Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time,
casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.
1 Peter 5:6-7
The first-century Christians Peter addressed in First Peter faced withering persecution. Living a faithful life led them to live changed lives – and that didn’t jive with social norms (see 4.1-4). Whenever we are in tough times, we can feel the urge to inform God what He needs to do for us! Peter’s exhortation is direct: Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God…
Implicit in this phrase is an admission: God is sovereign, He is omnipotent. There is a coming day when all our troubles will be over; that is the proper time for Him to ‘exalt us.’ Now, as we live out our lives on this ‘mortal coil,’ our respite comes from ‘casting all our anxieties on Him.’ Throw your fears and concerns on Him! Give them to Him – let Him take them for you.
Why? Because He cares for you. This side of eternity, none of us can fully understand or appreciate the wonder of the eternal Creator caring for us…but He does. Tell Him your concerns today, and leave them with Him. He cares for you.
Do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?
People flocked to hear Jesus’ teaching. He called them to lay down their worries, and instead put their trust in God, who valued them highly. It’s easy to think of our lives as insignificant, even meaningless. Especially when times are hard, we can sink into isolation and depression. Jesus reached into hurting lives, and reminded people that God provided for all His creation – and each person was His concern.
What are your worries today? Many people are worrying about their lives, or their livelihood, today. But think for a minute: As Jesus rhetorically asked, Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Answer: No one. So then…instead of worrying, humbly recognize the God who values you, and trust Him today.
The Lord is my light and my salvation – whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life – of whom shall I be afraid?
Psalm 27 has been a source of comfort and encouragement to God’s people for centuries. Facing enemies who threatened his life, David expresses absolute confidence in God. In verse 3 he writes:
Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear;
though war break out against me, even then will I be confident.
David practiced intimacy with the Lord. God wasn’t a far-off deity he could not know. He shared his deepest hurts and fears with God, and expressed his heart-felt desire to ‘dwell with the Lord all the days of my life.’
Have you ‘invited’ the Lord into the secret places in your heart? He’ll ‘meet you there.’ David ends this psalm with a simple exhortation: Wait for the Lord. Call to the Lord, share your heart with Him, and wait for Him.
Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you;
he will never let the righteous fall.
“You look like you need help. Is there anything I can do?” When you’re really in need, meeting someone who says that to you is so wonderful! Some people avoid those who need help; they don’t want to get involved. How incredible is it to know that the Lord is right there, wanting to help us in our need?!
To ‘cast your cares on the Lord’ means to trust Him with your burdens. In Psalm 55, David has been betrayed by someone he thought was a friend; his fear is real, and his anguish is deep. But in the midst of it, when there is no one else who can help, he turns to God. Suddenly, his confidence is restored.
The Apostle Peter echoes these words in his first New Testament epistle: Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you (1 Pet. 5.7). No matter what you are facing today, that’s good advice. Trust in the Lord: He’ll never abandon those who belong to Him.
Immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
The power of nature can bring us to our knees: Sometimes it comes like a mighty storm; other times it lurks like a microscopic virus. In Mark 6, it was a storm that had the disciples fearing for their lives in the middle of the night on the Sea of Galilee. In a moment of terror, Jesus came to them, told them to ‘take courage,’ and calmed the storm. Scripture says the disciples were utterly astonished, because they still hadn’t grasped who He was.
It’s fitting that Jesus, on more than one occasion, calmed a storm at sea when His disciples were afraid, because our lives can seem about as unsteady and threatening as storm waves at times. The wind and the spray batter us and leave us at their mercy. In those moments, imagine how reassuring it was to hear Jesus’ voice, above the storm, calling out, “Don’t be afraid!”
He’s still calling out to us, in the storms of life, It is I. It is Jesus. Do you recognize who He is? The Son of God is calling to you. Hear His voice, take courage, and don’t be afraid. He will calm the storms in your life.
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them,
for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.
