26 Sep

What’s the Difference Between Great Faith and Little Faith?

Great Faith

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen,” (Heb 11:1). Everybody has faith in something, even the most diehard skeptic. The question is whether or not that faith is in the right place and of the right amount.

The Scripture tells us that the right place for our faith to be in is in God, particularly in the person and work of Jesus Christ. Throughout the Gospels, Jesus himself calls people to have faith in God. Sometimes their faith in God is great, and other times their faith is little.

What is the difference between the two? This question is important for us to answer because we want to be faith-full and not faith-less. In fact, it pains me to think that Jesus would turn to me and say, “Oh, you of little faith.” Yet, undoubtedly He could do so on a regular basis.

So, how can I, how can we, move from little faith to great? Ten examples from the gospel of Matthew are helpful to that end. In this Gospel, we see five examples of little faith and five examples of great faith. I’m praying the contrast will demonstrate the difference and help us pursue great faith.

 

Five Examples of Little Faith

1) Matthew 6:25-34

  • 25 “For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 “Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? 27 “And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? 28 “And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, 29 yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. 30 “But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! 31 “Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ 32 “For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 34 “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

2) Matthew 8:23-27

  • 23 When He got into the boat, His disciples followed Him. 24 And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being covered with the waves; but Jesus Himself was asleep. 25 And they came to Him and woke Him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing!” 26 He *said to them, “Why are you afraid, you men of little faith?” Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the sea, and it became perfectly calm. 27 The men were amazed, and said, “What kind of a man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?”

3) Matthew 14:22-33

  • 22 Immediately He made the disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side, while He sent the crowds away. 23 After He had sent the crowds away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray; and when it was evening, He was there alone. 24 But the boat was already a long distance from the land, battered by the waves; for the wind was contrary. 25 And in the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea. 26 When the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out in fear. 27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.” 28 Peter said to Him, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” 29 And He said, “Come!” And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” 31 Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and *said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32 When they got into the boat, the wind stopped. 33 And those who were in the boat worshiped Him, saying, “You are certainly God’s Son!”

4) Matthew 16:5-12

  • 5 And the disciples came to the other side of the sea, but they had forgotten to bring any bread. 6 And Jesus said to them, “Watch out and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” 7 They began to discuss this among themselves, saying, “He said that because we did not bring any bread.” 8 But Jesus, aware of this, said, “You men of little faith, why do you discuss among yourselves that you have no bread? 9 “Do you not yet understand or remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets full you picked up? 10 “Or the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many large baskets full you picked up? 11 “How is it that you do not understand that I did not speak to you concerning bread? But beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” 12 Then they understood that He did not say to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.

5) Matthew 17:14-20

  • 14 When they came to the crowd, a man came up to Jesus, falling on his knees before Him and saying, 15 “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is a lunatic and is very ill; for he often falls into the fire and often into the water. 16 “I brought him to Your disciples, and they could not cure him.” 17 And Jesus answered and said, “You unbelieving and perverted generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring him here to Me.” 18 And Jesus rebuked him, and the demon came out of him, and the boy was cured at once. 19 Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not drive it out?” 20 And He *said to them, “Because of the littleness of your faith; for truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.

 

Five Examples of Great Faith

1) Matthew 8:5-13

  • 5 And when Jesus entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, imploring Him, 6 and saying, “Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, fearfully tormented.” 7 Jesus *said to him, “I will come and heal him.” 8 But the centurion said, “Lord, I am not worthy for You to come under my roof, but just say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9 “For I also am a man under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to this one, ‘Go!’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come!’ and he comes, and to my slave, ‘Do this!’ and he does it.” 10 Now when Jesus heard this, He marveled and said to those who were following, “Truly I say to you, I have not found such great faith with anyone in Israel. 11 “I say to you that many will come from east and west, and recline at the table with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven; 12 but the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” 13 And Jesus said to the centurion, “Go; it shall be done for you as you have believed.” And the servant was healed that very moment.

