Psalm 34:4-7 ESV
“I sought the Lord, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears.
Those who look to him are radiant,
and their faces shall never be ashamed.
This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him
and saved him out of all his troubles.
The angel of the Lord encamps
around those who fear him, and delivers them.”
What do you fear? Do you fear a virus? Death? Riots? Coups? Takeovers of nations? The “other” political party? Lies being spread? Persecution? Racial tensions? Joblessness? How you will survive? How you will pay your bills? Abandonment? Your own personal safety at risk? Loss of freedoms?
Are any of these real possibilities? Yes! Viruses are a part of life. Death is inevitable for all of us unless Jesus returns to take us all home. Factions, uprisings, and takeovers of nations have always happened, and they are prophesied in Scripture for these last days. Lies and deception are everywhere. Anarchy, too. And, financial crises are a fact of life, as well.
And, according to Scripture, things are not going to get better. They are going to get much worse. And, according to Scripture, we are called of God to suffer for the sake of the name of Jesus, and for the sake of the gospel, and for the sake of righteousness. But God is still in control!
So, what do you do? Well, worry is not an option. Have you ever known worry to ever make anything better? Has worry ever changed anything in your life for the good? If you fear anything, does it make it go away? Not usually. Fear only debilitates you, makes you sick physically and/or emotionally, and it paralyzes you so that you don’t trust God and you don’t move forward. Fear will keep you from obeying God.
So, what do you do? Well, the first thing is you pray. You call on God. You ask him for his counsel, for his guidance and for his help. You put your life in his hands, and you trust him with your circumstances. He is still King. He is still sovereign over all that he has made. None of what you are going through is a surprise to him. And, there isn’t anything he is not prepared to handle. So, rest in him, obey him, and trust him to work it all out.
And, accept the reality that we are not promised that everything in our lives is going to go in our favor. In fact, we are promised the opposite. Jesus never said that if we follow him that we are going to have everything we want, and that we will have no troubles or heartaches, and that everyone will love us. He just promised us that he would see us through it all.
So, who are we to fear? We are to fear God. If we don’t believe in Jesus, we are to fear for our lives, knowing that God is going to judge people and that many will spend eternity in the lake of fire.
If we are followers of Jesus, we have no reason to fear hell, but the fear we are to have for God is respect, honor, and obedience. It is to believe him, to take him seriously, and to believe that he will do the things he said he would do. And, it is to trust him with our lives, to leave our lives of sin behind us, and to go with Jesus wherever he takes us, one day at a time.
Psalm 34:8-10 ESV
“Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!
Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!
Oh, fear the Lord, you his saints,
for those who fear him have no lack!
The young lions suffer want and hunger;
but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.”
Yes! Again, trusting in the Lord doesn’t mean we will not have to suffer or that bad things will not happen to us. The goodness of God doesn’t mean we won’t have to go through trials and tribulations. For, we get to know the goodness of God when we learn to trust the Lord even in the hard times.
Yes! We are blessed of God when we put our trust in the Lord and when we take refuge in him, and when we don’t try to solve things ourselves or take refuge in what is sinful and in what is contrary to the Lord. When we give our circumstances over to the Lord, and we trust him through them, we will experience much peace and joy. For, he is in the driver’s seat, not us.
When we go through difficult times, but we trust the Lord, and we don’t give way to fear, we mature in our walks of faith, we grow closer to our Lord, we learn perseverance, we are humbled, we are being made holy, and we also learn love and compassion for others who are suffering, too.
Also, when we rest in the Lord through our trials, and we trust him, we are blessed of God in seeing how he works his perfect will through our circumstances for his glory and for our good and for the good of others, too.
Psalm 34:11-14 ESV
“Come, O children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
What man is there who desires life
and loves many days, that he may see good?
Keep your tongue from evil
and your lips from speaking deceit.
Turn away from evil and do good;
seek peace and pursue it.”
When we are faced with difficult circumstances, whatever they may be, we need to be those who get alone with God and who listen to his voice. So many times, as humans, we react first in the flesh, and then later we call on God. We need to be those who learn to step back immediately from what we are going through, and who talk with and listen to the Lord first.
And, yes, the Lord does use our trials to teach us the fear of the Lord. Amen! And, that is a good thing! We need to learn to treat God with honor, value, and respect and to obey him and to do what he says. We need to learn to listen to him more. And, honestly, sometimes that means we must go through tough stuff to get us to that place.
That is why the Bible says that God disciplines us for our good so that we may share with him in his holiness. And it says that it is painful, not pleasant, too. But it is to purify us, to prune us, to make us holy, to teach us to fear the Lord, to instruct us in the right ways, and to humble us, etc.
And, this is so that we will turn away from evil, and so that we will do good, and so that we will seek peace (the peace of God) and pursue it. This peace, though, is not the kind of peace the world gives or even what we may think of as peace, which may be the absence of conflict. This peace has to do with soundness of mind and completeness in Christ and our spiritual wholeness.
And, this only comes through surrender of our lives to Jesus Christ, the forsaking of our sinful lifestyles, the honoring of Jesus as Lord, and walks of obedience to our Lord and to his instructions to us, his saints.
And, all this is by God’s grace, through God-given faith in Jesus Christ, and in the empowerment of the Holy Spirit of God living within us, and not from ourselves.
So, if you are battling fear, trust God with your life, submit to his purposes, turn from any sin, and walk in obedience to his commands, and he will fill you with his peace. And, you will see how God will work all things out for the good of those who love (obey) him, who are called according to his purpose.
Light the Fire
Songwriter: Curtis Matthew Kirkwood
I stand to praise You
But I fall on my knees
My spirit is willing
But my flesh is so weak
Light the fire
In my soul
Fan the flame
Make me whole
Lord, You know
Just where I’ve been
So light the fire
In my heart again
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