Day 2 – Do Not Fear: God is Within Us
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy place where the Most High dwells.
God is within her, she will not fall;
God will help her at break of day.
Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
he lifts his voice, the earth melts.
In the city of Jerusalem during the time of the kings, there were rivers which flowed into the heart of the city, providing water for all that lived within the city. This was especially helpful during the reign of Hezekiah when the city was being sieged by the Assyrians. One river, in particular, continued to supply water to the city even after other water sources had been stopped up by the Assyrians. It is easy to imagine that this was a time of great fear for the people of Jerusalem. The Assyrians had made their way through the country of Israel to surround the capital. Many people had already died, and it seemed that more death would come. God’s people were in serious physical danger. Many, no doubt, were fearing for their very lives.
Many of us have experienced moments of fear where we feel surrounded or boxed in by the pressures and stresses of our lives. In moments where we want to reach out, we are stricken with even more fear, because there doesn’t seem to be a safe direction in which to reach out.
Here in this verse, the psalmist speaks of this particular river providing for (“making glad”) Jerusalem, which is the place where the Temple resided, in which God dwelt. This is a promise for those who God dwells within: they will not fall. When trouble comes or we feel surrounded, God has told us that He is within us, and He will never leave nor forsake us, no matter the circumstances.
Reaching out in order to find help in our times of fear won’t be as helpful as we might think because of this simple truth: God is not outside of us. As we talked about recently, when we understand Union with Christ, we see clearly that there is no separation between what God gives us and the person of Christ. “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” Having been joined to Him, Christ lives within each of us. This gives us unprecedented assurance during times of fear. Instead of reaching out, we must trust that the presence of God dwelling in us is enough to keep us from fearing. For we do not cease our fear because we desire enough to stop it. Instead, our fear has no place in us, because that is where the Lord dwells. Where the spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom, not fear.
Action Step: Read 1 John 4:13-18 and write out how God dwelling in us has an effect on the fear we encounter in our lives. Put what you have written somewhere you will see it regularly.