2) Matthew 9:1-8

  • 1 Getting into a boat, Jesus crossed over the sea and came to His own city. 2 And they brought to Him a paralytic lying on a bed. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralytic, “Take courage, son; your sins are forgiven.” 3 And some of the scribes said to themselves, “This fellow blasphemes.” 4 And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, “Why are you thinking evil in your hearts? 5 “Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, and walk’? 6 “But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—then He *said to the paralytic, “Get up, pick up your bed and go home.” 7 And he got up and went home. 8 But when the crowds saw this, they were awestruck, and glorified God, who had given such authority to men.

3) Matthew 9:18-22

  • 18 While He was saying these things to them, a synagogue official came and bowed down before Him, and said, “My daughter has just died; but come and lay Your hand on her, and she will live.” 19 Jesus got up and began to follow him, and so did His disciples. 20 And a woman who had been suffering from a hemorrhage for twelve years, came up behind Him and touched the fringe of His cloak; 21 for she was saying to herself, “If I only touch His garment, I will get well.” 22 But Jesus turning and seeing her said, “Daughter, take courage; your faith has made you well.” At once the woman was made well.

4) Matthew 9:27-31

  • 27 As Jesus went on from there, two blind men followed Him, crying out, “Have mercy on us, Son of David!” 28 When He entered the house, the blind men came up to Him, and Jesus *said to them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They said to Him, “Yes, Lord.” 29 Then He touched their eyes, saying, “It shall be done to you according to your faith.” 30 And their eyes were opened. And Jesus sternly warned them: “See that no one knows about this!” 31 But they went out and spread the news about Him throughout all that land.

5) Matthew 15:21-28

  • 21 Jesus went away from there, and withdrew into the district of Tyre and Sidon. 22 And a Canaanite woman from that region came out and began to cry out, saying, “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is cruelly demon-possessed.” 23 But He did not answer her a word. And His disciples came and implored Him, saying, “Send her away, because she keeps shouting at us.” 24 But He answered and said, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” 25 But she came and began to bow down before Him, saying, “Lord, help me!” 26 And He answered and said, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” 27 But she said, “Yes, Lord; but even the dogs feed on the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.” 28 Then Jesus said to her, “O woman, your faith is great; it shall be done for you as you wish.” And her daughter was healed at once.

 

The Difference

Did you notice the difference? The difference could be summarized in these three statements.

Peter cartoon1. Little faith is stifled by fear while great faith is amplified by boldness. Peter shows us what fear does to faith as he doubted while walking on the water (Mt 14:22-33). He indeed started out boldly, but fear stifled his faith so that he began to sink. In contrast, the woman with the issue of blood boldly went forward and touched Jesus (Mt 9:18-22). She didn’t wait and ask. She boldly acted. The same can be said for the blind men who boldly cried out and followed Jesus uninvited into the house seeking healing (Mt 9:27-31) and for the Canaanite woman who broke all protocol and approached the Jewish Jesus, pleading for her daughter’s healing (Mt 15:21-28).

2. Little faith focuses on the material world while great faith focuses on the spiritual world. The audience Jesus was preaching to in Matthew 6:25-34 was prone to worry about material things such as food and clothing. Jesus tells them to seek first God’s kingdom and righteousness, which is spiritual. In a similar vein, the disciples who were caught in the boat in the storm could only focus on the water and the wind, the waves and the lightning, but there was Jesus asleep in the same boat (Mt 8:23-27). They were focusing on the material while He was focusing on the spiritual, in that He knew the Father was protecting them from the storm. Finally, perhaps the best example of this contrast is the disciples in Matthew 16:5-12. Jesus tells them to beware of the leaven of the wicked religious leaders, and they think He’s talking about actual bread.

