Posts Tagged ‘Psalm 118:5-6’

We will not fear: What can man do?

January 11, 2017

 

psalm-118-5-6

During times of intense discouragement and distress, as believers we need words of encouragement to assure us that we will get through the challenging circumstances we face each day. Taken from the Amplified Bible Classic Edition, the Verse of the Day for January 11, 2017 provides such a reservoir of assurance from which we can draw strength and comfort that God is with us:

Psalm 118:5-6 (AMPC):

Out of my distress I called upon the Lord; the Lord answered me and set me free and in a large place. The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?

Similar words found in Deuteronomy 31:6, 8 (AMPC) reinforce this message:

6 Be strong, courageous, and firm; fear not nor be in terror before them, for it is the Lord your God Who goes with you; He will not fail you or forsake you.
8 It is the Lord Who goes before you; He will [march] with you; He will not fail you or let you go or forsake you; [let there be no cowardice or flinching, but] fear not, neither become broken [in spirit—depressed, dismayed, and unnerved with alarm].

The profound truth that God has promised that He will never leave nor forsake those who trust in Him and call upon His name reverberates throughout the scriptures. This message is especially well expressed in Hebrews 13:5-6 in the Amplified Bible where a footnote connects verse 6 with Psalm 118:6:

5 Let your character or moral disposition be free from love of money [including greed, avarice, lust, and craving for earthly possessions] and be satisfied with your present [circumstances and with what you have]; for He [God] Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down (relax My hold on you)! [Assuredly not!]
6 So we take comfort and are encouraged and confidently and boldly say, The Lord is my Helper; I will not be seized with alarm [I will not fear or dread or be terrified]. What can man do to me?

Kenneth Wuest’s Word Studies in the Greek New Testament emphatically reinforces the truth that God will not forsake His children in this translation of Hebrews 13:5-6:

Let your manner of life be without love of money, being satisfied with your present circumstances. For He Himself has said, and the statement is on record, I will not, I will not cease to sustain and uphold you, I will not, I will not, I will not let you down. So that being of good courage, we say, The Lord is my helper. I will not fear. What shall man do to me?

While reflecting on these verse, the lyrics to the familiar hymn “How Firm a Foundation” also come to mind and further reiterate the message of this passage from Hebrews, especially the last stanza:

“The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose
I will not, I will not, desert to his foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I’ll never, no never, no never, forsake!”

Previously, a most remarkable sunesis or coming together of rivers of understanding, occurred in my mind that overflowed with inspiration to compose this poem:

This We Know Is True

Hebrews 13:5-6

God says, “I will never, never, never leave you.”
“All those called by My name I will never forsake.”
Despite all that befalls us, this we know is true.

To do His will, we do whatever it may take.
His comforting words encourage, and we now see:
“All those called by name I will never forsake.”

We walk by faith beyond anything we can see.
Since God is our helper, we say, “We will not fear.”
His comforting words encourage, and we now see.

Though He may seem far away, He is always near.
We will not covet anything: We are content.
Since God is our helper, we say, “We will not fear.”

When fiery trials press us to the fullest extent,
We rest in the Word of God, in absolute trust.
We will not covet anything: we are content.

We rest in the Word of God, in absolute trust.
God says, “I will never, never, never leave you.”
We rest in the Word of God, in absolute trust.
Despite all that befalls us, this we know is true.

The ever-popular hymn “How Firm a Foundation” is offered by Sovereign Grace Music to remind us of God’s ever-abiding presence.

In my distress

January 11, 2016

Psalm 118--5-6

In Psalm 118:5-6 (NLT) we find the Verse of the Day for January 11, 2016:

In my distress I prayed to the Lord, and the Lord answered me and set me free. The Lord is for me, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me?

