Devotional

“O God, have mercy on me, for people are hounding me. My foes attack me all day long. I am constantly hounded by those who slander me, and many are boldly attacking me…they are always twisting what I say; they spend their days plotting to harm me. They come together to spy on me— watching my every step, eager to kill me.” ― Psalm 56:1-2. 5-6.  

When a group of Christians were asked the question. “What is your biggest obstacle today to giving your whole life to God”, the answers were interesting. Some of the answers included: what if I fail, maybe I didn’t hear God correctly, and maybe I am not good enough spiritually to name a few. In other words, people were afraid. And why not. To follow God in this life there’s a lot of sacrifices to be made. Following Jesus doesn’t mean staying in your comfort zone. Following Jesus means getting out of the boat and walking on water towards Jesus while you’re scared, with Jesus saying “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage. I am here!” (Matthew 14:27). And when we see the wind and get scared and start to sink, Jesus will be right there to catch us.

David wrote Psalm 56 when he was seized by the Philistines while running from Saul’s army. David thought he might find refuge there if the Philistines had forgotten who he was. But he was not that lucky as 1 Samuel 2:11 points out: “Isn’t this David, the king of the land?” they asked. “Isn’t he the one the people honor with dances, singing, ‘Saul has killed his thousands,
and David his ten thousands’?”
So they seized him. So here is David, running for his life from an army of soldiers, only to run to another dangerous enemy.  He lived each day wondering if today might be the day someone would kill him. David could face horrifying trials because he knew where to turn in horrifying trials. Psalm 56:3-4 says, “But when I am afraid, I will put my trust in you. I praise God for what he has promised. I trust in God, so why should I be afraid? What can mere mortals do to me?” 

He begins by saying, “But when I am afraid . . . ” He acknowledges that the danger, the trial, the fear is real. “I am afraid for the moment, but I know where to turn when I am afraid. And when I cast my fears on Him, He casts away all my fears.”  

We have a choice about how to handle our fear. We can let it paralyze us, or we can surrender what we cannot control to God and decide to move forward in faith—counting on the certainty that no matter what happens, God loves us. In Romans 8:38, the apostle Paul writes, “I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love”

Nothing could be better than a good, wise Father who loves us so much that He’s working behind the scenes on our behalf, even in the midst of our fears. If that’s the case, then we really do have nothing to fear.

– Psalm 71:5-8 

Discussion Questions:

  1. Do you sometimes feel afraid in your walk with God?  
  2. What can we do this week to ease that fear?