“I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. 5 Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed. 6 This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him and saved him out of all his troubles. 7 The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him and delivers them . . . Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.”
(Psalm 34:4-7, 19)
How do these verses from Psalm 34 speak to us today? They were originally written by David as he ran in terror and fear from the murderous rage of King Saul.
In our day we also run or hide in fear of the coronavirus that even after 11 months in the spotlight still has a lot of questions and unknowns that surround it.
How well did you do at delivering yourself from that fear this last year? How are you going to contend with that fear if it doesn’t dissipate from your heart, life, and world in this coming year?
Just like David we are run or hide in fear. What we fail to realize is that God is at work in our fear as He was in David’s. We might have fared “okay” in January and February of last year, but from March through January, you—me—us—all were annihilated!
Fear tends to paralyze people. What we must do is let our fears drive us in faith to God, the only one who can deliver us. When we turn to God by grace through faith in Jesus, and take our fears to Him, we remind ourselves that God is bigger than that fear driven by the devil, the world, and our sinful flesh that longs to tear us away from Him. We demonstrate that He is the only one who has absolutely every resource we could ever need.
But, fear continually tells us that we don’t have what we need. It cries out that things will probably get much worse and we won’t be able to handle the things we are about to experience. This is precisely when we must turn to our crucified and risen Savior, Jesus.
It is true that the afflictions of the righteous are many (v. 19). God never promised to keep us from experiencing severe trials in this life. But He does promise that He is near to those with broken hearts and saves those crushed in spirit (v. 18). In these continuing days of sin-induced fear, may God continue to draw us closer to Him in Jesus Christ our Lord.
The upcoming season of Lent is a great time to draw us closer. Lent begins Wednesday, February 17th with our Ash Wednesday communion worship at 7:00 p.m. We will be covering the theme: “The Hands of the Passion.” This will continue on Thursdays @7:00 p.m. only, through Lent, into Holy Week and Easter Sunday.
When we consider Jesus and the people around Him in His Passion, we can’t help but think of their hands— the hands that accepted money for betrayal, swung swords, pointed in accusation, beat and disowned, praised, washed, were pierced, and offered eternal life. We as sinners have had the same sinful hands of those who surrounded Jesus in His Passion. Come and hear how Jesus our Savior has touches us and draws us closer with His hands of grace.
Shalom in Jesus,
Pastor Peter M. Peitsch