Psalm 118: 6
The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid, what can man do to me? NIV
On the night before I began this project, I went to my neighborhood Barnes & Noble, just before closing. I had a coupon for 15 percent off the purchase of one book, and, I had it in my head to buy a new Bible to to take with me on this journey. I wanted one that had both the NIV and Message translations. I had been introduced to The Message a few years ago at a conference, but did not have a copy of my own.
So, there was only one copy of a parallel Bible with both of those translations, and I snatched it up.
I love this Bible … actually I love all new Bibles. There is something so nice about opening the pages for the first time and finding your favorite verses. I’m someone who writes in my Bible. The one that I use regularly is underlined and the margins are full of notes from sermons and from insights that other people have given me.
But, this Bible, My Project Bible, is still very neat and pristine. I only underline the verses that I find each morning, doing my best to make very straight lines. I do this mostly so I can keep track of verses that I’ve already counted in my project tally, but, also so that at the end of the project, I will be able to return to these reminders.
So, this morning, when I read this verse, I was surprised that it was not already underlined. I could have sworn that I already had found David’s reminder that I should not fear because God is with me and there is nothing that mortal man can do to me. Turns out, David says this more than once.
I love that!
When something is meaningful to me, or if I discover something new, I find that I want to tell everyone I know about it. Sometimes, I tell friends more than once, and they are always kind to listen, but, it is a bit of a joke among us that I am somewhat repetitive.
David repeats the same concept here that he noted in Psalm 56: 3-4.
And, it turns out that this Psalm has other echoes. Verse 1 says, “Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, his love endures forever.” This is the same song that the people of Judah sang as they led Jehoshaphat to meet the three armies. That sent me to the basement to find my chronological Bible. Which came first? This Psalm or the story of Jehoshaphat?
David came first! The index in my Chronological Bible says that Psalm 118 was written between 539 and 500 BC, while II Chronicles was written between 499 and 400 BC.
That makes sense to me. The people of Judah were able to sing out praises to God in their time of trouble and uncertainty because of the gift that David had given them of writing down his own struggles and his own response to God.
I am in awe of the impact that this man made. He was, the Bible says, a man after God’s own heart, and yet it is clear that he struggled with the same uncertainties that plague mankind even today. Verse 5 of this Psalm says, “In my anguish I cried to the Lord, and he answered me by setting me free.” NIV
And, verse 7 says, “The Lord is with me; he is my helper. I will look in triumph on my enemies.” NIV
These things are true. They bear repeating. David repeated them, people throughout history have relied on them, and I am relying on them right now. The Lord is with ME, I WILL NOT be afraid.
I will think about that today.