“The LORD is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” Psalm 118:6
Here we have a comforting truth, a confident assertion, and a probing question. The comforting truth is that the Lord is on my side. From one point of view, the Lord sides with no one but himself. When Joshua asked the commander of the Lord’s army, “Are you for us, or for our adversaries?” he said, “No, but I am the commander of the army of the Lord?” The Lord is on his own side. From another point of view, however, the Lord does side with his people. He takes up their case and rises to defend them. He has bound himself to them in covenant and promised to do good to them and their children. The Lord’s defense is a promise to all those in covenant with God and is a promise that the individual Christian must personally apply The psalmist says, “The Lord is on my side,” speaking not of the Lord’s defense of his people in general but of his defense of him in particular. The Lord siding with us is an expression of his favor. He is for us, not against us. He loves us and is committed to our welfare. Let us rejoice in this truth that the Creator and Redeemer of Israel has sided with us in Jesus Christ! And we have here a confident assertion that follows from this comforting truth. “I will not fear.” If the Lord is on our side, what shall we fear? Shall we fear the bitter providence that is in his sovereign hands? Shall we fear the unknown future that we cannot predict or control but is governed by our Father's wisdom and goodness? The Lord’s defense gives us courage. We dare not shrink in fear when the Lord takes up our case. We have no reason to fear when we walk in the shadow of the Almighty. And this leads to a probing question. “What can man do to me?” At first glance this question seems absurd. We know that wicked men have power to harm us greatly in this present life. They can steal our possessions. They can beat our bodies. They can ostracize us from our earthly relationships. They can kill us or those we love. They can defraud us. They can persecute us mercilessly. Yet the psalmist asks, “What can man do to me?” He must mean, “What can man ultimately do to me?” If the Lord is on my side, then the Lord will vindicate me. If the Lord is on my side, man may kill my body, but he cannot take my soul. If the Lord is on my side, then man may take my treasure on earth, but he can never take my treasure in heaven. If the Lord is on my side, man may separate me from my family and friends, but he can never separate me from the love of God in Jesus Christ our Lord. So today we need to ask ourselves, Is the Lord on our side? Are we in covenant with him? And are we on his side? And if he is our Defender, then let us not fear either God’s providence or man’s persecution. For God is working all things for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose. And as for man, What can he do to me? My help is in the name of the Lord who made heaven and earth!