Pearls from the Psalms
Mr. George Rainey, the editor’s father, will be 80 years old on July 14th. He has been in the Lord’s work for over sixty years and Is still very active in an itinerant ministry, particularly among small assemblies of God’s people, many of which he has visited faithfully for fifty years or more. This is his first article to appear in FOCUS.
It is cause for concern when we see believers whose lives are being hurt by fears; fears as to the family, work, health, and other real or fancied fears which keep us from enjoying the richness of the life of Christ our Lord.
It was Horace Walpole who said: “We are largely the play-things of our fears.”
David, the shepherd-king, was not immune to fear. He admits in Psalm 56:3, “I am afraid,” and then quickly adds, “I will trust in thee,” that is, in the Lord. In Psalm 27:1 he states: “The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?”
We can understand why David feared for his life. Psalm 56 belongs to the time when he was trying to escape the hatred of Saul, although some think it belongs to his sad experience at Gath, where God saved him from death. David was friendless, homeless, lonely and unwanted. The death that chased at his heels in Gath was a lesser kind than what he had to endure from Saul who had grown jealous of David’s rise to popularity.
An Answer To Fear
In Psalm 56 we have one answer to fear. “When I am afraid,” David says, “I will trust in thee” (v. 3).
Why is it that we fear certain trials? Some of God’s people are simply more susceptible to fear than others. When working in a hospital before going to China as a missionary, I watched different children. A door would slam shut and one child would cry with fright, while another child in the next crib would sleep on. Our training and family relationships bring into our lives many fears. Some of these may disappear; if they don’t, they can become destructive and lead to physical problems.
Fear in itself is never sinful. What counts is what we do when we are afraid, and David purposed that he would trust in God. Here, then, we have the real cure of fear in the time of trouble. For us to share our fears with our family or with a trustworthy friend can be helpful, but trusting our Saviour-Priest is the best. Let us take all our fears to Christ who is living and loving, and then let us believe His Word: “Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you” (1 Pet. 5:7). Complete trust in Him is better than all human advice.
Three times David said, “I will praise His Word” (Psa. 56:4, 10). Here is the secret of his faith. He rested in the promises of God’s Word and made them his own. Our faith and hope must rest upon His Word which cannot be broken.
Whenever we face a real fear we must take it to our Captain, Christ the Lord, leaving it in His all-wise hands and casting it out of our mind. Why? Because faithful is our Priest-King and it is His Word that will fetter fear.
Teach us to trust when there is cause to fear,
When trials come and tempests appear;
Help us to know that Thou, O God, art near.
Comfort And Sympathy
Again, we learn that Psalm 56 offers us comfort for our care and sympathy for our sorrow. “Put thou my tears into thy bottle. Are they not in thy book? … God is for me” (vv. 8-9). Since David had reason to fear, he also had reason to suffer and sorrow. Friends had forsaken him, home was only a memory, and danger and death stalked behind him.
In all his suffering, David turned from his testings at the hand of the enemy to the God of all grace. He put out of his mind his foes who, as he said, “wrest my words” and “mark my steps, when they wait for my soul” (vv. 5-6). Here he hands over his cares, disappointments, and fears to the Lord. It was then that he had faith to go on his way, knowing that God had hold of his hand and would hold him fast. “If God be for us, who can be against us?” (Rom. 8:31).
It is comforting for us to know that our Father knows all about our tears and He understands all about our trials. And not just some of them, but all of them that we pass through. David had shed so many tears and had experienced such great sorrow that it was necessary for God to put them into a wineskin. Thus David knew that those tears would be known by God as his. How very tender is the heart of our Father when it comes to our need!
When it comes to the Word of God, we have comfort in the book of Revelation that David did not know. It is there that we read: “And God shall wipe away all tears from our eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying. neither shall there be any more pain; for the former things are passed away” (21:4). The Lord who keeps our tears in His bottle will one of these days wipe them from our eyes forever.
At a conference of God’s people the story was told of a Christian lady who was dying. A brother in the Lord went to see her and asked, “Sister, are you sinking?” With a great deal of effort she raised herself up and in a voice of triumph told him, “Did you ever know a child of God to sink through a Rock? If my hopes were built on shifting sand, I would sink and be greatly distressed. But thank God, brother, I am resting on the Rock of Ages.”
For us who struggle with fears, trials and testings, what a safe shelter is ours in the Lord. Is it any wonder that David could sing: “In God have I put my trust; I will not be afraid what man can do unto me … I will render praise unto thee” (Psa. 56:11-12)?
Jesus, we are resting
In the joy of what Thou art;
We are finding out the greatness
Of Thy loving heart.