Psalm 118 is a classic passage of Scripture with many life-changing verses for us. You will remember several as you read this psalm, such as verse 24, ESV: "This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it."
Or verse 22, when the psalmist spoke of Jesus: "The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone."
But today I want to focus on verse 6.
"Out of my distress I called on the Lord; the Lord answered me and set me free. The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?" -Psalm 118:5-6, ESV
This verse deals with facing our fears in light of the our Lord’s promise that He is with us and the personal impact it will have if we truly believe it.
The psalmist sets it up in verse 5 as he calls out to God in his anguish and fear and was set free. And in verse 6, we are shown how the psalmist was set free: the Lord was with Him, and now he is not afraid.
If believed, the verses make a bold statement for all of life that tells us how the writer got over his fear of being afraid.
The sovereign Lord Almighty was with him.
It’s easy to conclude that God himself told the psalmist this because he wrote about his struggle in the verse before. The writer tells us that he prayed about his fearful situation. Now we see that he has a new way of living. Listen to what he says:
"The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me? The Lord is on my side as my helper; I shall look in triumph on those who hate me." -Psalm 118:6-7, ESV
Wow! The writer of this psalm believed God when He said, “Don’t fear. I am with you. Trust Me.”
Our tension is with what we say we believe and what we really believe. Only what we do will tell us what we really believe.
If I say to myself, “I believe God the Holy Spirit is with me,” but I don’t step into my fear—whatever it may be—then I don’t really believe that God Almighty is sufficient for the task I am asked to do.
Courage to act does not mean our feelings of fear will disappear. It’s likely that we will still be afraid even though we believe the promise that God is with us. Think of all the “what ifs” that confront us when we are afraid even though we have the promises of God’s power, provision, and plan in those situations.
Yes, the feelings of fear will be with us. But when we take the step into or through that fear, the great I Am goes to work.
John's travels for ministry behind the Iron Curtain led him to found East-West Ministries International in 1993. John and his wife, Susie, live in Dallas, Texas and have a grown daughter and two grandchildren.