Tuesday, October 31, 2017
Psalm 112:4, 7-8 4 Light dawns in the darkness for the upright; … 7 He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the LORD. 8 His heart is steady; he will not be afraid, until he looks in triumph on his adversaries.
When Napoleon was an artillery officer during the siege of Toulon, he built a battery of guns in such an exposed position that he was told he would never find men to man it. But Napoleon had a sure instinct for what was required. He put up a sign naming the battery The Battery of Men without Fear. Volunteers abounded and it was always manned.
The Psalmist recognizes the reality of fear in today’s Scripture. In fact, he distinguishes three levels of fear that we all experience.
The first phase of fright is darkness (see verse 4). I remember one event when our grandkids were all at our house, and one of them who lives in town stayed overnight at our house so she could spend more time with her cousin. But when it came time to go to bed we had a problem. One of them wanted the room absolutely dark, while the other one needed the door open and a light on. We had to let one of them fall asleep in a different room and move him into the lighted bedroom later. One of them was afraid of the dark.
Darkness is all around us. Evil makes the world dark. It penetrates our minds and our spirits. Hardships and suffering bring emotional darkness. At times, it even seems our spiritual light has been shut off. But it is not true for the upright in heart. The LORD is gracious and compassionate and righteous, and His light will dawn in the deepest darkness. No matter what depth of darkness you are currently experiencing, look to the Son – His light is dawning.
The second phase of fear is bad news (see verse 7). When added to the darkness one is already experiencing, bad news can be crushing. At times it seems to come in bunches. When compounded, even simple things can become overwhelming, but for the one who trusts in the LORD, there is no such thing as bad news. All news is God’s news of His activity to work all things out for His glory for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.
News only becomes bad news when we lose sight of the faithfulness of God. When we allow our hearts to become self-focused or world-dependent, then we must be prepared for bad news. But when our hearts are steadfastly trusting in the LORD, there is no fear of any news we receive.
The third phase of fear is defeat at the hands of an enemy (see verse 8). The experience of emotional and spiritual darkness is difficult. When compiled with tragic circumstances it becomes serious. But when personal attacks from people are added it is crushing and debilitating.
Most of us would agree that we can handle darkness and difficulties if we know that we have someone to stand beside us. But when our friends become our foes it is unbearable. The Psalmist tells us why – because we have taken our eyes off the future victory and we are demanding immediate relief.
The key to conquering fear at any level is to keep our eyes fixed on the finish line and not the hurdles in the race. In the end, we will look in triumph on our enemies. Just remember – it’s not the end yet.
The person who learns these truths will be able to live free from fear like this anonymous author who wrote:
If I can throw a single ray of light across the darkened pathway of another; if I can aid some soul to clearer sight of life and duty, and thus bless my brother; if I can wipe from any human cheek a tear, I shall not have lived my life in vain while here. If I can guide some erring one to truth, inspire within his heart a sense of duty; if I can plant within my soul of rosy youth a sense of right, a love of truth and beauty; if I can teach one man that God and heaven are near, I shall not then have lived in vain while here. If from my mind I banish doubt and fear, and keep my life attuned to love and kindness; if I can scatter light and hope and cheer, and help remove the curse of mental blindness; if I can make more joy, more hope, less pain, I shall not have lived and loved in vain. If by life’s roadside I can plant a tree, beneath whose shade some wearied head my rest, though I may never share its beauty, I shall yet be truly blest—though no one knows my name, nor drops a flower upon my grave, I shall not have lived in vain while here.
You are the light of God into someone’s darkness. You are the model of trusting God when news arrives that others call bad. You are the friend someone needs to stand by them and give them hope. You are the ambassador of Jesus. There’s no fear here!