Fear sneaks into my heart without permission. It paints a picture of helplessness and hopelessness. It steals my peace and my concentration. What am I fearful about? I’m concerned about the safety of my family or the health of loved ones. I panic at the loss of a job or a broken relationship. Fear turns my focus inward and reveals a heart that sometimes finds it hard to trust.
When these fears and worries strike, how good it is to read David’s prayer in Psalm 34: “I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears” (v. 4). And how does God deliver us from our fears? When we “look to him” (v. 5), when we focus on Him, our fears fade; we trust Him to be in control. Then David mentions a different type of fear—not a fear that paralyzes, but a deep respect and awe of the One who surrounds us and delivers us (v. 7). We can take refuge in Him because He is good (v. 8).
This awe of His goodness helps put our fears into perspective. When we remember who God is and how much He loves us, we can relax into His peace. “Those who fear him lack nothing” (v. 9), concludes David. How wonderful to discover that in the fear of the Lord we can be delivered from our fears.
Lord, I’m aware of my worries and fears, and I place them in Your hands. Give me peace as I face the day.
Ask God to free you from your fears.
In the Old Testament, references to the nature of life after death are obscure. Therefore, the Israelites often struggled to reconcile the injustices of life, since they believed what happened beyond the grave was uncertain. Another belief that influenced Jewish thinking about the afterlife was the principle of retribution that taught God blessed the righteous and judged the wicked—but only in this life. Three psalms focus on this concept. Psalm 34 explains the basic principle. Psalm 37 offers counsel to one who suffers without understanding. And in Psalm 73, the psalmist himself wrestles with the problem of injustice but sees an eternal solution.