How Not To Live In Fear
"Hear my voice, O God, in my meditation; preserve my life from FEAR of the enemy. Hide me from the secret plots of the wicked, from the rebellion of the workers of iniquity, who sharpen their tongue like a sword, and bend their bows to shoot their arrows..." Psalm 64:1-3 Notice that the psalmist isn't asking the Lord to preserve him from the enemy, he's asking him to preserve him from FEAR of the enemy. We know that the enemy of our souls devises plots and plans against us, but we are not to walk in fear of him. Nothing can happen to us without God's permission, and ALL things thrown at us will be worked together for our GOOD, and that's a promise: "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28 Nevertheless, we're walking in enemy territory and the enemy will do all it can to stop us. Many times we will even be unaware of the schemes devised against us. "They devise iniquities: 'We have perfected a shrewd scheme.'” Psalm 64: 6 We need to be mature enough to understand that the enemy will plot against us, and we need a depth of trust in the Lord to be unmoved by it. The apostle Paul endured numerous assaults against him, he was beaten, imprisoned, stoned and left for dead, shipwrecked; there seemed to be no end to the assaults of the enemy against him. Yet he endured. Not only endured, but triumphed over them. HOW did he do it? HOW did he triumph? "But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed." Acts 16:25-26 Imprisoned in a dungeon, their feet bound in stocks, their backs bloodied by whips, Paul and Silas prayed and sang praises to God. Sang praises to God??? How on earth did these two men have such peace in such a desperate situation? And the answer to that is that they UNDERSTOOD the warfare they were in. The Lord had shown Paul from the beginning what he would have to suffer for his Name's sake: “ But the Lord said to him (Ananias), 'Go, for he (Paul) is a chosen vessel of mine to bear my name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel. FOR I WILL SHOW HIM HOW MANY THINGS HE MUST SUFFER FOR MY NAME'S SAKE.'” Acts 9:15-16 God showed Paul how many things he must SUFFER.... So Paul knew from the beginning that the enemy would throw all kinds of things against him to discourage him, to stop his witness. But Paul was so surrendered to his Lord that he "counted it all joy" (James 1:2) and sang praises to God in a dungeon at midnight. Notice that Paul did not "claim" his deliverance or "command" Satan to let him go; he surrendered. And sang praises in the dungeon. Then God moved: "Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed." Acts 16:26 Brothers and sisters, we are not to live in fear. We are to live in surrender. We are to live knowing the enemy will throw all sorts of things our way, and we are not to be overcome by them. Once we reach this understanding, nothing can touch us anymore. Our hearts are placed on the solid rock of trust, no matter what. And when we sing praises while in the dungeon, there just might be an earthquake that will open our prison doors and set us free.