VIDEO Fear God, Don’t Fear Man

The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? Psalm 27:1

Senator Joseph McCarthy is remembered for his intrusive searches for Communist sympathizers in the American government and society in the 1950s. In one Senate hearing, an outraged target of McCarthy’s investigations exclaimed, “Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?” Those are rhetorical questions, a literary device used to make a statement in the form of a question that anticipates no answer.

There are rhetorical questions in Scripture. For instance, in Psalm 27, David asks, in light of the Lord in his life, “Whom shall I fear? . . . Of whom shall I be afraid?” (verse 1) David is making a statement in the form of two questions that imply a “No” answer: “I shall fear no one; I shall be afraid of no one.” It’s a powerful way to say, “Since I fear God, I will not fear man.”

If you fear (honor, respect, obey, worship) God, then you have a divine Protector. Why would you fear anyone or anything else?

Only he who can say, “The Lord is the strength of my life” can say, “Of whom shall I be afraid?” Alexander MacLaren


Psalm 27 • One thing have I asked of the Lord

A Strong Heart

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Psalm 73:26

In his book Fearfully and Wonderfully Made, co-authored with Philip Yancey, Dr. Paul Brand observed, “A hummingbird heart weighs a fraction of an ounce and beats eight hundred times a minute; a blue whale’s heart weighs half a ton, beats only ten times per minute, and can be heard two miles away. In contrast to either, the human heart seems dully functional, yet it does its job, beating 100,000 times a day [65–70 times a minute] with no time off for rest, to get most of us through seventy years or more.”

The amazing heart so thoroughly powers us through life that it has become a metaphor for our overall inner well-being. Yet, both our literal and metaphorical hearts are prone to failure. What can we do?

The psalmist Asaph, a worship leader of Israel, acknowledged in Psalm 73 that true strength comes from somewhere—Someone—else. He wrote, “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” (v. 26). Asaph was right. The living God is our ultimate and eternal strength. As the Maker of heaven and earth, He knows no such limitations to His perfect power.

In our times of difficulty and challenge, may we discover what Asaph learned through his own struggles: God is the true strength of our hearts. We can rest in that strength every day.

By:  Bill Crowder

Reflect & Pray

How is your metaphorical heart like your spiritual heart? When you feel like you’re “losing heart,” how can you find strength in your loving, caring Father?

Heavenly Father, I thank You that when I’m weak, You’re strong. That when I’m overwhelmed, You’re enough. That when I’m confused, You have perfect clarity.

The Priority of Prayer

Luke 11:1-4

Prayer is not optional for a Christian. In fact, Jesus considered it essential, even for Himself. Though He was God’s Son, He still took time to be alone with His Father in prayer. His disciples saw this and asked Him to teach them how to pray. The prayer Jesus taught them is a model for every believer. It shows us how to:

•  Come with a focus on the heavenly Father. When you praise the Lord, your mind lets go of earthly concerns and centers on His desires and glory.

•  Surrender to Him as Lord and King. The goal of prayer is not to get God to do what you want but to align your desires and requests with His will. Such prayers are the ones He promises to answer.

•  Approach the Lord with a humble, dependent spirit. Recognize that He is the one who provides for your needs and sustains your life.

•  Seek His forgiveness and protection from temptation. Ask God to uncover anything unholy in your life and replace it with righteousness.

Developing a consistent prayer life takes commitment. Daily activities will crowd out time with the Lord unless you reserve a segment of each day to pray.

What the Creator Requires

“And now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul?” (Deuteronomy 10:12)

In the final weeks before his death, Moses gathered the people of Israel together for a final look back at God’s miraculous provision for the nation and a restatement of the law. He repeated the Ten Commandments and reminded them of their supernatural origin (chapter 5). He charged them to remember the law and to pass it on to their children, for God Himself had entrusted it to them (chapter 6). He insisted that they utterly destroy the enemies of God in the land, for their holy and special status as the people of God would be in jeopardy if they didn’t (chapter 7). The longest section of the speech consisted of a command to remember their unique history: how God had supernaturally intervened for them on so many occasions (8:1-10:11).

Finally, Moses brought them to a time of commitment, charging them in our text to fear, obey, love, and serve the “LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul.” Even the commandments were for their good (v. 13); they were not merely petty or malicious. In fact, throughout the lengthy lecture, Moses had several times adjured the people to love their Lord with their entire being (see 6:5; 7:9; 10:20; 11:1, 13, 22).