The Verse of the Day opens with reference to “in my distress” and ends with a question “What can mere people do to me?” This passage brings to mind the closing verses of Romans 8 where we find a reference to “distress” in a series of sobering questions found in my favorite chapter in the Bible:

Romans 8:31-36:

31 What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? 32 Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? 33 Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. 34 Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.
35 Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? 36 (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”

The passage culminates with a powerful response that thunders with the answer to the barrage of questions:

Romans 8:37

37 No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.

The response is definite and emphatic: absolutely not! No way, Jose! No!, [Expletive deleted—No!] Paul goes on to close out this section to remind believers of who we are and whose we are:

Romans 8:38-39

38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:37-39 is used as part of the introduction to the blues poem “Final Victory,” written after having been diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2000. The work expresses the ultimate triumph over the last enemy when we shall experience the reality of the

Final Victory

I Corinthians 15:53-57 & Romans 8:37-39

Old man crab is mighty sneaky,
always creepin and up to no good,
Old man crab, is mighty sneaky,
always creepin and up to no good,
That low-down dirty rascal,
Messin with folk all round the neighborhood.

One dark day old man crab came callin,
Crawlin in like some uninvited mouse,
One dark day old man crab came callin,
Crawlin in like some uninvited mouse,
That nasty dirty devil,
Sneakin in the back door of my sister’s house.

First you first attacked my mama, old man crab,
You tried to pinch her with your greatest fears,
First you first attacked my mama, old man crab,
You tried to pinch her with your greatest fears,
But she didn’t want no she-crab soup,
You tried to serve with pain and bitter tears.

You may have come to our house, old man crab,
But I’m sorry, you can’t stay.
You may have come to our house, old man crab,
But I’m sorry, you can’t stay.
Whatsonever in the world you may do,
Every day we still gonna watch, fight, and pray.

Nothin’ low down on earth, old man crab,
Or nothin high up in heaven above,
Nothin’ low down on earth, old man crab,
Or nothin high up in heaven above,
Not even death, your creepin partner,
Can ever separate us from God’s love.

So git out my face, old man crab,
I got your number, don’t you see.
So git out my face, old man crab,
I got your number, don’t you see.
You may win this little biddy battle,
But we show-nuff got the final victory.

Some say our Savior’s comin in the mornin;
Some say in the midnight hour or high noon.
Some say our Savior’s comin in the mornin;
Some say in the midnight hour or high noon.
I got a feelin He’s comin back
To gather us together soon . . . and very soon.

The last line of the poem comes from a popular gospel song written by the late Andrae Crouch, renowned songwriter and singer: “Soon and Very Soon.”

Never, no never, no never forsake

January 11, 2015

Psalm 118--5-6

The Verse of the Day for January 11, 2015 found in Psalm 118:5-6 (New Living Translation):

In my distress I prayed to the Lord, and the Lord answered me and set me free. The Lord is for me, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me?

Psalm 56:11 (NLT) also offers similar expressions as to why there should be no fear when it comes to our relationship with God.

I trust in God, so why should I be afraid?
What can mere mortals do to me?

I recall the lyrics to the song “I Must Tell Jesus”: “In my distress he promised to help me.” God offers assurance that when His people call on Him that He will answer. The Bible is full of examples of individuals who called upon the Lord in distress, and He came to their rescue. Jacob, for example, learned the truth regarding God’s response to his praying to God when he was in great distress because his brother, Esau, was pursuing him in order to kill him. Genesis 35:3 records what Jacob said as he is returning to Bethel years after his first encounter with God in that sacred place:

We are now going to Bethel, where I will build an altar to the God who answered my prayers when I was in distress. He has been with me wherever I have gone.”

Recall the encouraging words spoken to the Children of Israel in Deuteronomy 31:6:

So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.”

A most remarkable illustration is Peter for whom a company of believers prayed for when he was in prison, a place of great distress. That account in Acts 12 inspired this poetic expression whereby we can apply the Word of God to our own lives:

Like Peter in Prison

Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made

without ceasing of the church unto God for him.

Acts 12:3

Like Peter in prison we wait for the new day.