3. Little faith makes decisions based on what is possible for humans while great faith makes decisions based on what is possible for God. That same conversation we finished the second difference with also illustrates this point. The disciples are worried about getting some bread but are forgetting that the One who just fed 5,000+ with five loaves of bread and then 4,000+ with seven loaves of bread was in their midst. Indeed, He could have turned stones into bread, but they were making decisions based solely upon what is possible for man. The same is true for the disciples when they tried to exorcise the demons from that boy (Mt 17:14-21). It seems that they were relying upon their own power instead of God’s. On the other hand, the centurion made his decisions based upon what is possible with God (Mt 8:5-13). In fact, he believed that Jesus didn’t even have to be in the presence of his son to heal his son, which was totally true. Only God can do that, and the centurion believed it. It is likewise with the men who brought the paralytic to Jesus (Mt 9:1-8). If they had focused on what humans can do, they wouldn’t have put forth the effort. However, they set their sights on what God can do and toted their friend to Jesus. In fact, we learn from Mark 2:4 that in order to get their friend to Jesus, these men had to tear a hole in the roof of the house Jesus was in because it was too crowded around the door. They weren’t going to miss what God can do!

 

Conclusion

So, in light of what we’ve seen here as we pursue great faith, I say to myself and to you:

  • Go after what you are seeking with boldness unto God
  • Focus on the spiritual world that is ruled by God
  • Make your decisions based on what is possible for God

In doing so, may it be said of us, “O you of great faith!”

25 Sep

Wednesday Is for Worship: I Greet Thee, Who My Sure Redeemer Art

Wednesday-Is-for-Worship

On this Wednesday morning, have you said “hello” to Jesus yet?  If not, stop what you are doing and do so right now.  Recognize His presence and His lordship.  And now, get ready to worship Him!

Today’s song that will help you do so is originally entitled “Je Te Sa­lue Mon Cer­tain Re­demp­teur,” which translated from French is “I Greet Thee, Who My Sure Redeemer Art.”  The song was written in French because it was penned from the heart of the French theologian Jehan Cauvin, who is better known by his anglicized name John Calvin.  Calvin was a 16th-century Protestant reformer, who mainly ministered in Geneva, Switzerland, and is considered to be one of the greatest theological minds of Christian history.

Penned in 1545 and eventually sung to the tune “Toulon” (composed by Louis Bourgeois for the Genevan Psalter in 1551), the song was later translated into English by Elizabeth L. Smith in 1869.  The words are unquestionably beautiful, deep, and biblical.

I love how the first verse basically says “hello” to Jesus:  “I greet Thee.”  Notice that Jesus is called “who my sure Redeemer art.”  That speaks of a settled security that we have in Jesus Christ.  Our redemption is certain in Him.  It then goes to focus on Jesus as the Savior on whom not only were our sins and stripes laid but on whom we can also lay our cares.

The second verse describes Jesus as the Almighty King, inviting Him to lead us.  The third verse praises Jesus for being our sustainer.  The fourth verse recounts the gentleness that Jesus has toward His people because of His grace.  The fifth verse declares that our only hope is in Jesus and asks Him to help us endure in that hope until the end.

So, this morning, may you say “hello” to Jesus and then pour forth His praise as you sing along with worship leader Bob Kauflin!

I greet Thee, who my sure Redeemer art,
My only trust and Savior of my heart,
Who pain didst undergo for my poor sake;
I pray Thee from our hearts all cares to take.

Thou art the King of mercy and of grace,
Reigning omnipotent in every place;
So come, O King, and our whole being sway;
Shine on us with the light of Thy pure day.

Thou art the life, by which alone we live,
And all our substance and our strength receive;
Sustain us by Thy faith and by Thy power,
And give us strength in every trying hour.

Thou hast the true and perfect gentleness,
No harshness hast Thou and no bitterness;
O grant to us the grace we find in Thee,
That we may dwell in perfect unity.

Our hope is in no other save in Thee;
Our faith is built upon Thy promise free;
Lord, give us peace, and make us calm and sure,
That in Thy strength we evermore endure.

19 Sep

Yes, Indeed, God Loves “Gays”

“Why doesn’t God love gays?”  That was the question a teenager asked on a recent Wednesday during our youth ministry time.  To be honest, the question was sort of out of the blue since the discussion was on the return of Jesus, but clearly it was on the heart of at least one, if not many, of the teens there that night.  I appreciate this teenager’s boldness to ask!

