Thursday, February 4, 2016

Thoughts on Psalm 119:23

23 Princes also sit and speak against me,
But Your servant meditates on Your statutes.

Princes. That’s not a regular word in the United States. But who would be the equivalent?

Civil government, right? Mayors, judges, senators, governors, etc.

So can you stop for a few minutes and imagine what it would be like if the princes of the land didn’t just gossip about you around the water cooler - but they actually scheduled a meeting and sat down to plot your demise? For whatever reason - but if you need a simple one, because of your faith.

This is a powerful verse, because it sets the bar at the very top. Maybe your neighbors speak against you, or your coworkers, or God forbid your family. But what can they do in comparison with the princes?

If you let your imagination go there, you will see that fear, worry, and anxiety are waiting for you.

During the Medo-Persian empire, the princes of the land passed a piece of legislation that forbade anyone to pray to any god except the king - if someone did, they would be thrown into a lion’s den. And they did this specifically to entrap the prophet Daniel. Now that is something to worry about. But Daniel prayed anyway, and we know the result. (If you don’t see, Dan 6)

What’s remarkable is that in the midst of that horrifying situation, the word of God makes no mention that Daniel was afraid.

Until he met another Prince in chapter 10. He is called “the Prince of princes.” Dan 8:25 He was Jesus Christ, the Son of God, in His glory, before He came to Earth as a man. The description of this Glorious Man is remarkably similar to that of the Resurrected Jesus Christ that John gave in Revelation 1.

Both Daniel and John had the same reaction when they saw His awesome glory - they collapsed.

I was in a deep sleep on my face, with my face to the ground. Dan 10:9
And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. Rev 1:17

And Jesus responded them both in exactly the same way - He spoke to them.

Then again, the one having the likeness of a man touched me and strengthened me. And he said, “O man greatly beloved, fear not! Peace be to you; be strong, yes, be strong!” Dan 10:18-19

But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, “Do not be afraid…” Rev 1:17

And the result?

So when he spoke to me I was strengthened Dan 10:19

So what is the ultimate message here? It is simply this:

Whatever princes would sit and speak against you, they have no glory like Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Whatever circumstances would make you tremble and fear, losing your strength - they are but a burned out match compared to the brilliance of the Sun. And He says to you: “Do not be afraid.

That is worth meditating on. Not the problem, not the accuser, not “how do I find a solution?” But meditate on the word of God. The word of God is your strength. And peace will be your shield. Confidence will burst forth in the midst of impossibility and shout, “No!” in the face of fear. Wisdom will guide you. Love will be your foundation.

I have heard it said that the Bible says “do not be afraid” 365 times. I have researched this, and have not found that to be true, which is unfortunate - I don’t understand why someone would make that up.

But let me ask this question - how many times does God need to say “do not be afraid” in order for us to believe Him?

Shouldn’t once be enough? And yet…

  • Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD Exod 14:13

  • Do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go Josh 1:9

  • Then the LORD said to him, “Peace be with you; do not fear, you shall not die.” Judges 6:23

  • I will fear no evil; for You are with me Psalm 23:4

  • They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the LORD. Ps 112:7 NIV

  • Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

  • But He said to them, “It is I; do not be afraid.John 6:20

  • Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. John 14:27

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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