Psalm 52:11 (english standard version)
“in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me?”
Several years ago now, I had a series of run-ins with dogs. A few were hilarious and one resulted in a bitten right calf and a newfound anxiety around strange dogs. I’ve never been afraid of dogs before, but since this instance, I’ve developed a consistent “fight or flight” response around most dogs. Weird. For the life of me, I can’t figure out how to control it. I tell myself all the time “all dogs don’t want to eat you”, but that doesn’t always work. I can’t seem to remedy the fear a lot of times.Fear is funny. People are afraid of all kinds of stuff; Dogs, loud noises, small enclosed spaces, the dark, clowns, and oh yeah…other people.
In Psalm 56, David offers some surefire advice against fear. He particularly addresses the fear of man. In verses 3 and 4 of the Psalm David says,
“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, In God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me?”
David’s advice to those who fear man is to trust in the LORD. I love how he says it so matter of fact-ly.
There’s a saying that floats around in some circles that goes a little something like this, “If you’re scared, go to church.” The implication being that church is for sissies and chickens (figuratively speaking). I think that whole idea is lame.
The advice in Psalm 56, comes from a brave warrior-poet. David killed lions and bears and a giant for crying out loud! Was he able to muster the bravery to do these things on his own, or did his fearlessness come from His trust in the LORD? I’m willing to bet it was the latter.
I’m assuming that David knew well what it was like to be afraid…and he knew who to trust when He was afraid also. I like how he shows us a bit of the progression from fear to trust to fearlessness. In verse 3 of Psalm 56, he starts out being afraid, then he trusts the LORD, then he’s not afraid! Craziness! And you’ve got to love his rhetorical question at the end,
“What can flesh do to me?” (verse 4) “What can man do to me?” (verse 11)
When I read those words, I start thinking, “man can do a lot to you”. People do lots of terrible things to each other. Isn’t that sufficient grounds to be afraid? David says no! Man…I want to live like that; Trusting in the LORD to point where I can say with David,
“in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me?” Psalm 56:11