Posted by: rcottrill | August 16, 2009

Lord’s Day Meditation – Antidote for Fear

He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we may boldly say: “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” (Heb. 13:5-6)

The word “never” translates the strong Greek negative ou me, meaning not under any circumstances, not under any conditions. (There are, in fact, five negatives in the Greek text, making the promise as ironclad as possible.) The Amplified Bible better conveys the absolute assurance in these words. It is well worth reading its rendering of the verses before we go on.

He [God] Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down (relax My hold on you)! [Assuredly not!] So we take comfort and are encouraged and confidently and boldly say, The Lord is my Helper; I will not be seized with alarm [I will not fear or dread or be terrified]. What can man do to me?

Where is the Lord?
The first part of this verse provides an antidote for the fear described in the second part. God’s pledge to the believer is clear and unequivocal. He will never desert us. No, not under any circumstances. And we have, in addition, the words of the Lord Jesus, just before His ascension: “Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:20).

What can man do to me?
On the surface, it would seem the answer to that question is: A great deal! But there are a couple of important qualifies, or boundaries.

  • First, others can do nothing to affect our eternal welfare, nothing to rob us of the blessings God has in store for us. The latter are already stored in the safety deposit box of heaven, and are there waiting for us (I Pet. 1:3-5).
  • Second, others can do nothing to us, even in a temporal sense, that the Lord does not permit. And He will only allow those things to touch our lives which will ultimately be for our good and His glory (Rom. 8:28).

A bold confidence is possible
In our life and service for Christ, we need not fear. God’s purposes will be fulfilled. Someone said to D. L. Moody that he had a favourite verse, Psalm 56:3, which says, “Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You.” Moody replied that he had an even better one: “I will trust and not be afraid” (Isa. 12:2). If the Lord is with us, and His protection is assured, we need not fear. God is present always, and He is always in control of the situation!

Pastor John Rippon published A Selection of Hymns from the Best Authors in 1787. Among them was a song whose origins are uncertain, but whose message is not. How Firm a Foundation is a hymn that should be learned and sung often. The final stanza alludes to the promise of God in Hebrews, and the author has attempted to convey the meaning of God’s promise with a repeated negative. (When you have a congregation sing it, try repeating that last line three times, slowing it down the last time.)

Be assured, Christian brother or sister. God says:

The soul that on Jesus has leaned for repose,
I will not, I will not desert to its foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavour to shake,
I’ll never, no never, no never forsake.


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