When I first started writing about this psalm, I finished the first four verses, but came to a total stop with the next lines.  With all the evil in the world, the Holocaust, the wars, the persecution and slaughtering of Christians – how could one NOT fear?!?    What I really wanted this psalm to say is that there will no longer be anything to fear – day or night!  There will no longer be pestilence, plagues, arrows, nor people doing evil things.  But that isn’t what it says.

It’s been several years, but let’s tackle the rest of this psalm line by line.

You will not fear the terror of night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
nor the plague that destroys at midday.     (
Psalm 91:5-6)

Most people prefer the daytime because not only are they able to see where they are going, but they can also see what and who is around them.  It’s true that there are shadows during the day, but night shadows seem so much more sinister – so much darker.

What is the terror of night really talking about?  What arrows fly at night?  And pestilence, sickness, and plagues not only at night, but at midday, too?

It is interesting that verse 5 – You will not fear the terror of night actually uses two different words for fear.  The first is yārē which means to be afraid, and the second is paḥaḏ which means terror, dread, and the object of dread.  Then the writer adds night, layil, meaning not only night time, but also gloom!  That’s a lot of fear packed into that one phrase.

What could be lurking at night that you fear?  What do you dread, now or in the future? This psalm is not so much talking about delivering you from things you’re afraid of.  It is talking about delivering you from fear itself!  We can be free from being terrified of things we can see, and things we cannot.

I like the way The Passion Translation translates this verse.

You will never worry about an attack of demonic forces at night, nor have to fear a spirit of darkness coming against you.  Don’t fear a thing!  Whether by night or by day, demonic danger will not trouble you, nor will the powers of evil be launched against you. 

Can we really be rid of fear?  Absolutely, but that doesn’t mean that we go willy-nilly sticking our hands in fire, or jumping off a cliff, or any other stupid, dangerous thing.  There is still common sense and caution – but not terror.  For example, Solomon wrote in Proverbs,

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction. (Proverbs 1:7)

This “fear” means reverence, awe, respect.  We need not be terrified of the LORD but hold Him in the highest honor and respect.

But we can still be unafraid every day.  Firstly, we do not need to fear darkness, especially spiritual darkness and all the evil that lurks there. Light has come into the world.

The Book of Proverbs tells us the result of fearing the Lord.

My son, do not let wisdom and understanding out of your sight, preserve sound
judgment and discretion; they will be life for you, an ornament to grace your neck.
Then you will go on your way in safety, and your foot will not stumble.
When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.
Have no fear of sudden disaster or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked,
for the Lord will be at your side and will keep your foot from being snared.   (Proverbs 3: 21-26)

And again, David tells us in Psalms,

even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you
(Psalm 139:12)

“Fear and Faith are contrary to each other. Fear keeps you from moving forward and from doing the will of God. Fear keeps your focus on something else and not on God’s truths.”
(from ourkingdomculture.com/enemies-of-faith-how-to-overcome-them)

Secondly, we do not need to be afraid of fear itself.  The author of fear is the devil himself.  There was no fear until after Adam and Eve ate the proverbial apple.  The first results were fear and shame, so they hid themselves.

But God!  (I love those words!)  Paul tells us For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid (fearful), but gives us power, love and self-discipline. (2 Timothy 1:7) The Amplified Version reads, For God did not give us a spirit of timidity or cowardice or fear, but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of sound judgment and personal discipline [abilities that result in a calm, well-balanced mind and self-control].

The end of that verse in the Amplified Version speaks of sound judgment and personal discipline [abilities that result in a calm, well-balanced mind) and self-control.  Here are my thoughts.

Sound Judgement:  No matter how evil and powerful the enemy is, God is more holy than he is evil, and much, much more powerful.  God can never lie; He is always faithful to His Word.  If you are God’s child, in Christ, all His promises are “Yes and Amen” for you.  (see 1 Corinthians 1:20)

Personal Discipline:  Choose to think on Who and what is truth. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things… And the God of Peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:8-9) Do not dwell on all the negative possibilities the enemy dumps into your mind.  We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:5)

            The enemy is a liar, and loves to put fearful thoughts into our minds.  But, we do not have to entertain those thoughts.  It has been said that we cannot stop birds from landing in our hair, but we can prevent them from building a nest.  Kick those thoughts to the curb and focus on Who is watching over us.

Self Control:  Does all this sound impossible?  The words “fear not” are in Scripture 365 times – once for every day.  Would your Heavenly Father require what is impossible of us?  No!  But it is our choice.  Again, we can choose who and what we focus on.

A word to the wise.  If you have had a traumatic experience, the spirit of fear may have its hooks into you.  Ask Jesus to go to that wound and heal it.  That most likely will require forgiveness of those involved – maybe even yourself.  Ask Jesus to show you where He was in that situation. (He was there.)  Depending on the severity of the trauma, you may need someone to pray with you about this.

Secondly, if you’ve sought fearful experiences, as in horror movies, haunted houses, and the like, you may also need to repent and renounce all that.  Then ask Jesus to heal your mind and begin to remove all those images.  Remember, “garbage in / garbage out.”  If a scary image comes to mind, purposely invite Jesus into that scene.  Watch what He does and how He brings peace and victory.  It’s amazing!  So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? (1 John 4:8)

“Fear: False Evidence Appearing Real.”









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One thought on “You Will Not Fear

  1. So it is because of you and Linda telling me to ask God where He was when I was experiencing pain, that I have one of the sweetest memories. As a child I was never chosen for anything on the playground and anything I tried out for either. It was a scar of rejection which came back up several years ago and I remembered your advice. I asked, “Where were you, Lord, when I was being rejected on the playground?” I very clearly heard Him say, “I was right there, Jill, saying, ‘I want you for my team.’ ” It’s so good to be chosen for the winning team!!!

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