“Whom shall I fear?”
This is the question asked by David in Psalm 27:1. It was asked following the pronouncement that, “The Lord is my light and my salvation.” He next reasons that, “the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” In this time labeled by some as a “pandemic,” David’s question is quite pertinent to us today.
Due to my present weakened condition, I am well aware of the concern that many have concerning the COVID-19 virus that is affecting our world. But as Christians, what should be our attitude? Do we still believe that “we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Rom. 8:28)? Jesus gave similar instruction in Romans 10:28: “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”
The ASV margin has “stronghold” for the word “strength”; thus God is here recognized as the Light, the Salvation, and the Stronghold (or fortress) of the believer. “A Mighty Fortress is Our God,” (written by Martin Luther) is based upon this passage. In Romans 8:31, we have the New Testament elaboration of what is taught here. “If God be for us, who can be against us?” Jesus instructs us, “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matt. 10:28).
Paul is not saying that if God is for us no one can be against us; neither is Jesus forbidding us to fear those who can kill our body. Rather there is an emphasis in both passages. Our chief concern in this life is to “Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man” (Ecc. 12:13). Paul’s statement just simply means that if God is for us, then it doesn’t matter who is against us.
When I was at Double Springs, I often sang with our VBS students, “He’s my Rock, my Sword, my Shield; He’s my Hub in the middle of the wheel; He’s the fairest of ten thousand to my soul.” David’s version of this song would state that “He’s my light, my salvation, my fortress.”
Two other passages come to mind that should encourage us as Christians during this time. One is David’s most well-known and loved 23rd Psalm. After declaring, “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want” in verse one, he elaborates by showing that one thing this means is, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me” (v. 4).
The other is found in Peter’s writings. By inspiration he wrote, “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you” (I Pet. 5:6-7).
If anyone has a reason to be fearful of this virus, I must be included. But I have determined to put my trust in my Redeemer, use common sense, and go on with my life. May God help us, for this too shall pass!
-Paul M. Wilmoth