This question is one this generation has had to wrestle with that previous generations did not.  In fact, the speed with which the topic of homosexuality has come to dominate the social and political conversation is staggering, aided along by what pastor Voddie Baucham calls, “a coordinated, well-funded, well-connected propaganda strategy,” (“Gay Is Not the New Black,” http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tgc/2012/07/19/gay-is-not-the-new-black, July 19 2012).  The entire movement has become like a snowflake that turns into an avalanche, demolishing any opposition in the public arena, and it’s still growing larger.

Gay Pride HeartWithout a doubt, many of our young people are confused on the subject.  They are hearing in pop culture and maybe even in their schools that homosexuality is a perfectly legitimate lifestyle and should not only be tolerated, but even celebrated and explored.  However, they then hear from faith communities (and not just Christian ones) that homosexuality is sinful.  The mixed messages cause a great deal of confusion in many people’s minds, especially in our young people, leading some to ask, “Why doesn’t God love gays?” with the implied addendum “when so many others do.”  It’s a question we will increasingly have to answer regardless of one’s stance on homosexuality.

The question itself—”Why doesn’t God love gays?”—presupposes that God does not love people who would label themselves “gay.”  Therefore, the initial response must be, “What makes you think that God doesn’t love people who label themselves ‘gay’?”  The truth of the matter is that God does indeed love those who label themselves “gay,” but He loves them in a way that is culturally strange to us at this point.

If we would press the person asking “Why doesn’t God love gays?” to tell us what makes them think He doesn’t, most likely the response would “because He doesn’t think their homosexuality is okay.  If God loved gays, He’d affirm their homosexuality because that makes them happy.”  Indeed, that is the popular definition of love in contemporary culture.  Love is seen as affirming people in whatever makes them happy.  Many have just enough Christian influence to know that the Bible tells us we are to treat others the way we want to be treated, and so they reason, “I would want others to love me by affirming me in what makes me happy.  So, I am going to love others by being in favor of whatever makes them happy.”  That’s fair logic, but is that love?

Is it loving to affirm others in whatever makes them happy?  Let’s see.  Little Rachel wants nothing more than to play in the middle of the interstate.  In fact, she tried it one time for just a few seconds and is convinced that her happiness depends on playing regularly smack dab on the dotted line between the driving lane and the passing lane.  Would it be loving to affirm little Rachel in her desire?  No?  But she really believes it’ll make her happy.

Bobby loves to shoot heroin.  Nothing in the world compares to the high he gets when that needle enters the vein and pushes liquid happiness into his body.  He’s certain that heroin is the key to his happiness and wants more all the time.  Would it be loving to affirm Bobby in his desire?  No?  But he really believes it’ll make him happy.

Sandra loves 12-year-old boys.  That would probably be fine if she was around 12-years-old herself, but she is 42.  Nevertheless, she is convinced that if she doesn’t find a romantic relationship with a 12-year-old boy, she will not be happy.  Would it be loving to affirm Sandra in her desire?  No?  But she really believes it’ll make her happy.

Further examples are abundant, but the ones provided suffice to clearly demonstrate that we have to be careful in affirming whatever makes a person happy because in this fallen world, that which a person believes will make them happy is often hurtful to themselves and others.  Someone may quickly rebut that homosexuality harms nobody, but that is counterfactual.  Medically, homosexuality is harmful, especially to men who practice homosexuality.  Socially, homosexuality is harmful in that it cannot provide what the opposite sex brings to a romantic relationship, including but certainly not limited to the potential of procreation and then the presence of a mother and a father in that child’s life.  However, most harmful is the spiritual harm that homosexuality brings.

The Bible is clear that practicing homosexuality brings great spiritual harm.  In fact, Romans 1:18-27 declares that the increasing presence of homosexuality in a society signals that God is bringing about judgment on that society due to idolatry.  God, as a function of His wrath against sin, simply withdraws His restraining grace from those who rebelliously pursue sin, giving them over to degrading passions such as homosexuality and all sorts of other destructive devices.

