Saturday, 11 May 2019
Here we have a quote from Psalm 118:6 –
The same sentiment is also reflected in Psalm 27:1.
The author has just stated in the previous verse, “For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’” It is with that thought in mind that he next jubilantly proclaims, “So we may boldly say.”
If the Lord is with us, and if He will never leave us nor forsake us, then our conduct shouldn’t be that of timidity, but of boldness. That includes the words we speak. The author is spurring the reader on in his words to a state of confident boldness. In this, he then reaches back to the psalm, as noted above, and says, “The Lord is my helper.”
Why would we be covetous, and why would we walk in a state of discontentment? Whatever our state is, it is because the Lord has ordained it. For example, we are all destined to die. Why would we fear death if the Lord has already gone ahead of us through that door? Rather, the author continues the quote with, “I will not fear.”
This should be the attitude of the believer in any situation. If death, which is the end of this life, is not to be feared, then why should we fear any part of the life we live prior to death? Our trust in God is not a dubious grasp on something that may or may not be worked out for our best interest. Rather, because Christ Jesus is God’s Son, and because we are in Christ, we are God’s children through adoption. As His children, He is there for us, He is watching over us, and He will protect us as a Father. This is the reason for the final words, “What can man do to me?”
The answer for those who look to this world as the sum total of our existence is, “A whole lot.” Man can take our possessions, he can harm our family, he can physically hurt us or even kill us. But those things are a part of a temporary existence for the believer.
This verse is not a statement guaranteeing that believers will be immune from any of these things. It is a statement that transcends them. We will face these things in varying degrees, but they are not an indication of the Father’s failure to care for us. They are a part of what the Father has allowed in order to mold us for the life which is truly life.
Psalm 118 is a victorious psalm which speaks of the coming Messiah. Because that psalm is being applied to us because of Jesus’ victory, we have absolute assurance that no thing, no person, no trial, and no temptation can hold us down. In fact, we should say with confidence that it is Jesus who stands with us, and because of that, we will not be afraid. It is this thought which has allowed people to undergo torture and martyrdom without disowning Christ. The early Christian martyr named Polycarp was given a chance to disown Christ and confess Caesar as lord, but he stood firm instead –
“Eighty-six years have I been His servant, and He has done me no wrong. How then can I blaspheme my King who saved me? … You threaten me with fire which burns for an hour, and after a little is extinguished, but are ignorant of the fire of the coming judgment and of eternal punishment, reserved for the ungodly. But why do you tarry? Bring forth what you will.”
Although most of us probably won’t face being burned at the stake, whatever trials you do face – large or small – remember that the Lord is your confidence and so you should never be afraid of what lies ahead.
Yes Lord, You are our great confidence in a world which is lacking reason. Give us the ability to stand fast in Your great comfort when times become difficult or even hostile. May You receive the glory You are due for having provided us with such a sure and great salvation. Amen.