Summary: If God can deliver the Psalmist from his fears, then He can do it for us today, too.
MELVIN M. NEWLAND, MINISTER
CENTRAL CHRISTIAN, BROWNSVILLE, TX
A. We’re 4 weeks into the new year, & it is natural for us, as we try to peer into the future, to wonder if we should be excited about its potential, or should we be quaking in fear because of its uncertainties?
ILL. A few years ago, a little 7-year-old boy was accidentally shot to death by his younger brother. His mother, a single parent working two jobs to support her children, often had to work late at night. So because she was afraid she purchased a hand gun.
Usually she kept it away from her children, safe in her purse. But on this one occasion she left it on the front seat of her car, & the boys discovered it. And as they were playing with it, the gun accidentally went off & a little 7-year-old boy died.
Now if we had to put the cause of death on his death certificate, I think the most accurate cause would be "fear." He died, in part, because his mother had been caught in the grip of fear.
Fear is very much a part of our lives. Maybe you’re afraid of losing your job, or your health, or losing your finances. Maybe you’re afraid of not being accepted by others. Or maybe you’re just afraid of growing old. The list could go on & on, for all of us have things that cause us to experience the emotion we call "fear."
As a result, we try to take precautions to protect ourselves. We buy insurance policies to cover those things we consider valuable. We put bars on our windows & doors & buy alarm systems to protect our automobiles. All this because of fear.
B. Yet, listen to what God has said on this subject. The angel spoke to the shepherds on the night that Jesus was born & said, "Fear not, for behold I bring you glad tidings of great joy which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Savior who is Christ the Lord."
The message of Christmas is that if Jesus Christ is our Lord & Savior, we do not need to be afraid. Again, the Bible says, "For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, `Fear not, I will help you.’"
And in the 34th Psalm, the Psalmist is praising the Lord, & he is doing it in a very personal way. Then in vs. 4 he says, "I sought the Lord, and He answered me; He delivered me from all my fears."
PROP. Now if God can do that for the psalmist in the O.T., then He can do it today for us, too.
I. EXPOSE YOUR FEARS
A. And in order to do that, first of all, we need to face our fears & realize that sometimes our fears are the result of sin.
ILL. One of the most beautiful scenes in the Bible is found in the first chapter of the book of Genesis where it tells us about God walking & talking with Adam & Eve in the Garden of Eden. It was a time of complete innocence. There was nothing hidden, nothing phony.
But when we turn the page & read about Adam & Eve eating of the forbidden fruit then everything changes. God comes to the Garden & He looks for Adam & Eve & they’re not where they usually are. So He calls out, "Adam, where are you? Where are you?"
Finally there is this weak little voice from behind a bush, "I’m over here, God." "What are you doing over there, Adam?" "I’m hiding, God." "Why are you hiding, Adam?" "Because I’m naked." "Who told you that you were naked, Adam?" And finally Adam says, "I’m hiding because I’m afraid."
APPL. Now let me tell you something. The more we try to hide or cover up our sins, the more we try to hide from God. The more we refuse to face them the deeper we go.
B. By the way, have you every really been afraid? Have you ever had an experience that just brought a surge of fear into your life?
ILL. Some time ago, Dennis Slaughter, preacher of the Valley View Christian Church in Dallas was telling about being alone at home for a few days. He said, "My wife went to St. Louis to baby-sit with three of our granddaughters, & I had to batch it while she was gone.
"So for about 3 or 4 days I was totally on my own. I had to find my own meals, make my own bed, & clean up my own messes. I really wasn’t all that excited about it, but then I am a person who likes having time alone. So I thought that this could be a very positive experience. I knew I would miss my wife but I wasn’t going to dread this time of being alone.