“When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You. In God, whose word I praise, In God I have put my trust; I shall not be afraid. What can mere man do to me?” – Psalm 56:3-4 (NASB)
Fear can paralyze us, freeze our feet to the ground and cause us to lose our balance. The psalmist, David composed this song which is labeled as “A Mikhtam.” We do not positively know what this label means. But we do have clues. For one clue, this is a very important and valuable song. It extolls God’s goodness and faithfulness. It sings of why we can put our trust in God especially when we are afraid. It reaffirms for us that human kind and their devices cannot truly hurt the faith believer in God. David pleads and rejoices in the help and deliverance God gives him. The root of the word means to stamp or grave (as in engrave). It leads us to believe that it labels the song as a composition so precious as to be worthy to be engraved on a durable tablet for preservation. Others might render “a psalm precious as stamped gold,” from the word kethem meaning fine or stamped gold. Perhaps like today’s top-selling songs that are “certified gold” could be considered “michtams” of a sort. We don’t know for sure anything except that God’s Word is all more precious than gold.
“May Your lovingkindnesses also come to me, O LORD,
Your salvation according to Your word;
So I will have an answer for him who reproaches me,
For I trust in Your word.” – Psalm 119:41-42 (NASB)
There is an increase in the resistance of our world to the Word of God. There is also a significant decrease in the number who hold the Bible to be absolute truth. Within this battle, those who oppose the teachings in the Bible are becoming more active in demonstrating their hostility. The psalmist called on God to deliver him through His love and His Word and He will for us based on the promise God has given to us. He sought and trusted that he would have an answer for his enemy. He prayed and affirmed that the Word would continue to be his pattern of life. That is the way God has prepared for us to enjoy victory over the obstructions they set to the spreading of His Word. When opposition comes we frequently take it very personally but here we can know that it is God that the non-believer is rejecting and fighting against. We can like this passage teaches learn to delight in God’s commandments grow to love them for they are life to our soul. Next time we meet resistance, lets remember, God’s Word has an answer for us to give in return.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” – Proverbs 3:5-6 (ESV, NASB)
We look again today at a verse we have considered in the past. It is a favorite verse for many and for many reasons. It is simple, straight to the point and a verse we can’t easily disregard. To trust in the LORD means what He has said to us is better than any conclusion from our own understanding. That’s where we start. We put our trust in God with all our heart. We turn away from our understanding as a guide when it misdirects us. What does “lean on our own understanding” mean? It’s what we do when we learn God’s will from His Word. We take it in and then refine it and revise it until we think we understand it. But we really don’t because our own understanding most times leads us astray from obedience and trust in what God wants. God’s promises can be trusted. God’s word can be acknowledged even when our own means to understand is not in agreement. God promises to make, direct and guide us on straight paths – paths to His way. They are the best and better than anything we come up with using our understanding.
“Behold, God is my salvation,
I will trust and not be afraid;
For the Lord God is my strength and song,
And He has become my salvation.” – Isaiah 12:2 (NASB)
Yesterday we learned from God’s Word through His prophet Isaiah that perfect peace is available to those whose mind is steadfast and unwavering in their trust in God. Today’s promise gives us the attitude of fearlessness. The idea of ‘No Fear’ is presented to us in many different ways: the No FEAR Act of 2002; as a brand for lifestyle clothing; and even as a translation of old English literature such as Shakespeare into modern English. God knows we all are tempted to be afraid and desire to have no fear. He has given us this guide – the Bible – which promises what He will do for us in these times. We can affirm that God is our salvation. When we can confirm that our salvation from the wages of sin (Romans 6:23) is ours by faith in God, we can trust Him without fear. Isaiah confirms his own standing – he trusts because the Lord God provides strength to do so. It is a strength that calms our spirit and gives us a song of praise. We have this promise: when we trust in God, He becomes our salvation and we abide in Him for the rest of time and beyond.
“The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace,
Because he trusts in You.
“Trust in the Lord forever,
For in God the Lord, we have an everlasting Rock.” – Isaiah 26:3-4 (ESV)
This promise for today is for every day. It is well worth keeping it in the top of our mind. We all face times when the peace we have is challenged by events and circumstances. What we expect fails to be what we get and our peace is gone like a puff of smoke in a sudden breeze. We resort to worry, doubts and are tempted to go down a different path. What we need instead is to grip onto and hold firmly in our mind the truth in this promise from God. Isaiah penned these words inspired by the Spirit of God. He wrote, a fixed outlook of trust in the Lord causes a peace within that the wicked can never know (Isaiah 57:21). Such trust prevents double mindedness (James 1:6–8) and serving two masters (Matthew 6:24). Perfect peace means complete, genuine peace that comes only by grace from God. As we experience this inner peacefulness our faith grows and we are encouraged to continue trusting our Lord and Savior Jesus. Let’s prepare ourselves now for today’s opportunity to exercise trust in God who is our Rock forever. Perfect peace can be ours.
