Let's TRUST in GOD’s LOVE & FAITHFULNESS when we’re AFRAID: "Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You. In God (I will praise His word), in God I have put my trust; I will not fear. What can flesh do to me? In God (I will praise His word), in the Lord (I will praise His word), in God I have put my trust; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?" (Psalms 56:3-4, 10-11)
For the first time in his life, David was in dire trouble in the enemy country of Gath while fleeing from King Saul (see 1 Sam. 21:10–15). David truly became afraid of King Achish, who would not hesitate to order his death any moment (1 Sam. 21:12). When the Philistines had thus captured him in Gath, David wrote this psalm to vent out his inner fear and feelings before God. In this psalm, David contrasted his threatening enemies with his faithful God as he put his trust in God alone (vv. 1–4), and assumed his upcoming deliverance from God as a present reality. In order to escape, David feigned madness before the king, who let him go free – thanks to God’s deliverance once again!
In reality, David was a brave man who had confronted the giant Goliath when he was much younger with just a sling and some stones. However, he knew clearly that his life was now in danger. He suppressed his natural inclination to be afraid by resolving that he would trust in God’s love and faithfulness no matter what. In this time of distress, David was driven by God’s Word that stated that "it is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man" (Psalms 118:8). David knew that God would always fulfill what He had promised, and he praised God in total assurance for His protective care. This is exactly in line with Apostle Paul’s statement: "If God is for us, who can be against us?" (Romans 8:31)
We see that David trusted in God’s love and faithfulness when he was afraid. This “cheerful courage of a fugitive,” as Delitzsch calls it, is based on the character of God and on the faithfulness of His promises. God is more powerful than all the combined force of our enemy, and He has promised to protect us from harm. Nothing can penetrate the protective hedge that He sets up around us, except by His permissive will (e.g. Job). This is why we can trust in God without any fear. Also, we should understand David’s fearlessness in the light of the words of Jesus: "And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell" (Matt. 10:28)
So, let all our fears be swallowed up by our faith in God, for with God on our side we are always a majority! Our faith is a conscious choice to act on what God says is true. Like everything else, faith requires practice to grow and become strong. Faith comes from God’s Word that is illuminated by the Holy Spirit and is released through our acts of obedience. Faith requires a singleness of commitment that draws us from all doubt and wavering. When we are tempted to be afraid, let’s choose to trust in the love and faithfulness of God like David!
On the other hand, when we are in the midst of trouble, let’s remember that God sees us where we are (v. 8a) and God understands our situation far better than we do. Also, God knows how we feel (v. 8b), and God hears us when we call Him (v. 9). This is God’s promise for us: "Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me" (Psalms 50:15). The highest purpose of our prayers must be the glory of God!
Finally, trusting God’s love and faithfulness will cast out all our fears! It is true that our fears can override our logical thinking and produce irrational behavior from us. When we lean upon our own understanding, we may overestimate the object of our fear and underestimate the power of God. Instead, let us depend on God’s understanding (Isaiah 40:28) and trust in His love that will cast away every fear from our hearts (1 John 4:18), which in turn will make us "more than conquerors through Him who loved us" (Romans 8:37).