Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. (Psalm 23:4, NKJV)
Fear is a real emotion that can overwhelm us. When David faced the dangers of death, he took courage in the presence of the Lord. You may face harm or potential harm in many different ways, yet with the Lord in your life, every distress can be faced with calm assurance. The shepherd’s rod and staff, tools for guiding, protecting and rescuing a distressed sheep, remind David of the Lord’s constant vigilance over him. Like David, we gain strength in the face of every trial, especially death, because we know the Lord is present – guiding, protecting and rescuing us from every danger – preserving us unto eternal life in His Son.
8 Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him! 9 Oh, fear the Lord, you His saints! There is no want to those who fear Him. 10 The young lions lack and suffer hunger; But those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing. (Psalm 34:8–10, NKJV)
Do you ever feel like you are missing out on something because you are a Christian? The temptation to envy the unrighteous attracts some Christians to their spiritual demise. To resist this temptation, focus on the good blessings you have from the Lord by doing three things mentioned in today’s passage. Strengthen your faith by first trusting in the Lord (v. 8). God has shown Himself to be completely trustworthy. He never deceives or makes false promises; He always keeps His word. He is blessing you in ways you do not even see at this time. Solidify your faith by fearing the Lord (v. 9). We show reverence to God because He provides our daily bread and so much more; our eternal life in Christ. Secure your faith by seeking the Lord (v. 10). God rewards those who believe in Him and “diligently seek Him” (Heb. 11:6). Seek the good things of God though faith. You will find blessings more abundant that all the earth’s treasures – heavenly treasures that never fade (Matt. 6:19-21).
37 And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. 38 But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” 39 Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. 40 But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” (Mark 4:37–40, NKJV)
The devil tempts disciples to second guess the Lord and think He does not care when we face trials and trouble (v. 38). When we yield to this temptation of doubt, fear grows and faith declines. The Lord teaches us not to let the storms of life overwhelm us. Trust the Lord when the tempest rises and the billows roll. Take comfort in prayer and His presence. He will not fail you. Yes, He cares. He also cares that you keep your faith through the storm. Do not be fearful, but believe.
7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 8 Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God, 9 who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began…” (2 Timothy 1:7-9)
The eternal purpose of God to save us in Christ is the compelling reason for Christians not to be “ashamed of the testimony of our Lord”. The preacher Timothy was to remember this and never be afraid to boldly preach the word of God. The fear of sin and death is cast off in Christ (Heb. 2:15). Be bold in spirit as you teach the gospel. The gospel is God’s power to save. The gospel is the expression of God’s love. The sober mind pledges allegiance to the gospel, come what may.
34 Then Peter opened his mouth and said: “In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. 35 But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him. (Acts 10:34-35)
Unlike humans, God does not form judgments based on outward appearances. Things like race, ethnicity, gender, social status, accent or physical features do not form God’s impression of us – or anyone else. His impartiality implies His just treatment of each person. With impartiality God places the same conditions on all who seek His acceptance. Peter clearly announced whom God accepts: “whoever fears Him and works righteousness”. Reverent, obedient faith is essential to please to God. These in no way earn His approval, but they do demonstrate your faithful trust that God will indeed accept you when you fear Him and do His will. Fear God and work the righteousness He commands you in His word, and with impartiality and justice He will receive you.