PSALM 17: THE ANTIDOTE TO FEAR

What if the thing we fear the most comes upon us?  What if we find ourselves persecuted, opposed, threatened by destitution, or in the tight grip of poverty? What if the financial markets collapse or COVID comes? What can we honestly do about such fears? Is there an antidote or biblical prescription for such fears?
In Psalm 17, David is facing those that “set their eyes to cast us to the ground” those that “have now surrounded our steps...like a lion eager to tear, as a young lion lurking in ambush” (vs. 11-12).  A fearful situation indeed. The antidote to fear for David is equal parts love and innocence. David pleads with God to act and gives two strong supports for his plea: the first being David’s actual lived innocence and righteousness and the second, deeper still than the first, being the love of God for His own. 
David maintains his innocence. He does not claim perfection, but he does say essentially in vs. 3, I obey you...you’ve tested and tried me and can continue to do so...because  “you will find nothing”(vs. 3). David is not self-righteous. He means simply that he is not actively pursuing things—-interests, and behaviors—-that would warrant God’s judgment in this situation. He is also careful to say that his obedience is the work of God’s word in his life. He states, for instance in vs. 4 “with regard to the works of man, by the word of your lips, I have avoided the ways of the violent.” The innocence of David’s actions, in the scope of his complaint here, is God wrought and real, not hyperbolic or theoretical in any way.
David also remembers and appeals to God’s steadfast love. He writes, “wondrously show your steadfast love” and “keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings” (vs. 7,8). 
When daily obedience, rooted in deep daily meditation on God’s words, meets with God’s steadfast love in the matrix of faith, the result is unshakeable confidence that God will answer. David maintains his innocence as he asks for God’s intervention (vs.1-5) and also makes a deeper appeal for God’s help by appealing to His nature—-his steadfast love (vs.6-9). When we live for God and know Him well—-His nature and character—-we can have confidence that God will answer no matter the fears we face. We can say then and every time with David, “I call upon you, for you will answer me, O God...” (vs. 6a). 
The God who loves us-—whom we may implore to “keep [us] as the apple of your eye...” (vs. 8)——will “behold the right”. He sees things as they really are and will give to each one accordingly. To the wicked—-those who have only the things of this world, as their “portion is in this life”—-he will give the “sword” (vs. 13). To the righteous—those who like David have lives full of obedience empowered by God’s word, who know and love Him—-he will give the gift of Himself forever. They can say with David even now in the midst of their fears, “As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness; when I awake, I shall be satisfied with your likeness” (vs. 15).

by Craig Lester

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