As the new nation of Israel approached the Promised Land, Moses – old and about to die – gave them a parting message: God has protected you in the past, so trust Him with your future. Moses reminded Israel of how God gave them victory over the Amorites; the Canaanites might be bigger or stronger, but they could trust the Lord to deliver them – he would never leave them or forsake them.
What trials has God brought you through in your life? Reflect on the greatest battles you’ve faced, the biggest challenges, the worst fears: Was God with you in those struggles? Did He leave you or forsake you? When we remember God’s faithfulness to us in the past, it energizes our faith in Him for the future. Take time today to tell God ‘Thank you’ for His past faithfulness to you, and trust Him for your tomorrows.
For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you,
“Do not fear; I will help you. Do not be afraid, for I myself will help you,”
declares the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.
One of our greatest failings as Christians is diminishing God’s faithfulness to us. We suspect that He will see our sin, and decide to abandon us. Although Isaiah prophesied at a time when Israel was facing judgment and captivity for her sin, God revealed the future hope that would carry them through dark days. In the crucible of suffering, God called them to Himself, and directed them to trust in Him.
We are living in difficult days. It is tempting in times like this to suspect that God sees our sin, and is turning loose His wrath in judgment. But rather than theorizing on the cause, God relentlessly calls us to focus on Him: Do not fear; I will help you.
Once, we were helpless, hopeless, lost sinners…and in that condition, God sent His Son to die for us. Now that we are saved, how much more will He do for us?! As the Apostle Paul wrote, He who did not spare His own Son…how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? (Rom. 8.32) This is a God you can trust!
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
This is one of the well-known verses in Psalms. Scholars suggest the historical setting for this psalm may have been the Assyrian siege of Jerusalem, when God miraculously delivered His people from Sennacherib and his mighty army. But it also combines with Psalm 47 to anticipate God’s still-future kingdom over all the earth: God is the King of all the earth…He reigns over the nations (Ps. 47.7, 8).
God, who was Israel’s refuge and strength more than 700 years before Christ, and who will be King over all the earth in His coming Millennial reign, is the great God we can trust to be our ever-present help in trouble today. Do you see His controlling hand over the centuries of history? When you step back in wonder and see that He is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, then our present struggles don’t seem so terrible…and His ability to help us seems much greater.
Yes, He is our refuge and strength, and He will be our ever-present help today, and every day.
Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.
Listening to too much television or radio programming today can be dangerous to your spiritual health! If it isn’t doomsayers making our plight sound even worse than it is, it’s conspiracy theorists injecting ideas of evil actors scheming to destroy us. Instead of keeping calm and being wise, they stir up fear and anxiety.
In Psalm 27, David asked rhetorically, Whom shall I fear? The implied answer is, On earth, no one! Scripture reminds us, If God is for us, who is against us? (Rom. 8.31) It really doesn’t matter, for Greater is He who is in you, than he who is in the world (1 Jn. 4.4).
Instead of fearing man – or anything that can happen to you, whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe. I ran across a poem entitled “I Feel Safe In His Arms” by Barbie Kirk:
If only I could take a small nap, lay my head down on Jesus’ lap
I would feel as calm as can be, in the arms of Jesus holding me
Not a single worry, not one care, just knowing my Savior’s there
Lord you’re my tower I run to, that’s why I feel safe with you
The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?
The Lord is with me; he is my helper.
I’ve often heard someone pray, “Lord, please be with so-in-so…” I’m sure you’ve heard it, too. But did you know that the Lord is always with you? The psalmist reflected a truth from the Torah, that the Lord will never leave you or forsake you (Deut. 31.6). This truth is repeated in Hebrews 13.5, and Jesus assured us He would always be with us: “I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matt. 28.20).
What our prayers reveal is our deep desire and need to know God’s presence in our lives. While the Lord is always with us, our awareness that He is there, moment by moment, protecting and helping us, is a comfort in times of stress and anxiety. In Ps. 118.5, the psalmist writes, In my anguish I cried to the Lord, and he answered by setting me free.
Stop focusing on the world and its problems for a minute, and instead talk to the Lord about them. Tell Him the things that are weighing you down. And ask Him to set you free.