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Summary: A sermon to help us overcome our fears.

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“The Sum of All Fears ”

Psalm 56:1-13

Psalms 56:3 What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.

Over the years there have been several TV programs and even movies that have dealt with the issue of fear. There was even one called “The Fear Factor” from which I borrowed today title. I saw a trailer recently where individuals/contestants are exposed to the things that they fear most. Snakes, spiders and such can be seen regularly on this program.

First: Notice that there are times when we are fearful.

I. Our Time – “What time…”

1 Samuel 21:10 And David arose, and fled that day for fear of Saul, and went to Achish the king of Gath.

11 And the servants of Achish said unto him, Is not this David the king of the land? did they not sing one to another of him in dances, saying, Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands?

12 And David laid up these words in his heart, and was sore afraid of Achish the king of Gath.

13 And he changed his behaviour before them, and feigned himself mad in their hands, and scrabbled on the doors of the gate, and let his spittle fall down upon his beard.

14 Then said Achish unto his servants, Lo, ye see the man is mad: wherefore then have ye brought him to me?

15 Have I need of mad men, that ye have brought this fellow to play the mad man in my presence? shall this fellow come into my house?

A. It’s reality

I don’t know anybody who has not experienced fear at some time in their life. As a matter of fact, anyone who claims to have never experienced fear cannot be trusted to tell the truth about anything else! Even Medal of Honor winners will tell you that they were afraid when they did what they did to merit this great tribute to their courage. Think of it, some of God’s choicest servants experienced fear, like David who slew the giant Goliath and fought in countless other battles afterwards to unify the nation of Israel, being afraid and you begin to grasp the size and scope of this issue. Elijah, who stood up to King Ahab, called down fire from heaven and slew the 400 prophets of Baal, ran like a scarred jack rabbit when he heard Jezebel’s threats. Moses fled Egypt because he feared the wrath of the king. Gideon had to be constantly reassured of God’s presence because he was afraid. The list just goes on and on.

B. It’s regularity

It must also be said that we are afraid more often that we would care to admit. I can say tell you honestly that I personally experience fear and uncertainty on a daily basis! There are as many fears and phobias as there stars’ in the sky! Just look and any medical text book and you will see what I mean. We experience fear regularly and often.

C. It’s reaction

Fear makes people do all kinds of things. I came home one evening after work and found my wife up on the couch. Seems that a mouse had claimed the living room as his domain! Have you ever seen the cartoons where a few mice run off a herd of elephants? It’s funny when we see it in the cartoons but for most of us fear is not to be laughed at.

Second: What makes us afraid?

II. Our Timidity – “…I am afraid…”

A. Our deeds

Often times we are afraid because of what we have done as in the case of Adam and Eve. Whether by fear of exposure or punishment we are afraid.

Genesis 3:10 And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.

Luther on Fear

ILL - Martin Luther made this interesting observation in his Table Talk. God and the devil take opposite tactics in regard to fear. The Lord first allows us to become afraid, that he might relieve our fears and comfort us. The devil, on the other hand, first makes us feel secure in our pride and sins, that we might later be overwhelmed with fear and despair.

{Morgan, R. J. 2000. Nelson’s complete book of stories, illustrations, and quotes (electronic ed.) . Thomas Nelson Publishers: Nashville}

B. Our dangers

2 Corinthians 11:26 In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;

Charles Allen in “Victory in the Valleys.”

5-year old Johnny was in the kitchen as his mother made supper. She asked him to go into the pantry and get her a can of tomato soup, but he didn’t want to go in alone. "It’s dark in there and I’m scared." She asked again, and he persisted. Finally she said, "It’s OK--Jesus will be in there with you." Johnny walked hesitantly to the door and slowly opened it. He peeked inside, saw it was dark, and started to leave when all at once an idea came, and he said: "Jesus, if you’re in there, would you hand me that can of tomato soup?"

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