Choosing Faithful Obedience Over Fearful Apprehension (Psalm 125)
In the Christian life, fear is one of the most dangerously employed tactics of the enemy to keep us on the sidelines of ministry. Fear frequently keeps us in the dark, while truth brings light to hard situations we find ourselves surrounded by.
Psalm 125 gives an antidote to the fears we all so often face as we walk as believers in an unbelieving world.
The first verse in Psalm 125 sets the tone for the rest of the psalm. The psalmist writes, “Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abides forever” (ESV).
As we look at the attributes of who God is and what He has done in the past, we can move forward in faithful obedience rather than fearful apprehension.
- God was with Moses as he led the captives free from the mighty Pharaoh. Though Moses was nervous about going to Pharaoh, look at how God protected and guided his steps.
- God was with Noah as he built an ark and collected animals aboard a boat.
- God was with David as he defeated the giant Goliath.
Over and over again in Scripture, we see a God who is able. Who is firmly in control. We are confident from Scripture that Psalm 125:1 holds tremendous weight. We can trust in the Lord over so many things around us because He will not fail, He will not let us down, and He is supremely able.
One of the ways we can obediently walk forward into an unknown future is to look back at the faithfulness of God in our past.
The psalmist builds upon verse 1 in verse 2 when he writes, “As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds his people, from this time forth and forevermore.”
God is worthy of our trust, but even more than that, His presence is always with us. He surrounds us. In the same way that the mountain ranges surrounded and protected Jerusalem, the Lord surrounds and protects His people with His presence.
The familiar Psalm 23 reminds us of this great spiritual truth as well: “Even 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” (v. 4). The presence of the Lord protects, guides, and keeps our hearts from fear because we know who is in control of these hard situations.
This knowledge is helpful, but as we go out into the world to show and share the gospel, we can so often allow fear to grip us. Our enemy will often whisper lies that stir up fear deep within our soul. Questions about our ability, our past, or a person’s response will fly into the forefront of our minds. All the while, we must be prepared to cut through lies with truth. We are sober-minded and watchful, but also mindful of who is our protector and comforter.
Many of us may remember running into our parents’ room when there was a bump in the night. Almost immediately, as we hit their threshold, our fear was melted away, knowing that they were in control and nothing would get us.
In our fear, God surrounds us and keeps us. He is a strong tower that we can run into to find safety (Prov. 18:10). The more we know God, the more faithful we can be, not because of our steady resolve or blind obedience, but because we realize we are trusting in a sovereign, strong, able, and good God.
Jesus shares these great parting words called the Great Commission, which remind us not only of our calling but also of the promise of His presence when He says, “Behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:20).
When you feel the weakness in your voice or the trembling of your knees, know deep in your soul that you are not alone, God is with you. He will lead, guide, and direct you. Look to the past faithfulness and presence of the Lord to point you to be faithfully obedient each day and in each circumstance you face.
Mark Bethea is an associate pastor at First Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. He enjoys hanging out with his wife of 10 years and son Micah (3) and daughter Helen Ann (1). You can follow Mark at marklbethea.com or on Instagram @marklbethea.
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay