Our Illegitimate Fear
by Joseph Franks
Our Confession of Truth:
Psalm 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
Yes, there is trouble. Satan buffets us from above, enemies assault us from without, and our flesh plagues us from within.
However, our God is very present. He is closer than a brother. We can never be separated from his Spirit.
And God is powerful. His strength is legendary; it is beyond measure or comprehension. Omnipotent he is.
And God is protective. On our behalf his flexes his mighty arm. With jealous compassion and commitment he determines to be our refuge or fortress.
Our Legitimate Conclusion:
Psalm 46:2-3 Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling.
Oh yes, there is great trouble everywhere. The world around us seems like it is being turned upside down. The earth, mountains, and seas are all tumultuous.
However, based upon what we believe and in whom we believe, there is only one legitimate response. We who truly believe in the presence, power, and protection of God must find ourselves without fear. Yes, we are those who are greatly buffeted. We are those who cry often. However, in the midst of our trouble and tears, we are encircled by a God who is present, powerful, and protective, and therefore we must be characterized by peace and confidence.
Psalm 46:4-7 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High. God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns. The nations rage, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts. The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.
Yes, trouble still abounds. It is clear there is a night season as nations rage, kingdoms totter, and the earth melts.
But let us remember afresh, our God is present. He is the King, and we are his people. He is the Sovereign, and we are citizens in his holy city. The Good Shepherd knows his sheep, and he calls himself “Immanuel” which means God is with us. He is the groom, and we are his bride. He is the Father, and we are children in his royal family. Where is God? God is in the midst of his city, and we are his chosen people.
And let us say it again, our God is infinitely powerful. His stance is immovable, and his voice is unstoppable. He is the Sovereign Creator. He is the Lord of Hosts.
A mighty fortress is our God! He is our protector, and because he wills our security, we shall not be moved. When the morning dawns, God shall come forth with his violent and protective love. Oh, let the opponents of God and his people rage. But when he comes, and when he flexes, and when he speaks, they will all teeter, totter, and melt away. He is the Lord. He is the Lord of Hosts. He is with us, and he is for us.
Therefore, he and his truth becomes like a flowing river that makes us glad. How can we be fearful? How can we be anxious, even in the midst of adversity. We are immutably beloved by the Creator God, the Lord of Hosts, who is present, powerful, and overly protective of his children.
Our Confession of Sin:
However, God’s people do fear. Many are they who have been beloved and yet filled with anxious concern. Moses feared when he was called to go and rescue Israel from the harmful grasp of Pharaoh. Ten of the twelve spies of Israel feared when they saw the gigantic inhabitants who dwelt in the land of promise. David feared as he was confronted by Saul, his sinful flesh, and his rebellious son. And the disciples of Jesus, found themselves fretting, in the midst of trouble, while standing in the presence of the Master.
Fellow Christians, are we any different? The answer is, “No!” Too often, in the midst of peril, we are struck with an illegitimate sense of panic. We fear our nation’s cultural slide. We fear the foolish choices before our children. We fear bodily disease and monetary depression. We fear those foes with whom we must live, and we fear the passing of those we can’t live without. We fear Satan above, the world without, and our sinful flesh within.
This response is illegitimate and sinful. Christians are to have “perfect peace.” (Is. 26:1) We are to “rejoice in the Lord always.” (Phil. 4:4) God has not given us a “spirit of fear.” (2 Tim. 1:7) Instead, he has given us his Holy Spirit, and the “fruit of the Spirit is peace.” (Gal. 5:22)
Therefore, what is wrong with us?
Here’s the answer — we have forgotten to believe that which we have often professed.
Our Call to Worship:
Psalm 46:8-11 Come, behold the works of the Lord, how he has brought desolations on the earth. He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the chariots with fire. “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.
We need to remember, repent, recover, and rejoice. Therefore, though there be much trouble; though there be desolations, wars, bows, spears, and chariots …
Let us come closer to God. Let us come and hear the Word of God from the preacher of God. Weekly, let us come to the house of God and be surrounded by fellow churchmen on the same journey. Daily, let us open his scriptures and converse with him in prayer. He has life-giving words to speak to us. He has peace that passes all understanding. He is very present, are we?
We must behold his works. We are wise to look within the Bible and consider his former power. He is the one who spoke the entire world into existence without a bead of sweat, and he is the one who has persistently governed all nature and nations with his little finger. Consider his past omnipotence; he continually brought desolations on the earth upon those with whom he hated. Remember afresh his work on Calvary’s cross. Then, consider his present works. With ease he breaks the bow, shatters the spear, and burns opposing chariots with fire. Effortlessly he breaks our stubborn will and gives us resurrection life within. Great are the works of God towards those who repent and believe.
Yes friends, it is time for us to be still and know. He has been exalted. He is being exalted. He will be exalted. Nothing is going to stop or curtail this end. All is working out according to his perfect will, and though there is trouble everywhere, there is never a time to legitimately fret. Our God is present. Our God is powerful. And our God is filled with protective love for us — his beloved children.
Therefore, instead of fearing the trouble that is real, let us come closer, behold, be still, and know our Heavenly Father who is real. He is the God who oversees our hurt. He is the God who promises help in the morning. He is the God who will not give us more than we can handle in the strength of Christ. He is the God who will not give us more than He can handle — what a laughable concept. The God of Jacob is our fortress. The Lord of Hosts is with us. He is our refuge and strength. He is our very present help in time of trouble.
Come … Behold his works … Be still … Know that he is God. It is time to worship and not worry.