battle. He has protective shelter.
All teachers know that in order to score well the last piece all essays need is a conclusion. To end well, an argument needs to provide the reader with a reason why it is important. The argument needs to be tied together at the end. I continually ask my students, “So, what?” “Why is it important?” “What is the result?” An essay is not complete without an ending, just like a present is incomplete without a bow or a court case without concluding arguments.
The bow at the end of Psalms 27:6 is the effect of living without fear: praise. The writer says I am not afraid because God is my light, salvation and stronghold. Because I am concealed, protected and lifted up, I will praise Him. I am not afraid because of God and because of this I will praise Him.
Let's think about us.
What or whom are you afraid of today? What fear has frozen you?
Speak the argument made in Psalms 27:1-6 over your heart today. Substitute the words “evildoers”, “adversaries”, “foes” and “enemies” for the specific names of the people, worries, fears or circumstances that are encircling you.
Then, praise God for the protection and victory He will provide.
Between a husband, 2 sons, and teaching high school my sanity is found in running and Starbucks. I have a circle of running friends who inspire me to be authentic and real as I live a life of faith before them.