Psalm 27:1 (ESV)
The Lord is my light and my salvation;
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life;
of whom shall I be afraid?
“Mortals are immortal here until their work is done”. That line from an old hymn is true no matter how many questions it engenders and debates it may cause. David writes that he will not fear, because the Lord is the stronghold of his life. In other words, because life and death are not in the hands of his enemies but in the hands of the God He knows and loves and serves and who knows and loves and serves him. The fearlessness comes from reminding himself that for all the trouble and torment that his enemies give him, it is all within the providential hand of God who has permitted his enemies the leeway. What David’s enemies intend for evil God intends for good.
This type of thinking is not easy to master. First of all, it needs to be understood properly. Fearlessness does not mean that we like the hardships that we are called to go through. Fearlessness is not stoicism, fatalism or an ignorance of the situation. Fearlessness is faith in the God who is sovereign and who has said that He works out all things for the good of all who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).
It is right to avoid pain. It is right to hide when enemies hunt us down to hurt us. It is right to try to escape from unjust suffering. But it is wrong to think that God has abandoned us. It is wrong to conclude that the results are all up to us. It is wrong to think that all we have to do is wait for God to act. It would be wrong to conclude that God has forsaken us or that the bad guys are winning.
We live in a real world with real issues that need to be handled like real people. But the one area where we will not be like others is that we will not fear what people can do to us. Jesus said that we need not fear men since all they can do is kill us (Luke 12:4). What a striking thing. To us that is the worst case scenario. Jesus puts it in proper perspective. All they can do is kill you. Then what? Then nothing. As soon as you die you are ushered into the presence of the God who loves you, who sent His Son to save you and who has used the wickedness of others to bring you home into His presence for eternity.
The One you should fear is the One who can send do something to you after death. And that is God Himself. If you are trusting Him then you have the assurance that He who can destroy people after death, is on your side and that because of Jesus Christ, will not destroy you. Because of the work of His Son, He will welcome you into His presence and give you an inheritance that cannot perish, spoil or fade away (I Peter 1:3-5). Because He has already dealt with the only thing worth fearing, you do not need to fear those who can send you into the next life. Jesus has already taken care of that.
Go through this day in the confidence that this is a reality and show it in fearlessly living for the glory of God. Walk in obedience.