What Are You Afraid Of?

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Reading the Word

Psalm 118:5–9 (ESV)

5 Out of my distress I called on the LORD;
the LORD answered me and set me free.
6 The LORD is on my side; I will not fear.
What can man do to me?
7 The LORD is on my side as my helper;
I shall look in triumph on those who hate me.

8 It is better to take refuge in the LORD
than to trust in man.
9 It is better to take refuge in the LORD
than to trust in princes.

Understanding and Applying the Word

When I was young, I was afraid to be left alone in the dark. My mind could come up with some terrifying thoughts when the lights were off. However, my fears disappeared when I had someone with me. The presence of another gave me strength to face the dark and confidence that I was not on my own to face any lurking dangers alone.

The Lord has promised to never leave us alone. He is always beside us and goes into the darkness with us. He gives us confidence and he faces our enemies with us. “The LORD is on my side; I will not fear,” the psalmist says. How can we fear when the all-powerful King of kings is on our side? In Psalm 23, David writes, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.”

What are your fears? Know that you can face those fears with the Lord by your side.

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Quiet Confidence

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Reading the Word

Matthew 27:11–14 (ESV)

11 Now Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus said, “You have said so.” 12 But when he was accused by the chief priests and elders, he gave no answer. 13 Then Pilate said to him, “Do you not hear how many things they testify against you?” 14 But he gave him no answer, not even to a single charge, so that the governor was greatly amazed.

Parallel Text: Mark 15:2-5

Understanding and Applying the Word

Pilate was amazed as he questioned Jesus. He was amazed because of the outrage of the religious leaders. How could Jesus cause such heated feelings that these men would want him put to death? He was also amazed because Jesus remained calm and collected even in the midst of the accusations and looming condemnation. How could Jesus seem so confident during all of this?

In the eye of the storm that was raging around him, Jesus stood confidently trusting in the Father. Jesus knew he was going to the cross. He knew that he had to die. He did not panic. He did not plead for his life to be spared. He stood in quiet confidence. This amazed Pilate.

Believers should also be marked by confidence. We may face difficult things in life, but we know what the future holds and it is good. It is very good. We will be with the Lord forever in a world without sin and suffering and death. We are confident because we trust in the plans and purposes of God. Our confidence should be something that others notice about us. As Peter wrote in his letter:

But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,” (1 Peter 3:14–15, ESV)

Let us go forward in confidence, proclaiming the goodness of God and trusting in the future he has promised.

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Living Without Fear

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Reading the Word

Luke 13:31–33 (ESV)

31 At that very hour some Pharisees came and said to him, “Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you.” 32 And he said to them, “Go and tell that fox, ‘Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I finish my course. 33 Nevertheless, I must go on my way today and tomorrow and the day following, for it cannot be that a prophet should perish away from Jerusalem.’

Understanding and Applying the Word

It is interesting that some Pharisees went to Jesus to warn him about Herod. The Pharisees did not like Jesus. Were they genuinely warning Jesus? Were they simply trying to scare Jesus away?

Jesus was not concerned with the news the Pharisees brought. He was not afraid of Herod. By calling Herod a “fox”, Jesus communicated that he felt Herod was insignificant and without honor. Instead of running away in fear, Jesus intended to continue doing what the Father intended for him. He would finish his course.

Jesus was sold out to do the will of the Father regardless of the opposition. No earthly ruler or power could prevent that. He did not fear others and neither should we. We too must be willing to live fully for our Lord knowing that he is the one truly in power and control. We have no reason to fear those who are opposed to Christ. Our God reigns!

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For God Alone My Soul Waits

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Reading the Word

Psalm 62:1–4 (ESV)

1 For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation. 2 He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken. 3 How long will all of you attack a man to batter him, like a leaning wall, a tottering fence? 4 They only plan to thrust him down from his high position. They take pleasure in falsehood. They bless with their mouths, but inwardly they curse. Selah

Understanding and Applying the Word

When faced with trouble we can face it in different ways. One way is to be fearful and try to run away from the danger. Another way is to face the circumstance with confidence. This is what David does in Psalm 62. He declares that he will wait in silence and will not be shaken.

Why is David so confident in his time of trouble? His trust is in God and God alone. He trusts that God will save him from his enemies. David does not gain confidence by denying his problem or by trying to put a positive spin on the situation. No. He trusts in God, the One who is a fortress to his people. May we learn to trust in the only One who can truly save us and may we face our troubles with confidence in the God of our salvation.

**Shaped by the Word is a daily Bible reading devotional. Please use the links at the bottom to subscribe to this page. You can also share this post with your friends through social media using the buttons below. Thanks for reading!

From the Ends of the Earth

Psalm 612 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Psalm 61:1–8 (ESV)

1 Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer; 2 from the end of the earth I call to you when my heart is faint. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I, 3 for you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy. 4 Let me dwell in your tent forever! Let me take refuge under the shelter of your wings! Selah5 For you, O God, have heard my vows; you have given me the heritage of those who fear your name. 6 Prolong the life of the king; may his years endure to all generations! 7 May he be enthroned forever before God; appoint steadfast love and faithfulness to watch over him! 8 So will I ever sing praises to your name, as I perform my vows day after day.

