“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise. In God, I trust. I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me?”
I love these two verses for so many different reasons, so let me point out a couple of them and then lead us to pray accordingly. So verse three, says, “When I am afraid.” So the psalmist is acknowledging, “I’ve a reason to be afraid. There are people who are surrounding me,” right before this in verse two, the psalmist says, “Enemies are trampling on me all day long. Many are attacking me proudly.” So he’s legit afraid and there are times when we have a reason for fear in a sense in this world, where we find ourselves afraid. Even the very end in verse four, the psalmist says, “What can flesh do to me?” When you think about it, flesh can do a lot to you. There’s a lot that people can do to hurt you. I can think of all kinds of things people could do to hurt you or me. So, there’s in that sense, reason for fear in this world. So, “When I am afraid … ” and what does the psalmist do? When we face fear, what must we do?
When you are tempted to be afraid, fill your mind and your heart with promises from God’s word.
“When I am afraid,” verse three says, “I put my trust in you.” So when you are afraid, lift your eyes to God and say, “I trust in you.” Because when we have our eyes fixed on the things that are happening around us in the world, or things that man or woman can do to us, then there’s a reason for fear, but not when we lift our eyes to the Lord and God, “Whose word I praise.” What about that phrase? “I praise God’s word.” Why does he praise His word? Because His word is filled with promises that can help us overcome fear. His word is filled with promises like Romans, chapter eight. “If God is for us, who can be against us?” Fill your mind and your heart, when you are tempted to be afraid, with promises from God’s word, with the truth of God’s word, that His purposes will prevail, that man or woman’s purpose will not prevail. God’s purpose will prevail.
So we lift our eyes to God. We lift our eyes to His word and we trust in Him and His word. And then listen to verse four, “In God whose word I praise, in God I trust. I shall not be afraid.”
Don’t you love that? Verse three said, “When I’m afraid.” Verse four says, “I shall not be afraid.” So when I’m afraid, I won’t be afraid. How do you get from when I am afraid, to I will not be afraid? Here’s how, you put your trust in God. You praise His word and you trust that He is all that His word says He is.
So God, we pray that right now, I pray for every single one of us amidst fears we are prone to have, in a sense to legitimately have in this world of sin and sorrow and suffering and death, there are all kinds of things God, we confess that we might fear. Help us to, even right now, bring those things to mind. And as we look in the face of those fears to lift our eyes to you and to say, “We trust you, oh God. We trust you with our lives. We trust you with our families. We trust you with our jobs. We trust you with our possessions. We trust you with everything.”
And when we trust in you and we praise your word, God, we praise your word, your truth about who you are, your promises that you’ve given us to stand on that overcome fear. So that we might say with Paul and Romans, “If you are for us, who can be against us?” Even your promise, right before that in Romans 8:28, that you’re working all things together for the good of those who love you, we trust in you, oh God. And as we trust in you, we say together, “We will not be afraid.”
Jesus, we praise you for delivering us from all fear, for your perfect love for us, that casts out fear. God, we praise you for your love, your power, your grace, your mercy, your word. As we fix our eyes on you amidst all sorts of fears in this world, we say together Psalm 56 in prayer, “We trust in you and we shall not be afraid.” In Jesus’ name, in the name of the one who has conquered sin and death and the grave.
In Jesus’ name, the name of our victor and savior and Lord who lives within us. In Jesus’ name we pray. We shall not be afraid. Amen.
View the 2021 McLean Bible Church Reading Plan here.