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Facing Fear (Psalm 119:39)

Turn away my reproach which I dread, for Your ordinances are good.
Psalm 119:39

The psalmist acknowledges the reproach that he is facing because of his relationship with God. He also admits that the opposition causes him some degree of fear.

W.S. Plummer, speaking of the reproach that believers can face, says “It makes cowards of many, and unstable souls of more.”1

The psalmist’s prayer is that God would cause the opposition to turn away from him. He wants them to direct their attention elsewhere. At the same time, the psalmist expresses his absolute confidence in God’s word. He knows that the word of God is always good.

The apostle Peter guides the New Testament believer in how to respond to reproach.

Who is there to harm you if you prove zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. AND DO NOT FEAR THEIR INTIMIDATION, AND DO NOT BE TROUBLED, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence; and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame. For it is better, if God should will it so, that you suffer for doing what is right rather than for doing what is wrong.
1 Peter 3:13–17

Peter reminds us that when opposition comes, we do not need to be afraid or upset. Instead, we should be careful to look for opportunities to share the gospel. And if the Lord give us this opportunity, we must be certain to present the gospel with “gentleness and reverence.” This can be difficult when people are venting their rage at us!

Peter also reminds us that we must maintain a good conscience for the sake of the gospel. Our testimony will put the reviling unbeliever to shame. Additionally, we pray that they might come to faith in Christ.

Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation.
1 Peter 2:12

Peter also makes it clear that opposition should be expected by believers. In fact, Peter says that we are blessed when we are reviled for the name of Christ.

If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. Make sure that none of you suffers as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler; but if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name.
1 Peter 4:14–16

The reason this topic is addressed so consistently in Scripture is because we will face opposition and we will be inclined to be fearful. We must prepare for battle and rest with confidence in the Scriptures. God will absolutely accomplish His purposes both in and through our lives.


1 Plummer, W.S., Psalms, The Banner of Truth Trust, 2016. p. 1038

Rocky Wyatt

Rocky Wyatt came to know the Lord as a young teenager and began working in youth ministry when in college. After serving in churches in Utah, California and Colorado, Rocky moved to Texas to serve as Youth Pastor at Countryside Bible Church. He served there for 26 years where he eventually moved from youth ministry to serve as an Associate Pastor.

Over the course of his ministry, Rocky has always had a desire to train men for pastoral ministry in the context of the local church. In 1992 he started XL Ministries, an organization that is committed to helping churches establish intensive internships for pastoral training. In 2020 he left his position at Countryside Bible Church to become the Executive Director of XL Ministries and now works full time assisting churches in training men for ministry.

He is co-author of The Youth Ministry Training Manual, a textbook for training youth pastors, and has also written multiple other resources for use in various local church ministries. He is currently working on a book to encourage churches to take the primary responsibility to train pastors.

Rocky is married to Pamela, has two sons and daughters-in-law, and ten grandchildren. 

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.1 Corinthians 15:58