O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together. I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears. (Psalm 34:3-4)
David had made a big mistake. Yes, he had been in danger, and yes, it seemed like the right thing to do at the time. But the Word of God, which discerns our motives, puts David’s heart on display: he made a foolish move because he was afraid of Saul. It did not seem to matter to David that the Lord had delivered him repeatedly. Nor did it help that Saul’s son, Jonathan, had made a covenant of faithful friendship with him. David took counsel from his fears. Those fears took him “out of the frying pan, and into the fire;” as it were. They made the situation much worse. He had fled from his enemy, Saul, into the hands of God’s enemies, the Philistines (1 Samuel 21:10).
You and I could easily be like David. Our hearts are easily cowed by the tyrant we call “fear.” When you look back at your life, you can easily see that fear caused you to do some of the craziest things. But at the time, that fear seemed so important, so persuasive, so right. If we can learn from David and learn from our past, then we know there has to be a better way. Listen to David’s testimony about that better way:
O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together. I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.
David had learned to make an important change: In the past, he had magnified his fears; now he magnified the Lord.
The word “magnified” means “to regard as great.” Frequently in the Psalms (35:27; 40:16), we are commanded to “magnify the Lord.”
This means that we esteem Him as very great. David had inflated his worries into giant warriors. Now he was treating those worries as the windbags they were. How did he do that? He rejoiced, O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together! He not only encouraged himself in the Lord, he encouraged others to follow his humble example.
Have you ever seen a performance on a stage? For a moment, think of heart and mind as a stage. Then ask, “What occupies center stage?” Have you noticed that whatever occupies center stage of your mind has your complete attention? David had faltered by putting his fears foremost. His fears had captured the central place in his thinking, and had made a fool out of him. So it is with us. Our fears can make us look like fools. How can we change this situation? David gives us the answer:
O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together.
When we exalt the Lord and esteem Him to be great, we give him the center stage of our minds. When He is in His rightful place – at the center of our thinking, and reigning supreme – He will banish our fears. How can you make this a practical reality?
I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.
Praising God and seeking Him are essential for those who would move their fears out of the way and learn boldness. Magnify Him! You will need to remember just how great He is when your fears try to return. Your Ally is the Awesome God who will deal with your distress. Terrors may taunt you, but this psalm teaches you where to direct your efforts: seek the Lord. The testimony of one who made a fearful mistake is this “I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears. In this season of prevailing prayer, seek the Lord. The faithful testimony of your fellow saint is this “He heard me and delivered me from all my fears.” Prayer places the Lord at center stage. If you ask Him, He will deliver you from those frantic fears.
But before we walk away from this “stage of our thinking,” let’s check one more time. Yes, with the Lord ruling supreme at the center stage of our minds, our fears are banished. But how many fears? After all, there are big fears and little fears. Is He the Lord of the little fears? Yes! But can He beat back your big fears? Claim the words of Psalm 34: “delivered me from all my fears.” A dear man who is now with the Lord once told me, “‘A’ double ‘L’ spells ‘all.’ ‘All’ means ‘all’ and that’s all that ‘all’ means. Get it? “All” means “all.” The Scripture tells you that the Lord will deliver you from all your fears. Trust Him to reign victoriously in your heart.
Prayer project: Take a few minutes to magnify the Lord and to make His name great in your thoughts. Perhaps you could use the words of Psalm 34 to praise Him, and to ask Him to reign supreme in your thinking. Then, take a few moments to consider: what are you afraid of? Ask the Lord to send your fears away, pushed aside by the glory of His Name.
— Gordon Dickson