And why not? “Behold, the heaven and the heaven of heavens is the LORD’s thy God, the earth also, with all that therein is” (10:14). The God who placed His sovereign mark on Israel (v. 15) deserved their total devotion, obedience, and service.

Does not the Creator God, who has done so much more for us than He had done even for Israel, deserve our total devotion, obedience, and service? JDM

Spiritual Discernment

She therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people? —1 Kings 3:9

That so-called Bible religion in our times is suffering rapid decline is so evident as to need no proof, but just what has brought about this decline is not so easy to discover. I can only say that I have observed one significant lack among evangelical Christians which might turn out to be the real cause of most of our spiritual troubles. Of course, if that were true, then the supplying of that lack would be our most critical need.

The great deficiency to which I refer is the lack of spiritual discernment, especially among our leaders. How there can be so much Bible knowledge and so little insight, so little moral penetration, is one of the enigmas of the religious world today….

If not the greatest need, then surely one of the greatest is for the appearance of Christian leaders with prophetic vision. We desperately need seers who can see through the mist. Unless they come soon, it will be too late for this generation. And if they do come, we will no doubt crucify a few of them in the name of our worldly orthodoxy. But the cross is always the harbinger of the resurrection.   WTA111-112

Therefore give to Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and evil. Amen.

Expect…Receive

And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord. —Luke 1:45

Expectation has always been present in the Church in the times of her greatest power. When she believed, she expected, and her Lord never disappointed her….

Every great movement of God in history, every unusual advance in the Church, every revival, has been preceded by a sense of keen anticipation. Expectation accompanied the operations of the Spirit always. His bestowals hardly surprised His people because they were gazing expectantly toward the risen Lord and looking confidently for His word to be fulfilled. His blessings accorded with their expectations….

We need today a fresh spirit of anticipation that springs out of the promises of God. We must declare war on the mood of nonexpectation and come together with childlike faith. Only then can we know again the beauty and wonder of the Lord’s presence among us. GTM168, 170

We are to do all things to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31). This includes our pleasures….The only question is, what is God’s will for us in each matter? We are never to abandon our God-given common sense in the victorious life. PRL309

The Prelude to Calvary

Matthew 26:30

On the holy night in the Upper Room with Jesus and His disciples, we listen to His immortal words that float as music through the night air, and finally to His moving prayer. As we put our ears and our hearts up close to the door of that room, there is one more sound that falls on our ears. Suddenly, all those in the room rise and burst into song. Matthew and Mark both record this moment for us: “When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives” (Matthew 26:30; Mark 14:26).

If only we knew the words they sang as the shadows grew heavy in the dim light of that Upper Room. Those words would be forever sacred. We would want to ponder them, meditate upon their timeless truth and make them a part of our own devotional experience. If only we knew what Jesus sang with His disciples there on that night of nights.

But we do know the very words Jesus and His disciples sang. At the Passover meal, the Hallel Psalms were sung—Psalms 113-118. They were psalms of praise that every Jewish boy had to memorize. Psalms 113 and 114 were sung near the beginning of the observance, saving Psalms 115 through 118 for a later point. At the end of the feast, the great Hallel Psalm 136 rang out from grateful hearts.

It is a salutary devotional exercise for the Christian to read these psalms and consider the words that were actually on the lips of our Lord as He prepared to go out to Calvary. Together He and the disciples stood and sang words of courage: “The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” (Ps. 118:6). “The Lord is my strength and song, and He has become my salvation”

(Ps. 118:14). In confidence they sang, “This is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it” (Ps. 118:24). And in gratitude they exclaimed, “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! His love endures forever” (Ps. 136:1).

The music of these psalms was the prelude to Calvary. With these words of praise and confidence, Jesus went on His way to the cross. The medley of praise which the Lord with His disciples sang is one of the hidden highlights of inspiration in the Bible.

Music is to the soul as air is to the body. It was Bach who said the purpose of his music “should be none else but the glory of God,” inscribing at the top of his manuscripts Soli Deo Gloria (to God alone the glory). Our Lord knew the devotional expression of music, and for Him it was a source of strength and inspiration as He journeyed to the cross.

Henry Gariepy, Forty Days with the Savior