A Clear and Present Danger

1 Be merciful to me, O God, for man would swallow me up; fighting all day he oppresses me. 2 My enemies would hound me all day, for there are many who fight against me, O Most High. 3 Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You. 4 In God (I will praise His word), in God I have put my trust; I will not fear. What can flesh do to me?

—Psalm 56:1-4

HERE WE SEE an opportunity to clear up a misconception that if a believer experiences fear it is considered a lapse of faith. According to 2 Timothy 1:7, “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” This, of course, is true, but it’s also true that God has given us a fear mechanism for our own safety and wellbeing. The Greek word used in 2 Timothy isn’t the word that means terror or fright but it means cowardice. You can have fear and not be a coward. Fearing heights isn’t a lapse of faith or cowardice. It’s a fear of death—not the second death but the first.

Here is King David in Gath, carrying Goliath’s sword. He was afraid. But he also battled his primal fear by his faith in God. He’s on the run from the man God said he’s going to replace. He runs from place to place, only to be betrayed by those who know who he is and what he represents: Saul’s replacement.

History has proven over and over that some people are loyal to persons in power simply because they are in power, and they hope to gain favor from them. The same thing is true today. God chose David and God chose you. God anointed David, and God has anointed you—maybe not to be king of a nation but to be an heir of the King of kings. Many are they who fight against us. They twist our words and call us “haters” for loving God and respecting His Word. They destroy the businesses and therefore the livelihood of those who, as the called and anointed of God, do not waiver in the truth.

What do we do when we find ourselves in negative circumstances because of our positive stance on the Bible? The first thing to remember is this: Trusting in the truth incapacitates every enemy tactic. David says, “Have mercy, for man would swallow me up. . . . They are many, and I am afraid.” In verse three, things turn around, because David says, “In God I have put my trust and will not fear. After all, what can flesh do to me?”

See the transition that began when trust was activated through praise and confidence in God’s Word? I’m not saying that trusting in truth incapacitates the enemy, but it does keep the enemy out of your head and emotions, and it incapacitates their ability to create fear. King David seems to have arrived at the conclusion that “Did God not choose me and anoint me, and I have yet to actually be king?” And then he could fall back on what the Lord had promised in Psalm 27:1-4. Listen, no matter what the enemy tries to pull, you’re not done until God says you are. The proximity of the enemy and the difficulty of your circumstances might be a clear-and-present danger, but as the called and anointed of God you can trust the outcome into His hands, knowing that it will be His will that is done in your life, and not the enemy’s.

If it seems as though a good God and bad things have collided in your life right now, and you need courage under fire, remember this: Trust incapacitates every enemy tactic. That doesn’t mean he’ll stop trying. It just means his efforts won’t succeed in creating fear and spiritual despair. And that’s just the news we needed to hear!

Excerpt from “Beside Still Waters” now available on Amazon.

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BARRY STAGNER

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