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The Incomparable Consolations of God
Conquering fear through faith
“When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul.” (Psalm 94:19)
Human beings are, by nature, finite creatures. Further, we are finite creatures living in a fallen and cursed world. This means, to put it bluntly — even if a little morbidly — that there are always at least ten thousand potential disasters that could befall us at any given moment. Safety, for creatures such as us in a world such as ours, really is somewhat of an illusion, which is why the Scriptures frequently refer to the cumulative weight of human strength in terms of mist and grass (Js. 4:14; 1 Pet. 1:24–25). The dandelions have more durability than we do.
One of the inevitable feelings that arises when we pause to consider the true precariousness of our state is a creeping sense of fear or anxiety, what the psalmist here calls “the cares of my heart.” The LSB renders this verse well, capturing the compounding burden of anxious thoughts as they “multiply within me.”
Still, fears must be conquered rather than obeyed. Thus the psalmist pauses here only for a moment before quickly moving on to the response of faith in the latter half of the verse: “your consolations cheer my soul.”
In the context of Psalm 94, the consolations the psalmist speaks of consist in the remembrance that Yahweh is a “God of vengeance” and the “judge of the earth” (vv. 1–2). He will not forsake His people nor abandon His heritage (v. 14) but will return justice to the upright (v. 15) and be a rock of refuge for the faithful (v. 22). Put another way, the psalmist finds deep wells of comfort in remembering the unyielding character and purpose of God. Though the cares of his heart threaten to overwhelm, there are abundant consolations to be found through the exercise of faith.
The same is true in our day, especially as we consider the Christological fulfilment of the psalmist’s hope: Christ is our avenging and conquering King (1 Thess. 4:6); Christ will not forsake His people or abandon His heritage; Christ will one day return to judge the living and the dead (Acts 17:31); and Christ is a rock of refuge for His saints, both now and forever.
All our hope is bound up with the Lord Jesus Christ, who is Himself our comfort and consolation, and thus we, of all people, have reason to say with the psalmist, “When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul.”
A generation of cheerful Christians, comforted by the presence of their Lord and steeled by the unshakeable hope of resurrection and eternal life, would be a marvellous thing indeed.
May God make it so.
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