Today Let us take a closer look at Psalm 56.
The other day my family went for a walk in our neighborhood. While we were walking, we came across a stray dog. This dog was beautiful, it flopped around like a playful puppy, and was friendly. Campbell, my oldest daughter, was so excited to meet this dog. It greeted us and then eventually ran off. A few minutes later we witnessed this same dog go after a duck in our neighborhood and unfortunately the duck was caught by this dog. Campbell’s feeling of excitement turned quickly to fear towards this dog. Campbell immediately clung onto me and asked me to hold her, in fear that the dog may come after her too. I held Campbell tight in my arms and assured her with my words that I would not let that dog come near her. Campbell’s fear went away while she was in my arms and while I promised to protect her.
I tell you this story because David tells us how he deals with fear once again. He transfers his fear into trust in God. Just like Campbell transferred her fear of the dog to trusting in me to protect her from the dog.
Look at the progression in verses 3-4. David says “when I am afraid, I put my trust in you.” Not “if” I am afraid but “when.” He places his trust in, “God whose, word I praise.” He goes from “when I am afraid”….”I trust in God”..to…”I shall not be afraid.” Do you see the progression here? His fear is diminished by trusting in God.
Jump down to verse 9-10. David says, “This I KNOW, THAT GOD IS FOR ME.” and then he says again, “In God whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me.”
There is so much that is good in these few verses that helps us in the midst of fear. Let me just encourage you with a couple of truths here. Humans naturally respond in the midst of fear to place their trust in something else. Think about it: people run to find shelter in which they trust to protect them, people run to a habit or an addiction in which they trust to help ease the burden of fear for a few minutes, people run to other people in whom they trust to protect them. In the midst of fear we always transfer our fear to trust in something; what is it that you transfer you fear to? David says, “When I am afraid I put my trust in you (God).” David says that he trusts in God because he knows that God is for him. And if God is for us….who can be against us, right? (Romans 8:31)
Not only do we trust that God is for us, but we trust in God’s word. Campbell trusted me, not just when she was in my arms, but when I assured her, with my words, that I would not let anything happen to her. You see, God’s word is filled with promises of God’s protection for, and salvation for, those who trust in Him. We WILL face physical harm in this life, but we have an eternal salvation. Look what David says in verse 13 he says, “You have delivered my soul from death.” Jesus says in Matthew 10:28, “Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both body and soul in Hell.”
You see through faith in Jesus Christ, who is the promise of God’s word to us, we do not have to be afraid even of death. Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection is assurance that God is for us! So do not fear man. Place your faith in Jesus who will deliver you from eternal death! And then walk in thankfulness and in the light of life (verses 12-13).