However, the spiritual harm in this life pales in comparison to the spiritual harm that homosexuality brings in the age to come for those who practice it in this present age.  The Bible is emphatic that practicing homosexuality will bar a person from heaven.  God tells us so in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.”  It’s important to note here that homosexuality is not the only sin listed.  It’s right there with adultery and drunkenness and many others.  This list is by no means exhaustive.  Nevertheless, God is communicating to us that those who continue in sin, including homosexuality, will not inherit the kingdom of God.  In other words, they will be barred from Heaven and will experience Hell forevermore.  There is no worse consequence imaginable.

So, let’s play this truth out in a scenario.  Don is a man in his early 20s who has experienced same-sex attraction for years now and has finally given into the temptation.  He has been for several months seeking out homosexual partners, and it has been absolutely exhilarating to him.  He hopes to one day settle down with the man of his dreams but is just having too much fun right now.  Beyond a shadow of a doubt, he is convinced that his happiness hinges on living a homosexual lifestyle.  Given the harm practicing homosexuality has been demonstrated to bring, is it loving to affirm Don in his desires?  Absolutely not!  In fact, the opposite is true.  To affirm Don in his homosexuality would be as loving as affirming little Rachel in her playing on the interstate or Bobby in his heroin addiction or Sandra in her pedophilia, which is to say that it wouldn’t be loving at all.  All of these not only harm the individuals with the desires, but others as well, and to affirm them would be unquestionably unloving.

If a person’s definition of love is affirming whatever makes someone happy, then a redefinition is needed because that’s not love.  Love doesn’t just affirm whatever makes a person happy.  It seeks the well-being of its objects.  That’s why God indeed does love “gays” and at the same time doesn’t affirm them in their homosexuality.  Instead of unlovingly affirming them in an eternally harmful lifestyle, God lovingly calls them out through the gospel of Jesus Christ just like He does all sinners.  And yeah, we were born that way (sinners, that is)!  God lovingly says to all sinners, including the homosexual sinner, turn from your sin and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be forgiven, made righteous, increasingly freed from sin itself, and inherit everlasting life in Heaven.  Now that’s love!

“Why doesn’t God love gays?”  My dear friend, He does love “gays.”  In fact, God loves them so much that He calls them out of homosexuality and into Christ!

12 Sep

The Replacements Are Way Better!

With the NFL football season now thankfully underway (Is there anything worse in the sports world than that stretch between the end of the NBA finals and the kickoff of the NFL season?!  It’s like athletic purgatory.), it’s time to see which team of pros is going to rise to the occasion and bring home that Lombardi Trophy.  Maybe it’ll be the other Harbaugh this time.

Replacement Refs

Whatever happens at the end, one big difference at the start of this season is the fact that we have the real referees out there.  It’s easy to forget, unless you’re a Packers fan, that the 2012 season began with replacement refs.  The real refs were locked out due to a labor dispute.  Let me be nice and simply say that the quality of the replacement refs wasn’t quite up to par with the regular referees.  Nah, forget it… they were awful!  I mean those guys were way in over their heads and didn’t have a clue how to officiate football on that level.  It was a perfect reminder that the replacements are never as good as the real deal in sports.  Replacements are only better in Hollywood football with Keanu Reeves at quarterback.

However, that’s not the case with the Kingdom of God.  The trajectory of the Kingdom is not bad to worse or even good to worse.  It’s bad to most excellent.  No passage of Scripture makes this more readily apparent than the culminating visions in Revelation 21-22, detailing the replacement of this age with the age to come when the Old Heaven and Earth are replaced by the New Heaven and Earth.

We see at least eight replacements here in this section of Scripture, but praise be to God, these replacements are way better than what they replaced!

1)  Dwelling apart from God is replaced by dwelling with God (Revelation 22:1-21)

2)  The temple is replaced by God Himself (Revelation 21:22)

3)  The sun and moon are replaced by God’s glory (Revelation 21:23)

4)  The need for closed gates is replaced with the joy of open gates (Revelation 21:24-26)

5)  A mixture of the righteous and the wicked is replaced with the pure homogeneity of the righteous only (Revelation 21:27)

6)  The curse is replaced by blessing (Revelation 22:1-3)

7)  The mediated presence of God is replaced with the unmediated presence of God (Revelation 22:4)

8)  Death and defeat are replaced with eternal life and reign (Revelation 22:5)

While I’m excited to serve the Lord here on this earth in this age, when I read about what is to come, my heart and spirit scream, “Bring on the replacements!”

