I am convinced that underneath every negative emotion or behavior is first of all fear. That is why I treasure Psalm 34 so much, especially verse 4 in the psalm. It says, “I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.”
I wrote a chapter called “Stomping on Fear,” in my book Jesus and the Addict.
I am going to share some excerpts from the book to talk about how God delivers us from all our fears. That’s a tremendous promise in Psalm 34 – that as we seek the LORD, He answers, and He delivers us from all fear!
As I say, when you dig beneath someone’s anger, greed, or pride, you will most likely find fear. On the other hand, if we get to the place of really believing in God’s love for us and trusting him, it’s hard to be afraid of anything! In fact, at the beginning of my chapter on fear in Jesus and the Addict, along with quoting Psalm 34:4, I also shared from Romans 8:35, 37-39. This verse is especially comforting from those passages: “And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love.”
When we believe this, what can make us afraid?
God Spoke to our Fears During Bible Study
Here is the excerpt from Jesus and the Addict:
“I remember sitting in a Bible study in a church in which I was leading as pastor. We were studying…Romans 8. Our reader for the morning was a young woman who was a recovering addict. She was reading from the Life Recovery Bible in the New Living Translation (NLT).
This Bible, as you may know, is specifically designed for people in recovery and weaves in the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) to help make AA’s recovery principles connect with the message of the Bible stories.
What struck me that morning was the New Living Translation’s wonderful way of presenting v. 35, “Does it mean [Christ] no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger or threatened with death? NO!!!!”
God Was Delivering Us from Fear Through Scripture
“This young woman had experienced trouble, calamity, sleeping in abandoned houses with nothing to eat. [She had gone through] prostitution, having not a dime to her name, being threatened with guns and violence and people out to get her. She had been used by men and she had used them back.
Her children were from multiple fathers, the most recent father still around, but the relationship rocky. In her life, she had seen hell on earth, some of it her own making.
I had witnessed the cold calculation of several of her relatives any time she had a little more money and safety in her life; how they would move in and try to remove any largesse of which they became aware.
She did not quite yet understand the love of the One she was reading about, but she had certainly known her fair share of fear. That she knew well.
And this verse, reassuring her and the others listening, that the one thing she would always be able to count on could be Jesus, was so stirring, spoken in her voice.”
Our Reader Was “Seeking the Lord”
“Jesus would never abandon her if she would truly choose Him. Nor were her troubles a sign of Him moving away or holding displeasure towards her. Rather, her troubles were the result of attacks upon her by people, or were the outcome of her own poor choices, but Jesus could be and always would be the source of security and hope, even in a chaotic set of circumstances.
That was what she was reading over herself that morning. And it was reassuring for all of us. His peace filled the room.
One emotion that is strongly present in recovery communities, though it may be well-masked in public, is FEAR.”
End of excerpt
How God Delivers Us From Fear – Psalm 34
At this point in the book Jesus and the Addict, I listed 30 things that I know recovering addicts especially fear and said, “This is the short list!” There are so many fears that people have who’ve been caught up in addiction and street life. Fear of relapse, loss of child custody, being unable to pay bills, not being able to get a job, and so on, eats at their peace. Their way is hard – trying to start over, battling the horrible mental and physical cravings, etc. Fear of not being able to make it haunts them.
Which is why discovering the Lord is so significant to their healing. Once again, as Psalm 34:4 says, “I sought the LORD, and he answered me, and delivered me from all my fears.” One other verse that so relates to this truth is 1 John 4:18 NKJV which says, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.”
God is Perfect Love Who Casts Out Fear
Perfect Love is God, who casts out, or delivers us, from fear. There is no fear when we have found His presence and His love through salvation in Christ Jesus. When faith in Christ tears down that dividing wall of sin between us and God, the result is peace and permanence with God. The lyrics of the song, In Christ Alone, by Geoff Moore, tell us about this fearless, wonderful new way of life:
No guilt in life, no fear in death
This is the power of Christ in me
From life’s first cry to final breath
Jesus commands my destiny
No power of hell, no scheme of man
Can ever pluck me from His hand
Till He returns or calls me home
Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand
Fear involves torment. And perfect love, that is, our Father in heaven, has nothing to do with that. Torment is from the devil.
How Do Our Fears Disappear? Psalm 34:4 Explains
As we seek God,
God answers us.
He delivers us,
Taking away all our fears.
Our part is to seek, to “go after God” as best as we know how. Psalm 34 is full of marvelous promises about those who look to God. In v. 10, we hear that “the lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing.
As the old saying goes, “God is ever more willing to hear than we are to pray.”
God’s Presence in Our Lives
God is hungry for the people He created. Our one little step towards Him causes Him to swoop into action for us. That step may be beginning to read the Bible, trying to pray, talking with other people about faith. That is the meaning of “seek Him.”
But the truth is, He is always coming after us before we even take that step. Jesus told the story of leaving the 99 sheep in the sheepfold just to go after the one lost one. It is the story of His pursuit of each one of us.
Then God, through His presence, His power, and His love works supernaturally to remind us that nothing can separate us from Him, that He has eternal life for us through Christ so we don’t need to fear. By His Spirit, He drives out the spirit of fear that pokes at us.
“God did not give us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV
Don’t Settle for Fear as A Way of Life
We had a window blinds salesman come to our house the other day. He came in wearing a mask. As we talked, we learned he had been vaccinated already. Having had our first shot, and being healthy, we gave him permission to go without the mask in our home.
But, he wanted to keep wearing it. In talking with a neighbor later, we discussed the masks and asked one another, “Will they go away when most everyone is vaccinated?” I hope so, personally, as does our neighbor. What I really would love to see is all the fear that’s been stirred up in our country and around the world in these current times go away. It would be beautiful to see a renewed, revived culture with tremendous trust in the LORD.
The answer to that remains what we read in Psalm 34:4. The LORD will answer our seeking. And then, He will deliver us from all our fears.
There is One Type of Fear That is Good
In closing, Psalm 34 teaches us about the one GOOD fear, the “fear of the LORD.” The word fear used in this way means reverence and dependence. It is good to “fear” the LORD because He is always our true source of help. Verses 5-7 in Psalm 34 tell us that “Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame. This poor man called, and the LORD heard him; he saved him out of ALL his troubles. The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them.”
And that’s wonderful news.
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