‘What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee’, Ps. 56. 3.
Fear has the capacity to stalk the experience of every human being.
It was disobedience to God’s commands that brought fear into the experience of Adam, Gen. 3. 10. It was doubt in relation to God’s promise that caused Sarah to lie in fear, 18. 15. It was the prospect of facing the power of a wronged brother that prompted Jacob to fear, 32. 7, and, similarly, with his scheming sons in their meeting with Joseph, 45. 3.
In the psalmist’s case, though, it does not appear to be failure that brought fear. Fleeing for his life, fearful of a hostile King Saul, he finds himself in the midst of a people whose supreme warrior he had slain and in possession of the very weapon which he had used to behead him, 1 Sam. 21. 8-10. It seems that this is the context to Psalm 56, and the first two verses convey his thoughts, ‘for man would swallow me up … mine enemies would daily swallow me up’, and the extent of his problems, ‘they be many that fight against me’.
In our lives, where ‘fear’ or its modern-day synonym, ‘anxiety’, arises, it would do us all good to first of all allow the omniscient One to search us, Ps. 139. 1-4. For Adam, Sarah, and Jacob, there was a way to dispel their fear and that was to deal with their sin.
But not all fear is traceable back to personal sin, although even in that scenario, there is an answer. It is the same cry as that of David in Gath -‘What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee’. It is reflected in the experience of Paul - ‘we were troubled on every side; without were fightings, within were fears. Nevertheless God, that comforteth those that are cast down, comforted us by the coming of Titus’, 2 Cor. 7. 5, 6. As Paul was comforted of God through the arrival of Titus, may we ‘be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God’, 1. 4.
It is the prayer of the committee that the articles that are in this issue will be an encouragement to the readers and, with the psalmist, provoke greater dependence on the Lord.
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