Mere Man

Read: Psalm 56

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. (v. 3)

In the United States, many people remember where they were on September 11, 2001. The tragedy of 9/11 occurred far from our northeast Iowa home, but fear, uncertainty, and the reality of evil was very real and felt very close that day. That feeling was shared across the country on September 11, but many of us have similar private anniversaries, days when fear and grief overwhelmed.

Psalm 56 is a lament psalm. We are barely through verse 1 and it becomes clear David is hurting and fearful. He references being trampled by his enemies (vv. 1-2), their evil thoughts against him (v. 5), and their stalking behavior with intent to take his life (v. 6). In verse 7 he implores God to “cast down the peoples.”

David takes a reassuring turn in the second half of the psalm. He speaks to the value of trusting God, and the reality that he does not need to be afraid. He then questions what man can actually do to him. The reality of who God is—a God who bottles his tears (v. 8), is for him (v. 9), and delivers him even from death (v. 13)—provides the answer. Man cannot do more to him than God has the power to do for him. This reality is the same for us. When we are fearful of what mere man can do, we too can rest in the assurance of God’s presence and power. —Joy Petroelje

As you pray, thank God for his power over your fears.

About the Author

Joy Petroelje is the director of a nonprofit human services organization. She and her husband Steve have three sons and live near Grand Rapids, Michigan. In addition to family time and her work in nonprofit administration, Joy enjoys reading, writing, and running.

This entry is part 6 of 15 in the series God's Presence and Promise