11 Sep

Wednesday Is for Worship: Whom Shall I Fear (God of Angel Armies)

 Wednesday Is for Worship

Hello to you on this Wednesday!  It’s been a while since I’ve put out a Wednesday Is for Worship, but I’m excited about getting back into the groove.  I’m always blessed by the songs featured here, and I pray that you are too.

Today I want to share with you a song that is so encouraging.  We undoubtedly live in times of trouble and face instability all around us locally, nationally, and internationally.  Furthermore, wickedness abounds.  There is plenty to be fearful of, but today’s song reminds us that those who are Jesus Christ’s ultimately have nothing to fear.  I’m talking about “Whom Shall I Fear (God of Angel Armies).”

Written in 2012 by Chris Tomlin, Ed Cash, and Scott Cash and published through Worship Together Music, “Whom Shall I Fear” is the first single released in 2012 from Chris Tomlin’s seventh studio album called “Burning Lights.”  Both the song and the album have hit #1 on the Christian music charts.  It’s so easy to see why!

The first verse reminds us that God never turns a deaf ear to us, His children, even in times of darkness.  His light always breaks through.  The second verse declares the victory and protection that is ours through God.  The final verse rejoices in God being our strength, our savior, our deliverer, and the victorious one.

Each verse ends with the ever-relevant question, “Whom shall I fear?”  which draws from the biblical context of Psalm 27 where David asks that very question.  The intended answer, of course, is nobody but God.  The reason is spelled out in the chorus.  The God of Angel Armies envelopes us before and behind; the God of angel armies in all of His sovereignty is a friend to us, on our side, and always by our side.  That’s an awesome, encouraging reality!

The bridge rehearses the fear-stifling realities of the impossibility of defeat.  No weapon formed against us will stand because God has the whole world in His hands.  He has promised to protect us and is faithful to His promises.

The songs seems to draw heavily on themes from Psalm 27, but Tomlin points to the story in 2 Kings 6:8-23 as the core biblical inspiration of the song.  It really is a must-read passage!  There the king of Aram was bent on capturing the prophet Elisha because he kept prophetically telling the king of Israel where to fortify against Aramean attack.  The Aramean king sent his army to the city where Elisha was and surrounded it.  When Elisha’s servant saw the army, he became fearful, but Elijah comforted him, “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them,” (2 Kings 6:16).  Surely the servant was like, “Uhmm, Bro. Elisha, there’s nobody with us but us!”  So, Elisha then prayed to the Lord to reveal to the servant all of God’s angel army that actually surrounded and outnumbered the Aramean army.  It was an awesome sight to behold and had the effect killing the servant’s fear.

Friends, that God in the story of Elisha is the same God we serve today.  He is still the God of Angel Armies, the Lord of Sabaoth, the Lord of Hosts.  In light of this awesome reality, may you fear no one or no thing but God!

I invite you to sing along with Chris as you worship our Almighty God!

VERSE 1
You hear me when I call
You are my morning song
Though darkness fills the night
It cannot hide the light
Whom shall I fear?

VERSE 2
You crush the enemy
Underneath my feet
You are my sword and shield
Though trouble linger still
Whom shall I fear?

CHORUS
I know who goes before me
I know who stands behind
The God of angel armies is always by my side
The One who reigns forever
He is a friend of mine
The God of angel armies is always by my side

VERSE 3
My strength is in Your name
For You alone can save
You will deliver me
Yours is the victory
Whom shall I fear?
Whom shall I fear?

BRIDGE
And nothing formed against me shall stand
You hold the whole world in Your hands
I’m holding on to Your promises
You are faithful
You are faithful

____________________

You can hear Chris Tomlin tell the story behind the song, perform the song, and demonstrate how to play the song at http://worshiptogether.com/songs/songdetail.aspx?iid=1975092.