Hope and Fear - Psalm 56:3-4

15 March 2011

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me?

Psalm 56:3-4, ESV

According to the introductory statement to this Psalm, David wrote this when  he had been seized by the Philistines in Gath (1 Samuel 21:10-15), and starts this Psalm with expression of this situation and his fear, also in 1 Samuel 21:12 after he was recognised by Achish’s servants.  From this initial fear, he puts his trust in God and turns to God’s word - a good reaction for any situation.

Looking to God and his word brings any situation back into context and the realisation that if we are to trust in God there is no need to be afraid, for he is greater than anything that we fear.  In David’s case, this was the enemies surrounding him, but it could just as well be a disaster

In fact we don’t see the fullness of our hope in God until fear arrives and causes us to lean on God and place our trust in him. As Calvin writes:

In a tranquil state of the mind, there is no scope for the exercise of hope. At such times it lies dormant, and its power is only displayed to advantage when we see it elevating the soul under dejection, calming its agitations, or soothing its distractions.

Commentary on the Psalms, Vol 2

How do you respond to fear?  Should we respond to fear differently?