God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea. Psalm 46:1-2 NRSV
I am beginning to wonder if there are not two different meanings for the word fear. I haven't been able to find this online. I wonder if any Hebrew scholars out there could share some light on the word fear.
I say this because this psalm really changes what I have been thinking about fear, specifically fearing God. Psalm 46 suggests that God actually removes our fear. In this instance, it is fear of natural disasters. This scripture reminds us that God provides our place of safety, even when it seems like the world is falling apart. Physically, we may be in danger, but God provides true protection and we should not be afraid.
Does this mean if I hear the sirens announcing an approaching tornado that I should fall on my knees in prayer rather than go find the nearest shelter? Should I video the coming storm rather than seek protection? Should I assume God will protect me from harm and not worry about doing anything to safeguard my life because I am a believer?
The words "Don't be stupid" come to mind here. Not that God would say that to us but I have heard of people doing exactly what I asked about above. The psalm tells us not to fear; it says nothing about not being sensible. It reminds me of the joke about a Christian who waited for God to save him as a boat, a helicopter and a life preserver went by. When he got to heaven, he asked God why didn't God save him and God responds: I sent you those three things to save you, what more did you want me to do?
God provides for us - often in quite tangible and human ways - so that we are not to be afraid, no matter what our life circumstances.
God, you are my refuge and my strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore I will not fear, though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea. In Christ's name I pray. Amen.
Copyright 2009 Amelia G. Sims