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In our culture we have an epidemic of fears and phobias. People are afraid of not only rats, but of snakes, spiders and maybe even army worms. Others lose sleep over everything from global warming to giant asteroids hitting the earth. Surveys say the most common fear people have is speaking in front of a group of people. Lots of folks fear sickness and health problems, and almost everyone is at least a little afraid of dying. Of course, having no fear is not necessarily the same thing as courage. Sometimes fear can be very healthy. There is an old saying, Fools rush in where angels dare not go. In the book Moby Dick, Captain Ahab says, "I donít want anyone on this boat who is not afraid of whales." Yet, most of us greatly admire people with true courage. For example, when I think about the pilots in Jimmy Doolittleís squadron who flew the bombing mission over Tokyo in 1942, I think, "Wow, I wonder if I would be willing to do that? Would I have the courage to risk my life for the sake of this country?"
When we open up the Bible, we see lots of courage. I donít know who you think is the bravest person in the Bible. I have always liked Daniel down there in that lionsí den, but certainly one of the most courageous individuals in Scripture is David. As a young shepherd boy he fought off a bear and a lion which were threatening his flock. Then apparently when he was a teenager he faced and killed the giant Goliath when everyone else in the army of Israel was afraid to fight. When Saulís army was hunting him and trying to kill him, David still was not afraid. He expresses his courage in Psalm 27:1 where he says, The Lord is my light and my salvation -- whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life -- of whom shall I be afraid? Friends, today we are going to be exploring Psalm 27. As we look at this passage my hope is that we will better understand how David was able to not be afraid, and how we might grow more courage in our life. Letís pray that will happen.
What is the source of courage? In Davidís life we see it is rooted in his relationship with the Lord. One source of courage was his faith in God. Where there is strong faith, fear tends to disintegrate. David had that type of trust because he had frequently seen God work in his life. 27:2,3 When evil men advance against me to devour my flesh, when my enemies and my foes attack me, they will stumble and fall. Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then will I be confident. Psychiatrists say that repeated experience is often the key in overcoming fear. So whether one is afraid of driving over a bridge or of parachuting out of an airplane, the best cure is usually just doing it over and over again. Every time David saw the Lord provide protection from his enemies, his faith and his courage grew. Every time the Lord delivered him from those who were trying to harm
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