“Examine me, O Lord, and try me;
Test my mind and my heart.
For Your lovingkindness is before my eyes,
And I have walked in Your truth.” – Psalm 26:2-3 (NASB)
The love God promises to all who love Him is always before us. It is always for our benefit and never fails. We are the ones that fail in this love. David, who wrote this song seeks vindication that he has not failed. He calls on God to examine, try, and test his inner self – deeper emotion than what he might show to others. It is interesting that the phrase “test my mind and my heart” is translated from the Hebrew original “test my kidneys and my heart.” The use of kidneys is a figurative way to speak of the seat of emotion and affection; hence, it is involving character. It was seen as the most sensitive vital part of a person, thus, the “mind” as we today see the mind as the most vital part of a person along with the heart. These three invitations to divine scrutiny are essentially synonymous ways of testing, refining, and purifying. If we include the first verse, we can understand that David wanted confirmation of his faithfulness and trust in God. Can we claim that our integrity guides our way and our trust is steadfast? Let’s commit to that today.
“To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
O my God, in you I trust;
let me not be put to shame;
let not my enemies exult over me.
Indeed, none who wait for you shall be put to shame;
they shall be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.” – Psalm 25:1-3 (ESV)
David often struggled with the demanding issues of life. In this psalm he writes of avoiding denial and affirming dependence. He knows he must trust God in the face of his troubles and troublemakers. The important perception of shame for the wicked and no shame for the righteous returns is our promise. There are actually two promises here – one is positive for those who trust and wait for God and the other is negative for those who are disloyal and unfaithful. First, there is no shame in waiting for the Lord to act for us or give us the guidance we can have only from Him. It is good for us to remember that waiting for God to act on our behalf is a manifestation of the faith He has given to us. We are always fighting the temptations to rush ahead with our own plan. In Isaiah 30:18 God is waiting to be pour his grace upon us and He will. Waiting is a way to blessing. Second, those who are recklessly unfaithful and deceitful; those who seek to follow their own way are the ones who will be shamed for trusting in their own false teaching.
“For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.” But you were unwilling,,,” Isaiah 30:15 (ESV)
Our verse is part of a prophecy God sent to His people Israel through Isaiah His prophet. Isaiah delivered this important message to His people. It is a promise for all but in this instance it was a promise that the people rejected and were unwilling to submit to it. By not accepting the promise Israel missed the blessing of it. God wanted to them to learn this truth, and it is still effective even today. You and I will do well to listen to this promise. God wants us today to know the secret to salvation and strength. Rest, or relax, and trust in Him. If we have been trying to live right by our own effort, we need to realize that God offers to help us to live right and also to accomplish lasting results. The kind of rest promised comes from trusting the words of God. We can rest by believing and following God’s instructions. Let’s believe His words and quit trying in our own strength. Let’s remember these words, “In quietness and trust is your strength.” It’s a promise and a blessing for us if we will have it.
Isaiah, rest, salvation, strength, trust
“Praise the Lord! How blessed is the man who fears the Lord, Who greatly delights in His commandments.” Psalm 112:1 (NASB)
“He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the LORD.” Psalm 112:7 (ESV)
The act of fearing the LORD is an emphasis throughout the Old Testament. The concept “fear of the Lord” occurs most prominently in the Old Testament’s Wisdom Literature such as our selected verse today. It is defined as the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 9:10) or, as the responsible attitude of all humanity toward God (Ecclesiastes12:13). When it is used it conveys either devotion or dread of consequential punishment. Such a devotional attitude is both fitting and pleasing to our Lord God. We can and should fear God in both ways. When faith believers are walking in the fear of the Lord, they are also in the comfort of the Holy Spirit. Such and attitude actually give us courage from our faith so that we are not afraid when bad tidings come our way. No one likes bad news but true Christians have no need to fear any news we receive. We have been given steadfast hearts, firm and trusting in the LORD. We can actually say, if we fear the Lord God, we really have no need to fear anything else in this world ⸺we are blessed because we fear only the Lord.
“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” Isaiah 26:3 (ESV)
Are these familiar words to you? They may be just the promise we need to hear these days. Because we all face uncertainty and trying times, because we all can find ways to be upset inside because of outside turmoil. When things are not as they should be, at least in our own understanding, peace escapes us. We believe that we all need to be reminded often of these promises. But first, let us understand what this promise of peace is promising perfect peace. Perfect peace may not be just the absence of turmoil. Perfect peace can be ours in the midst of upsetting challenges. Perfect peace is complete, genuine, inner tranquility which we find when we trust the word of God. There are so many influences and distractions in this world to interrupt our thinking and to disturb our peace. Remember, who is it that benefits from God’s peace? It is the person who trusts in God because those who trust in God focus their thinking on God’s faithfulness and this gives their minds a real steadfastness. Steady thinking is really a part of real peace. Let’s keep our minds steady today, trusting the Lord.