Overcoming Fear (Psalm 49:5) - Radical

Overcoming Fear (Psalm 49:5)

Why should I fear in times of trouble when the iniquity of those who cheat me surrounds me?
– Psalm 49:5

I love the way the psalmist here is asking questions of himself, looking within and saying to himself, why are you thinking this way? Why are you desiring this way? Why are you acting this way? Specifically, why are you afraid in times of trouble?

Psalm 49:5 Pictures the Psalmist Struggling with Fear

And I just want to encourage you to stop today and ask a similar question in your life. What do you fear in your life? I did an exercise recently with a group of people and we just stopped and said, how many of us struggle with fear? And so many people admitted to struggling persistently with fear of a variety of different things. And whether we would say we struggle with fear or not, the reality is we’re all prone to fear certain things.

So I would just ask you to consider today, what do you fear? If you had to identify things you either struggle with fear over or things you are prone to fear, what comes to your mind? And for the psalmist here in Psalm 49, the picture is fear in times of trouble. Fear over what’s going to happen. Fear specifically over what others might do to him or threaten to do to him. We see this at different places in the Psalms. People fearing as they consider what others might do to them because others can do a lot of harm to us.

The picture of Psalm 49:5 is they can cheat you, they can surround you, they can accuse you, they can attack you, they can slander you, they can work for your ruin. There’s all kinds of things that people can do to you, but the psalmist continually comes back to the truth that Romans 8 makes most clear.

If God is for me then I don’t have to be afraid. Who can stand against me if God is for me? Earlier in Romans 8 we read that we have not received a spirit that makes us a slave to fear, but we’ve received the spirit of sonship. By him we call, Abba, Father. The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children and if we’re his children, we’re his heirs, heirs with God and co-heirs with Christ.

Psalm 49:5 Is a Declaration of Trust in God

The whole picture in Romans 8 is when you realize you’re a child of God, you realize you don’t have to be afraid. His love for us. This is what 1st John teaches us. His perfect love for us casts out fear. So God, we pray today in light of fears we have in our lives, in light of things we’re prone to fear, God, open our eyes to things that we are fearing right now in our lives.

Help us to examine our hearts in this way and then to ask ourselves as the psalmist does, why should I be afraid when we remember who we are, your children. You’re our God. You are with us. You are for us. Your Spirit is in us, a spirit of sonship by which we can come before you and cry out to you as our Father. You, the omnipotent, sovereign ruler over all are with us, for us, and we are in your family and we have an inheritance coming that will last forever and ever.

O God, we praise you for delivering us from fear. And so we pray that in our lives. Help us to live today free from fear. God, we pray for people who don’t have the spirit of sonship, who haven’t yet trusted in the one who has conquered sin and death and the grave. People who haven’t even heard about him.

Praying for the Ath Pahariya People

O God, we pray for the Ath Pahariya people of Nepal who’ve yet to be reached by the good news of the one who’s conquered sin and death and the grave, who is with us and for us, for all who trust in Jesus. God, we pray for the spread of the gospel to the Ath Pahariya people of Nepal, that they might be delivered from all fear for all eternity. O God, we praise you for freedom from fear. Help us to live in that freedom today. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

David Platt serves as a pastor in metro Washington, D.C. He is the founder of Radical.

David received his Ph.D. from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and is the author of Don’t Hold Back, Radical, Follow MeCounter CultureSomething Needs to ChangeBefore You Vote, as well as the multiple volumes of the Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary series.

Along with his wife and children, he lives in the Washington, D.C. metro area.


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