Psalms 34:1-3 ESV
“I will bless the Lord at all times;
his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul makes its boast in the Lord;
let the humble hear and be glad.
Oh, magnify the Lord with me,
and let us exalt his name together!”
Life has its ups and downs. Some days are better than others. Some days we probably wish we had never had but we can’t take them back. And so we move on. Trials come and trials go, but they test our faith, and they test our resolve to remain committed to the Lord and to his service despite what is being thrown our way. So, they are ultimately for our good, although they can be very painful at times.
So, no matter what we are going through, in good times and in bad, we are to keep praising the Lord, and we are to keep speaking of him and of his goodness to us and of his lovingkindness in sending Jesus, the only begotten Son of God, to die on a cross for our sins. We are to be thankful for his grace, that he would love us enough to die for us so that we could die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness, in the power of God.
For, he didn’t have to do that. He is God. He could have just destroyed us all or not even created us to begin with. He could have just let us destroy our own selves, actually. For that is what happens when we reject his great salvation. That is what happens even if we say we believe in him but then we do not honor him, and we do not follow him in obedience. For we then choose hell over heaven because we would not submit to God.
But because he loves us he sacrificed his life for us on that cross. He took upon himself all of our sins, putting them to death with him, so that by faith in him we would be crucified with him in death to sin and be resurrected with him to newness of life in him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. And because he loves us he provided for us the possibility of being set free from our slavery to sin by faith in him.
[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:19-20; 2 Co 5:15; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:22-25; 1 Jn 1:5-9; Rom 12:1-2; Eph 2:8-10; 1 Co 15:58; Php 2:12-13; Col 1:21-23]
Psalms 34:4-5 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.”
The Lord Jesus not only delivers us from our slavery to sin when we trust in him to be Lord and Savior of our lives, but he delivers us from all things having to do with our sinful flesh, including fear. Now, this is not to say that we will never experience the feeling of fear again, but that by the grace of God we no longer have to live under the control of fear. We can be free from its power over us through resting in Jesus and in trusting him with our lives.
Early on in my life I did not get this, for I was raised by an extremely abusive father who definitely instilled fear within me. Even though I knew in my mind that God was fully sovereign over all things, my emotions did not catch up with that, and I think it is because I didn’t really believe it in the depths of my emotions, for I lived under the authority of a man who drove fear within us. So, I struggled with fearful thoughts for a long while.
What I learned from that experience is that life is going to be hard. We are going to suffer. Things will not be fair. People will treat us badly. And being afraid of any of it or what might happen to us never takes those situations away from us. They just make them worse because now we are adding fear to what we are already suffering. Worry never changes anything, but it just makes us sick inside which then just adds more misery to our lives.
So, a big part of overcoming fear is in understanding that there are just things that are out of our control. We cannot live our lives in the “what ifs.” None of us knows what tomorrow holds for us. And being afraid of whatever may come our way doesn’t resolve anything. And it doesn’t change our circumstances. We can’t control what others will do to us or say about us, so we have to give all of our circumstances over to God and let God be God.
But Satan loves to try to make us afraid, so he will try to instill fear in our hearts and minds by suggesting all kinds of things to us and by putting obstacles in our way and by having others treat us badly and by throwing all kinds of fearful thoughts out there for us to ponder. And so we have a choice. We can yield to the fear, and only make things worse, or we can trust in the sovereignty of God and turn our situations over to him.
So, this is where we need to daily put on that armor of God, by applying its truths to our lives and by putting them into practice, like in countering lies with the truth, and countering the temptation to fear with faith, and countering hate with love, and “what ifs” with reality, etc. For Satan is going to make all kinds of suggestions to our minds to try to get us to back down and to run away out of fear of what will happen if we keep trusting in God.
Psalms 34:6-7 ESV
“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.”
The Lord does not always deliver us physically from our difficulties. He does not always physically save us from our troubles. The troubles may continue, and they may last a lifetime. So, if we are praying for our difficulties to disappear and for us to have no troubles at all, and if we don’t get the answer we hoped for, it may cause us to lose faith. But look at the life of Jesus and the lives of the apostles. They all had many hardships.
And read the Scriptures and what they teach on the subject of suffering, for the Scriptures are clear that suffering is part of the Christian life, both in us dying with Christ to sin and in daily going through all kinds of stuff such as sickness, mistreatment, heartaches, disappointments, and persecutions, and the like. But what he promises to deliver us from and to save us from are the impacts of that suffering on our lives, if we will rest in him.
And by that I mean that he will deliver us from the fear of our circumstances, and he will rescue us from the possibility of it all disheartening and discouraging us to the point to where we want to give up or retreat in fear, etc. If we call on him in faith, he will give us all the strength and courage we need to endure unjust suffering and the trials of this life and to continue to grow in him and to live for him for eternity.
[Rom 5:3-5; Phil 3:7-11; 1 Pet 1:6-7; 1 Pet 4:12-17; 1 Thess 3:1-5; Jas 1:2-4; Matt 5:10-12; Lu 21:12-19; 2 Co 1:3-11; Heb 12:3-12]
I Will Wait for You (Psalm 130)
By Jordan Kauflin, Keith Getty, Matt Merker, & Stuart Townend
Out of the depths I cry to You
In darkest places I will call
Incline Your ear to me anew
And hear my cry for mercy, Lord
Were You to count my sinful ways
How could I come before Your throne
Yet full forgiveness meets my gaze
I stand redeemed by grace alone
I will wait for You
I will wait for You
On Your word, I will rely
I will wait for You
Surely wait for You
Till my soul is satisfied..
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