What can mere man do to me?
Psalm 56:3-4 Once you have put your trust in God, nothing man can do is worth worrying about
“When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You. In God, whose word I praise, In God I have put my trust; I shall not be afraid. What can mere man do to me?”
Psalms 56:3-4 NASB1995
If you have one of those days where it seems like everyone and everything is out to get you, having this psalm committed to memory is the best way to banish any fears you may have.
These two verses from the psalmist David start out with his admission that he occasionally confronts fear! He felt that fear rise when he was a young shepherd and had to kill bears and lions; he wasn’t fearless when he went up against Goliath; and during those times when he was a leader of men in the army of Israel, he most certainly faced fear.
The big difference between David and most of the rest of us is that he knew exactly what to do with those fears: he would put his trust in God. Charles Haddon Spurgeon explained this:
“He feared, but that fear did not fill the whole area of his mind, for he adds, ‘I will trust in thee.’ It is possible, then, for fear and faith to occupy the mind at the same moment.”1
David didn’t wait for his fear to disappear totally before acting; he trusted in God and then did what he knew was right in the sight of the Lord. Here’s another quote from Spurgeon (same source):
“It is a sure sign of grace when a man can trust in his God, for the natural man, when afraid, falls back on some human trust, or he thinks that he will be able to laugh at the occasion of fear.”
Not only does David trust the Lord, but he praises God’s Word. He knows from his study and understanding of Scripture that he can trust God based on the Lord’s revealed character and promises.
Finally, David sees the natural progression of his faith in God. He trusts God, even while he is afraid, and that trust assures him that he can mitigate his fear. He ends with a wonderful rhetorical question: what can mere man do to me? That is SUCH a powerful statement. Man is minuscule compared to God! However, as humans we always hear about and experience things of our Earth that could harm us. Yeah, mere man could do a lot to harm us! David realizes that with God on his side, it doesn’t matter what mankind can do.
Let’s go back to the first paragraph of this devotional. These are very powerful verses to have imprinted in your mind so when those fears crop up, you can cut ‘em down to size. 36 little words with infinite power over fear. If you need help remembering verses, the Bible Memory app is a wonderful way to embed those words in your brain.
Heaven On Wheels Daily Prayer:
Thanks to You, Father, that You are the Lord that I trust wholeheartedly. David’s trust in You is reflected in his Psalms, and it is from that trust that I gain my confidence. Through You, I have nothing to fear from mankind or Satan, as You have promised to keep me safe from all evils and those in opposition to us. I praise You and Your holy name, AMEN.
Spurgeon, Charles Haddon "The Treasury of David: Volume 1" (Psalms 1-57) (Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson, 1988)