Understanding and Applying the Word

These are the words of King David as he calls out to God. We are not given the specific details of the historical background, but we know that David calls from the “ends of the earth”. He feels far away from God. Perhaps David is involved in a battle far away from the tabernacle of God’s presence. Still, David calls for God to hear him and protect him as he trusts that even at the ends of the earth God will do so.

It is a wonderful privilege to be able to call on the name of the Lord. No matter the circumstances and no matter the location, we can be sure that God hears and answers his children. You may feel that you have gone to the ends of the earth and that you are far away from God, but this is not true! You are never too far away to call out to God. He hears and he listens and he is always near. Turn to him today!

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By Your Name

Reading Black and White

Reading the Word

Psalm 54:1–7 (ESV)

1 O God, save me by your name, and vindicate me by your might. 2 O God, hear my prayer; give ear to the words of my mouth. 3 For strangers have risen against me; ruthless men seek my life; they do not set God before themselves. Selah4 Behold, God is my helper; the Lord is the upholder of my life. 5 He will return the evil to my enemies; in your faithfulness put an end to them. 6 With a freewill offering I will sacrifice to you; I will give thanks to your name, O Lord, for it is good. 7 For he has delivered me from every trouble, and my eye has looked in triumph on my enemies.

Understanding and Applying the Word

In this psalm, David appeals to the name of the Lord. As he appeals to his name, he uses two different names for God. The first is Elohim, which is simply translated “God”. When David uses this name he also speaks of God’s strength and power. David also uses the name Yahweh, which is the covenant name of God and speaks of his loyalty and faithfulness to his people. This is the name that is translated “LORD” (all capital letters) in our English Bibles.

As David is threatened by evil, he calls out to God who is both the powerful sovereign one and also the faithful and loyal one. David points to God’s character (i.e. his “name”) and trusts that God will deliver him. He is confident in God and plans to give thanks for what God will do.

David knew God. He knew his power and he knew his faithfulness. And David trusted God. How well do you know the Lord and do you trust him in the midst of whatever it is that you might be facing? There is no better way to get to know him than through spending time reading his word and in prayer each day. If you have not already done so, schedule time each day to do just that.

**Shaped by the Word is a daily Bible reading devotional. Please use the links at the bottom to subscribe to this page. You can also share this post with your friends through social media using the buttons below. Thanks for reading!

Sing Praises to Our King

Hands Lifted

Reading the Word

Psalm 47:4–9 (ESV)

4 He chose our heritage for us, the pride of Jacob whom he loves. Selah5 God has gone up with a shout, the Lord with the sound of a trumpet. 6 Sing praises to God, sing praises! Sing praises to our King, sing praises! 7 For God is the King of all the earth; sing praises with a psalm! 8 God reigns over the nations; God sits on his holy throne. 9 The princes of the peoples gather as the people of the God of Abraham. For the shields of the earth belong to God; he is highly exalted!

Understanding and Applying the Word

In Israel, God was recognized as King. However, he was not only King of Israel, but King of the nations. When God made his covenant with Abraham in Genesis 12, it was with the promise that Abraham and his descendants would bring blessing to the world. God’s grace was not meant to be exclusive, but for all people.

When we come to the New Testament, Jesus is proclaimed to be the long-awaited Messiah. However, he is not a Messiah for only the people of Israel, but for all people. He calls people from all nations to follow him (Matthew 28:19-20). And the people of God will be made up of people from every tribe and language (Revelation 7:9).

Let us sing praises to the Lord, the King of all the earth!

**Shaped by the Word is a daily Bible reading devotional. Please use the links at the bottom to subscribe to this page. You can also share this post with your friends through social media using the buttons below. Thanks for reading!

Who Is God, but the Lord?

Psalm 1830 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Psalm 18:28–33 (ESV)

28 For it is you who light my lamp; the Lord my God lightens my darkness. 29 For by you I can run against a troop, and by my God I can leap over a wall. 30 This God—his way is perfect; the word of the Lord proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him. 31 For who is God, but the Lord? And who is a rock, except our God?— 32 the God who equipped me with strength and made my way blameless. 33 He made my feet like the feet of a deer and set me secure on the heights.

Understanding and Applying the Word

“Who is God, but the Lord?” This is the question David asks. Then, “Who is a rock, except our God?” The answer, of course, is no one. There is no other. David is secure and empowered by God who gives him the strength needed to face any circumstance.

A relationship with the God of all things brings confidence. It does not mean that God’s people will be removed from all difficulty in life, but it does mean that we go into those circumstances knowing that God is for us and not against us. Our God holds all things in his hands and his way is perfect. We can have confidence in him because his word is true.

**Shaped by the Word is a daily Bible reading devotional. Please use the links at the bottom to subscribe to this page. You can also share this post with your friends through social media using the buttons below. Thanks for reading!