1 How great is the Lord,
how deserving of praise…
9 O God, we meditate on Your unfailing love
as we worship in Your Temple.
10 As Your name deserves, O God,
You will be praised to the ends of the earth.
Your strong right hand is filled with victory.
14 For that is what God is like.
He is our God forever and ever,
and He will guide us until we die.” Psalm 48:1a, 9-10, 14
As we look forward into the new year, many are troubled and concerned for various reasons about the future. Some have concern for family, rocky marriages, sickness, disease, addictions, violence, rebellious children, etc.; others fear cultural demands including the world’s wisdom and self-indulgence; while still others fear the outcome of arrogance, pride, self-absorption and narcissistic leadership; and even war.
You know as well as I that the list could go on and on for the one who came to steal, kill, destroy, and devour does his job. Although, we have the promise of one day living in a world that has not been marred by sin, we are not there yet and the evidence of this truth sometimes feel overwhelming.
While we wait and rejoice to see that day, God has given those who belong to Jesus His Spirit and His Word! It is there that we find the strength and courage to not allow fear to overtake our faith as we enter the new year.
I have never counted but have heard it said that the Bible tells us 365 times “not to fear.” It is said that it one for each day of the year. While this is encouraging and somewhat cute, life sometimes presses to the point that we need all 365 in one day.
When I read Psalm 48, the message I receive from God is ‘not to fear’. He remains Sovereign and the Supreme Ruler of this world and it is not going to change. In its entirety, Psalm 48 speaks of the Israelites and Jerusalem but the Word is forever revealing the character and nature of the True and Living God. While I don’t believe this passage would be counted in the 365 times the Bible admonishes us not to fear, this passage encourages me to do just that…trust and not fear!
It not only encourages me not to fear but also guides me in ways to keep the fear off and out of me. As I enter 2017, I am asking the Lord to help me keep the eyes of my heart and mind fixed on Him in praise (verse 1) as I walk by faith and not by sight. Fear will have to flee as I meditate on His unfailing love (vs 9). Love that has already graced me with salvation at the cost of His Son.”He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all–how will He not also, along with him, graciously give us all things (Romans 8:32)?”
Surely the Lord deserves that I would willingly bow before Him in worship (verse 9) in the all of my life. Not just on Sunday’s at the church but in every aspect of life for He has made me His temple (1 Cor 3:16) and worship should be like breathing air. It is how I respond to His gracious and merciful love, surrendered to being “called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of His splendor (Isaiah 61:3).”
Verse 9b, “Your strong right hand is filled with victory.” Victory is found in Jesus alone. It doesn’t mean that the trouble and trials won’t come, that tears will not be shed BUT it does mean that the victory of living for the glory of God will be realized as I allow Him to guide me as I walk in His Spirit, trusting and obeying His Word! How I thank Him for being my hiding place and refuge in this present age! Sure ‘nough looking forward to the New Jerusalem where “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away (Revelation 21:4).”
For that is what God is like.
He is our God forever and ever,
and He will guide us until we die.”