In God, whose word I praise—
in God I trust and am not afraid.
What can mere mortals do to me?
Psalm 56:4, NIV*
Did you ever struggle with this verse? David repeats it twice in this psalm, so we know it’s important.
Maybe it’s my fiction-writer’s imagination. Maybe it’s some of the books I’ve read, or the news footage I’ve seen, but whenever I’ve seen the question “What can mere mortals do to me?” my mind started making a list.
We know that our fellow humans can do some terrible things. How could we not fear the worst-case scenarios? Sometimes God lets these things happen, even to His own.
I couldn’t believe this verse. Doubting left me feeling guilty.
This time through the psalm, God alerted me to the context of the verse. This is David writing, David who has been promised by God that he will be Israel’s next king.
At this point in David’s life, he’s on the run from the present king, Saul. Yes, David is afraid. Saul has a large, well-equipped army, and only wants one thing: David, dead.
But God has promised. Because of that, David can reassure himself. Clearly, Saul isn’t as strong as God, and God’s plans will be fulfilled. In light of that, what can mere mortals do to him?
The context liberates me, prompts me instead of doubting to consider: What has God promised me? Where is He directing me? What obstacles are blocking my path, where I can pray in confidence for God’s intervention in His best timing and in His own way?
Even without physical enemies, the “stuff” in life looms large, and pressures can hunt us like King Saul chased David. In our families, work and volunteer duties, home care, and many other areas—we can pray in confidence that, if we’re in God’s will, His purpose for us will be fulfilled. Now that I can believe, although at times it takes a spiritual battle to do so.
God who keeps His promises and whose purposes will be fulfilled, we praise and thank You for the privilege of being Your children and of living for Your glory. Forgive our doubts and stumbling, and remind us that Your plans for us are good. Help us see where we’ve accepted fear or defeat when You wanted us to take courage in Your strength. Lord, we believe. Help our unbelief.