Psalm 56

If suggests a possibility.

When implies a certainty.

When I am afraid,
I will trust in you. (v. 3)

Not if I am afraid.
But when I am afraid.

Fear is a certainty on this broken planet.

Sin separated us from the safety God intended in the Garden. Fear replaced fellowship with God as Adam and Eve scrambled to hide themselves and cover their actions.

What are we afraid of?

We fear rejection, loss of reputation, loss of resources, isolation, pain, and, most of all, death.

So when David writes about fear, he writes about when, not if.
He writes about the only antidote to fear: trust in God.

When I am afraid. Fear happens.
And when it does, I will choose to trust in God.

How does David know that trust dispels fear?

He knows God’s Word.

In God, whose word I praise,
in God I trust; I will not be afraid.
What can mortal man do to me? (v. 4)

When we study God’s Word like David did, we will know God’s character. We will know His love for us. We will know His plans for us. We will learn to have an eternal perspective on our circumstances.

When I am afraid, I will trust in you.
When fear comes, I choose to trust.

In God I trust; I will not be afraid.
When fear comes, I choose to trust.
And when I choose to trust, I don’t have to stay afraid.

God’s Word tells us not to be afraid of what people can do to us.

David asked “What can mortal man do to me?” Man can only kill the body, not the soul. Eternity with God is secure for those who know Him.

Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.
Matthew 10:28

Paul encourages us with the truth that no one can separate from the love of God in Christ Jesus. With His love, we can endure hardship, persecution, and the sword.

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:35-39

When David was afraid, he traded his fear for trust in God. We know David’s fear was intense because he cried tears as he called on God for help.

You have kept count of my tossings;
put my tears in your bottle.
Are they not in your book?
Then my enemies will turn back
in the day when I call.
This I know, that God is for me. (v. 8-9 ESV)

God sees and values our tears. He keeps a record of them. Our tears and our fears are important to God. He does not dismiss them.

God is for us.
We can trust Him.

Fear happens.
When, not if.
I love the honesty of God’s Word.
I love that the truth that meets us where we live and shows us the way to the Father.

I love that God’s Word doesn’t make fear a small thing, a weak thing. Fear is treated as an important emotion to recognize. We aren’t told to just get over it. We are shown the way bring our fear to our loving Father and exchange it for trust in Him.

When I am afraid, I will trust in you.

In God I trust; I will not be [stay] afraid.

This I know, that God is for me.

I will present my thank offerings to you.
For you have delivered me from death
and my feet from stumbling,
that I may walk before God in the light of life. (v. 12-13)

Father, thank You for Your Word. Thank you for showing me what to do when I’m afraid. When I am afraid, I will trust in You. Thank you that no one and no circumstance can separate me from Your love. This I know: You are for me. You have delivered me and given me the gift of salvation through Your Son, Jesus. I want to walk with You today. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

psalm 56

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