Psalm 34:1-7 “I will extol the Lord at all times; his praise will always be on my lips. 2 I will glory in the Lord; let the afflicted hear and rejoice. 3 Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt his name together. 4 I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. 5 Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame. 6 This poor man called, and the Lord heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles. 7 The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them.”
Fear, worry and feelings of uncertainty are a very real part of our lives. For some you’re afraid of losing your job, or your health, or losing your finances. Maybe you’re afraid of not being accepted by others or maybe you’re just afraid of growing old. All of us have things that cause us to experience the emotion we call fear and the list of what causes fear is almost endless. As a result we try to take precautions to protect ourselves, we buy insurance policies and we install locks to protect the things we consider valuable, all because of fear. The real problem with fear is that it puts our circumstance between us and our creator where faith puts God our Father between us and our circumstances. Today we live in a world where many people allow themselves to be limited by their fears of hurt, disappointment or criticism. Praise affects and allows us to change our:
Psalm 34 reminds us that by praising the Lord at all times we are lifted up above all fears. Praise helps us gain a new perspective. Praising in our predicament reminds us of God’s sovereignty, and that His power is greater than any problem. Praise helps us to focus on the promise, that Jesus has already overcome the world. Regardless of my reality there is always His resurrection power, sometimes God calms our storm but often He calms our heart in the storm. Sometimes fearful times are allowed to come in to our life to make us more compassionate, sensitive and caring toward others. Our problems give us the perspective we need in dealing with other peoples pain. In 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 Paul wrote, “He comforts us in all our afflictions so that we are able to comfort those who are afflicted with the comfort we receive from God.” Our praise becomes the passage that allows others to proclaim God’s power over their pain.
David sought the Lord for a solution for all of his troubles and found deliverance from all of his fears. The question is will we allow the Lord to deliver us from our fears by seeking Him as the solution to our concerns. Faith is choosing to focus on the Father when I would rather focus on the fear. Whenever we feel afraid we can turn to and trust God, He is the one who will provide whatever we need. He makes us adequate with His adequacy. He provides us with courage when we are feeling timid. He gives us the confidence to speak when we are unsure of what to say. He helps us face our obstacles with the assurance that we can do all things through Christ who gives us the strength, Philippians 4:13. Problems can push us away from the provider or pull us closer. Stop trying to deliver yourself with your own power, position or personality because the flesh will always fail. Instead allow the Lord to manifest His courage, confidence and compassion in you.
- Profess and confess
Those who try to deny feelings of fear keep themselves out of touch with the experience of having to depend upon the Lord for all things. Only when we are willing to admit that fear drives us to greater dependence on the Lord are we able to see the advantages that feelings of fear create. Today are you professing or pretending? When we feel afraid we can confess our sins of self-reliance, today too many people are carrying burdens that God did not intend them to bear. Fear can be a warning light on the dashboard of our lives, a signal that causes us to stop and see the problem that needs fixing before the engine of our heart overheats. Do not deny your feelings of fear but know that sometimes we magnify scary situations way out of proportion and we must resist the temptation to over react. Instead allow feelings of fear to be the catalyst to take up the full armor of God that Paul talks about in Ephesians 6:10-18. Perhaps you have let down your guard and you need to be reminded of what God told Isaiah, “Fear not for I am with you. Be not dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you. I will help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isa 40:31)
Praise lets us speak out about God’s word, His will and His working in our life instead of being afraid of what others might think of us. Be willing to profess His power and never forget that, “Even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. Do NOT fear what they fear, do not be frightened. But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.” I Peter 3:14-16. Do not be afraid of being vulnerable, the Lord wants to deliver you as you stick your neck out for him. The turtle never makes any progress until he sticks out his neck, so it is for those of us who have a tendency to want to feel safe all the time. Be willing to rework your perception of ideal circumstances, things do not have to always be perfectly safe, secure and stable before the Lord’s will is accomplished. Rethink your hardships in the light of the difficulties Jesus faced and remember that there are many seasons and cycles to life. There is a time for tears and there is a time for rejoicing. What if the Lord was allowing your conditions to get worse so He can make you better?