There’s a question in the psalm “from whence cometh my help”? Our only help is from the Lord who made heaven and earth, our creator, our protector who is always watching over us, and who doesn’t slumber or sleep.
Psalm 121:1-2 I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.
God wants us to say like the psalmist that God is our refuge, our fortress, and we’re trusting him always. A pestilence is an epidemic or plague like what we have now. God sent plagues and pestilences to the people at various times. There’s still a lot of fear, anxiety, and stress about the virus – pestilence. God wants us to not fear but put our faith and trust in him.
Psalm 91:1-6 He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.
Jesus predicted pestilence but said to not be troubled. God doesn’t want us to be troubled by what we hear. If we get up and listen to the news right away, it will fill us with anxiety and fear. With anxiety there are more suicides, child-spousal abuse, road rage, and bad tempers. God doesn’t want us to be that way, but to trust him and not let our heart be troubled. If we see our heart getting troubled, we need to go back to God and trust him, knowing he has everything under control.
Matthew 24:4-13 And Jesus…said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled …For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
Not troubled means we don’t let our heart be distressed, agitated, or anxious. We trust and rely on God to not be troubled.
John 14:1 (Amplified Bible, Classic Ed) Do not let your hearts be troubled (distressed, agitated). You believe in and adhere to and trust in and rely on God; believe in and adhere to and trust in and rely also on Me.
Jesus said to stop allowing ourselves to be agitated or disturbed. God wants us to lean his word, knowing he’s in control.
John 14:27 (Amplified Bible, Classic Ed) Peace I leave with you; My [own] peace I now give and bequeath to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. [Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled.]
We’re responsible to be sure our inner man is renewed. The first thing we should do each morning (before hearing the news or doing anything) is read the Bible and pray so our heart isn’t troubled or agitated. The light affliction is to prepare and achieve what God wants in us. Are we letting distress work? Or letting affliction produce stronger godly character and endurance?
II Corinthians 4:16-18 (Amplified Bible, Classic Ed) Therefore we do not become discouraged (utterly spiritless, exhausted, and wearied out through fear). Though our outer man is [progressively] decaying and wasting away, yet our inner self is being [progressively] renewed day after day. For our light, momentary affliction (this slight distress of the passing hour) is ever more and more abundantly preparing and producing and achieving for us an everlasting weight of glory [beyond all measure, excessively surpassing all comparisons and all calculations, a vast and transcendent glory and blessedness never to cease!], Since we consider and look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen…are deathless and everlasting.
We have to keep our eyes on the unseen and not on things of the world. We choose our attitudes every day – whether we set our affections on things above or if we get distracted by the things around us. God wants us to make a definite choice every day to keep our eyes steadfast on him, like the psalmist said he was going to lift his eyes to where God is.
Colossians 3:1-3 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ…
It’s important to know the difference between God’s voice and Satan’s voice. Satan rushes you to hear the news. God stills you to get into his word and see how he leads us. Satan frightens us. Fear is from the enemy. God always calms and reassures us. He says don’t be troubled, be encouraged, everything’s under control, and I’ll hold your hand. Satan confuses us. Don’t make moves if you feel confused. Pray for God to show where Satan is confusing you. The enemy discourages. We need encouragement from God’s word and to not listen to discouragement. David encouraged himself in the Lord when the people talked of stoning him. The enemy burned Ziklag and carried away their wives and children. David was grieved his wife and children were carried away too. We have to set our eyes on Christ and be encouraged in him when the enemy tries to discourage us. We have to believe God’s word and not be troubled. Satan worries us but God comforts us. The more we think about problems, they’ll be exaggerated and seem too big so they’re impossible. Satan condemns and says we did something wrong. Sis Edith recalled a time she prayed and knew things were clear one night. The next morning she felt awful like she’d sinned and God wouldn’t hear her prayer. She asked God to show where she sinned or did wrong. She opened the Bible to a verse that said the righteous cry and God delivers them out of all their problems (Psalm 34:17). The Lord let her know he’d show her if something was wrong. The devil was trying to discourage her. She laid it aside and had victory. The enemy tries to condemn and discourage all of us. If we feel confused like there’s no way out, it’s the enemy.
God’s voice: stills you, leads you, reassures you, enlightens you, encourages you, comforts you, calms you, convicts you
Satan’s voice: rushes and pushes you, frightens you, confuses you, discourages you, worries you, obsesses you, condemns you
Asa sought God when he became king. He asked God to help when the Ethiopian army of 1 million (almost twice as big as his army) came against him. God gave him victory and then gave 35 years of peace in his kingdom (II Chronicles 15:19). The king of Israel built Ramah where the high places of idol worship were. Instead of turning to God, Asa made a league to rely on the king of Syria. God said he’d have war for the rest of his reign. He had an entirely different attitude and was in a rage against the prophet. Asa got sick and never called on God. We can’t let ourselves get the same attitudes or respond like the world. God’s eyes are still over all. He wants us to rely on him. He’ll be strong for us and doesn’t want us to be troubled.
II Chronicles 16:1-10…Baasha king of Israel came up against Judah, and built Ramah…Asa brought out silver and gold…sent to Benhadad king of Syria…saying, There is a league between me and thee…break thy league with Baasha…that he may depart…And Benhadad…sent…armies against the cities of Israel…Hanani the seer came to Asa…said…Because thou hast…not relied on the Lord…therefore is…Syria escaped…Were not the Ethiopians…a huge host…because thou didst rely on the Lord, he delivered them into thine hand. For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in… them whose heart is perfect toward him. Herein thou hast done foolishly…shalt have wars…Asa was wroth…put him in a prison…
Elisha prayed God would open his servant’s eyes. We need to pray that we won’t fear but keep our eyes fixed on God. The enemy distracts us so our eyes are on problems – then we fear and are stressed out. He wants to rob us of our peace.
II Kings 6:14-17…a great host…compassed the city…the servant…said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do? And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than…be with them. And Elisha prayed…Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see…Lord opened the eyes of the young man…the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire…
Paul was warned he’d face bonds and affliction at Jerusalem. He didn’t count his life dear or let those things move him. A mob tried to kill Paul, but he used the time to give his testimony. There was a plot to kill him so he was sent by night to Caesarea with 250 soldiers. He didn’t complain or find fault, but kept the joy of the Lord and testified to anyone he could. His whole attitude was to preach the gospel. Paul was put in house arrest for two years and had to stay in his house. We can go for walks and buy groceries. Our attitude needs to be like Paul’s. We can’t let what’s going on move us or cause bad attitudes.
Acts 20:22-24…I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there: Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth…bonds and afflictions abide me. But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry…to testify the gospel of the grace of God.
(Notes from the Mature Class Bible Study, teacher Edith Tolbert)