Today, I’ve reached verse 5 and 6 which I’m going to do together, since they are all about a shared thought:
These two verses are, again, so very timely.
You will not be afraid…
What I love about these three words is the finality in them. It doesn’t say, “You might not be afraid.” Nor does it say, “You don’t have to be afraid” or “Hopefully you won’t be afraid.” It’s “You will not be afraid.” It’s almost a direct order.
As is perfectly obvious right now, many, many people are afraid, either about the virus and their loved ones catching it or about the economy. I understand that. I have loved ones who are at risk, and I have a week’s pay at my job and then I’m laid off.
So how can this verse say with such finality not to be afraid? I believe the answer is two-fold.
First, we must remember who this chapter is talking about. It is not talking about the general population, about all Christians, about those who repeat this chapter twenty times every day, about those who love God, etc. This chapter is about those who are dwelling in the shelter He offers. Those who are keeping their eyes and attention focused on the Almighty God – who is their God and Lord. They are dwelling in His presence no matter where their feet take them, and they are stubbornly refusing to leave His shadow. That’s what verse one was all about.
The good news is that anyone, even if they didn’t know Jesus as their Savior prior to reading this blog post, is welcome to join those of us who are there in His shelter! Because salvation is about so much more than just where you go when you die. It’s also VERY MUCH about peace in times like these.
If that’s you – If you have never accepted the salvation that is offered in a life of walking with Jesus, then I would like to refer you to Billy Graham’s clear explanation of salvation:
And second, whether or not you are afraid is, I believe, directly dependent upon how much you understand the power and love and omniscience (or all-knowing-ness) of God.
What if you are a Christian, but you are still overwhelmed by anxiety and fear? In that case, I encourage you to do several things:
1. Turn on Christian praise and worship music while you stay home, and listen to and join in the words from those songs. The words of many of these songs are straight out of scripture and thus they are powerful! The truths that so many songs hold will help you keep your eyes on the Almighty God rather than circumstances. If your area does not have a Christian radio station, then you can stream from klove.com. YouTube also has LOTS of live worship videos where you can join in recordings made from live worship meetings. Here’s a link to my playlist of favorites, and God used many of these songs to carry me through last year:
2. Spend more time in the Bible and/or worshiping than you do reading news reports. You control what you fill your mind with, and your emotions will follow your thoughts. You can read your Bible, but you can also listen to it. The Bible Experience is my favorite audio version of the Bible, and you can download the audio version of the Psalms for $3.60. Trust me, it is WELL worth it! Just click here: www.christianbook.com (All the books are great, but in these times, I recommend you start with Psalms.)
3. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you whatever it is that He knows you need for fear to be banished. Having no fear in times like this isn’t about ignoring reality. It’s possible only when you know that the size of the problem does not compare to the size of the One that you are trusting. Often, a fear that we are struggling against is directly related to some specific truth about God that we need Him to reveal to us. I encourage you to pray, “God, I know You’ve saved me, but I’m still filled with fear. Show me who You are. Show me how powerful and loving You are. I need to know You like I’ve never known You before. Rescue me from this fear, and be my deliverer. My hope is in You alone!”
Let’s move on and look at the rest of the verse which goes on to talk about four categories of things that we will not fear. Note again that the verse does not say that we won’t be afraid if these things come against us. The verse is written in such a way that it assumes that these will come against us at some point. They’re already out there, even if we have so far managed to avoid being threatened by any of them prior to 2020.
Please note also that these two verses are not focused on what might happen. Rather, they are focused on something inside us. They specifically address the lack of fear that is certain for the one who is in the shelter of the Most High. That person can see out and knows what is happening all around. And yet, they are unafraid!
So what will we not fear?
…the terror by night…
This is talking about more than just a fear of the dark. This is talking about anything coming against you that is unseen. This includes viruses too small for the human eye to see, and it also includes the “what ifs” that fill our mind.
This line is saying that even when those around us say, “But what if ____,” we are not afraid and have peace. We can say, “Yes, I know that is a possibility, but I am sticking close to God, my life is in His hands, and I will trust His decisions over my life.”
…the arrow that flies by day…
This line, on the other hand, is addressing the attacks that we can see! An arrow might be something personal that someone threatens you with or does against you, but it can also be a decision by the government that directly affects you. You can clearly see it, and you know what its affects will be.
It is possible not to fear this only when you know even more that God is greater and stronger!
…the pestilence that stalks in darkness…
The next line goes back to darkness again, and this time it specifically identifies pestilence which means a plague. Plagues are often caused my unseen things, and this coronavirus is no different.
We will not be afraid of it! Many are afraid of death due to the virus, but yet for us, to live is Christ and to die is gain. We know our visit here on earth has a beginning and an end date set by the Father, and we trust Him with it. Thus, death holds no fear for us.
When we keep our eyes focused on Him, then we understand the eternal. We know that the length of our visit here on earth is by far not the most important thing. And in reality, most of us really do know this. We know that 100 fear-filled years of difficulty on earth could not compare to 50 years filled with peace and joy. Thus, we need to get our eyes off of the virus and the prospect of death and keep our eyes focused on our Deliverer! If He has more for us to do on this earth, then no virus can take us Home quite yet. For we will go Home only in the time of His choosing.
…or the destruction that lays waste at noon.
This line addresses the other main fear that is gripping the world, and once again, it’s the fear of something that we can see plainly. Destruction of our finances. Destruction of the economy. Yes, we can see the destruction that is happening in the economy. We’re not pretending that it’s not happening. We’re not unafraid because we’re optimistically hoping that the economy will recover quickly.
We do not know what the future holds for the economy or for our paychecks and finances.
But we do know that we are within the shelter of the One Who Is Most High, and thus, we are unafraid! For He owns the cattle on a thousand hills, which is a metaphor that means He holds all the wealth of the entire world. He can distribute it as He chooses, to provide for the needs of those who are within His surrounding wall.
And thus, we are keeping our eyes on His provision rather than on the state of the economy. We are trusting Him, and we are unafraid!
If you want to learn more about trusting Him, my last series was on that and the great lessons He has taught me:
Lessons in Trust
“Have I not commanded you?
Be strong and courageous!
Do not tremble or be dismayed,
for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
– Joshua 1:9