In dark times the ray of hope has never been more dim,

But we see that God Almighty always makes a way:

He sent an angel of the Lord to rescue him,

And the same God that rescued Peter cares for you and me.

The mighty warrior who has never known defeat

Always triumphs and moves from victory to victory,

For the good work that He began He will complete.

Prison gates opened; Peter walked into the street

And returned to find the saints praying for relief

From the yoke of bondage that imprisoned the man.

Though they prayed fervently, they were prayed in unbelief.

Rhoda said, “He’s here,” but they ridiculed the woman.

When Peter arrived, they could not believe their eyes.

Surrounded by fear and doubt they did not realize

Not even prisons can deter God’s perfect plan.

God is faithful to each promise—His Word is true.

Be assured that He will also come to our rescue.

The Scriptures reinforce the truth that God has promised that He will never leave nor forsake those who trust in Him and call upon His name. This message is especially well expressed in Hebrews 13:5-6 in the Amplified Bible:

Let your character or moral disposition be free from love of money [including greed, avarice, lust, and craving for earthly possessions] and be satisfied with your present [circumstances and with what you have]; for He [God] Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down (relax My hold on you)! [Assuredly not!]

So we take comfort and are encouraged and confidently and boldly say, The Lord is my Helper; I will not be seized with alarm [I will not fear or dread or be terrified]. What can man do to me?

The last verse of “How Firm a Foundation” rings in my ears as I read this passage from Hebrews 13:5-6:

“The soul that on Jesus hath lean’d for repose,
I will not, I will not desert to his foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I’ll never, no never, no never forsake!”

The ever-popular hymn is offered by Sovereign Grace Music to remind us of God’s ever abiding presence.

Psalm 118 and Psalm 124: The Lord is on my side

January 11, 2014

what ifPsalm 118:5-6

I called upon the Lord in distress: the Lord answered me, and set me in a large place. The Lord is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me?

This morning as I read the Verse of the Day from Psalm 118:5-6, the phrase “The Lord is on my side” seemed to stand out, almost as if in flashing fluorescent lights that pulsated in my mind’s eye. I thought of Psalm 124 which uses the same phrase, but it is expressed in a different way. The King James Version states, “If it had not been for the Lord who was on my side. . .” I prefer, however, the New Living Translation which raises one of those “What if…”questions. Here is the psalm in its entirety:

Psalm 124

What if the Lord had not been on our side?
Let all Israel repeat:
What if the Lord had not been on our side
when people attacked us?
They would have swallowed us alive
in their burning anger.
The waters would have engulfed us;
a torrent would have overwhelmed us.
Yes, the raging waters of their fury
would have overwhelmed our very lives.

Praise the Lord,
who did not let their teeth tear us apart!
We escaped like a bird from a hunter’s trap.
The trap is broken, and we are free!
Our help is from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.

Verse 1 in the King James Version was the inspiration for this personal poetic expression:

If It Had Not Been for the Lord

“If it had not been the LORD who was on our side,”
Let Israel now say—

 Psalm 124:1

 

If it had not been for the Lord who was on my side,

I would have drowned in the sea from the tears I cried.

I shudder to think just where I would be today.

I would have lost my mind or turned and walked away,

But I learned that God is faithful—this cannot be denied.

He was there to guide when I was tempted and tried,

My shelter from the storm where I could run and hide.

He was my deliverer—that is all I have to say:

If it had not been for the Lord.

Enemies rose up like a flood to wash aside,

But God came through and rescued me and turned the tide.

Pressing toward the mark, dawning of a brand new day,

Through all my trials I learned to watch, fight and pray.

The Lord is my keeper; in Him I confide:

If it had not been for the Lord.

Helen Baylor shares part of her testimony and sings “If it Had Not Been for the Lord on My Side.”

The Verse of the Day from Psalms 118 brought to mind Psalm 124 which really caused me to think about what might have been, if it had not been for the Lord on my side.