05/23/S – When I Am Afraid

Numbers 18:8-32; Mark 16:1-8; Psalms 56:1-9; Proverbs 15:29-30

NT: “When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they could go and anoint him. Very early in the morning, on the first day of the week, they went to the tomb at sunrise. They were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone from the entrance to the tomb for us?” Looking up, they noticed that the stone — which was very large — had been rolled away. When they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side; they were alarmed. “Don’t be alarmed,” he told them. “You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they put him.” (Mark‬ ‭16:1-6‬ ‭CSB‬‬)

Even though Jesus had mentioned multiple times that He would rise from the dead, His followers were still surprised when it happened. Perhaps they were thinking He was speaking metaphorically, speaking of a spiritual resurrection instead of a physical one. But He did arise physically… and the two ladies that visited His tomb that day weren’t just surprised – they were terrified. That word in Greek means to be terrified and utterly astonished and alarmed. To put it simply, they were freaking out, and the angel had to settle them down. Jesus was not there because He had risen! Not only had He paid the debt of all mankind and redeemed them from the kingdom of darkness, He had also overpowered the forces of hell and the certainty of death to come back alive again with new and everlasting life. That is the Lord and King that we serve: the Lord and King who even triumphs over death itself. If that is the case, then what could we, His servants, possibly be afraid of? For in Him, not only are our sins paid for and removed, but we are filled with the same resurrection power and life as Christ. That puts a new perspective on things.

Psalms: “When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? They twist my words all day long; all their thoughts against me are evil. They stir up strife, they lurk, they watch my steps while they wait to take my life… You yourself have recorded my wanderings. Put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book? Then my enemies will retreat on the day when I call. This I know: God is for me.” (‭‭Psalms‬ ‭56:3-6, 8-9‬ ‭CSB‬‬)

When King Saul was seeking to end David’s life, David fled to Gath, the home town of Goliath. Understandably, David was not well-received and his life was threatened in Gath as well. David, fearing his life and with no safe place to go, penned this psalm along with Psalm 34. When you place your life in the Lord’s hands and trust completely in Him – when you live your life in worship to Him – no matter the circumstances you find yourself in, even if they appear to be hopeless, you always have a refuge in the Lord. If God is for you (because you have aligned your life with His word, will, and ways), then no one can stand against you. When you are afraid, trust in God. When you are full of fear and doubt, lift up truthful words of praise about the Lord to the Lord. Then you will be reminded of Whose you are, and who you are in Him, and your mind will be at peace.

Proverbs: “The Lord is far from the wicked, but he hears the prayer of the righteous.” (‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭15:29‬ ‭CSB‬‬)

The Lord of light and life… the King of all kings and the Lord of all lords… the Creator and sustainer of all hears the prayer of the righteous. As David wrote, He knows the places we go, He sees the situations we are in, He stores up our precious tears, He hears us, and He is for us. That is the confidence of those who walk according to the words, will, and ways of the Lord. Those who go their own way are on their own, and have much to fear. But for those who are in the Lord, when things get scary, or uncertain, or downright terrifying; we can place our trust and our hope in the Lord and be at peace.

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