Summary: Fear can overwhelm and paralyze. God’s love - perfect love - drives out fear.
Sermon for Suites by the Lake – September 26, 2008 – “Perfect Love Drives Out Fear”
Psalm 27:1 Of David. 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?2 When evil men advance against me to devour my flesh, when my enemies and my foes attack me, they will stumble and fall.3 Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then will I be confident.4 One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple. 5 For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle and set me high upon a rock.
When I was growing up music was everywhere. My dad Lewis played blues piano. My sister played as well. There was always music…mostly jazz…playing. A house full of music.
For many of us it’s the same. It may be a certain style of music that we just love no matter what the song. It might be a certain singer that seems to sings song the way we would sing them if we could only sing. Music is the language of the heart. A language of the emotions. It helps us clear our minds. It buoys us when we’re down. It helps us be sad, sometimes, when we need to be sad…somehow it expresses what we’re feeling and lets us get lost in it.
Music has been part of the human experience since before anyone can remember. Did you know that the Bible has at its very core and pretty much right smack in the middle of it, a song book. The book of Psalms is a book of songs. Or, more accurately, song lyrics.
The original melodies are perhaps long lost. We even find sometimes in the book of Psalm, at the start of the psalm: “To the tune of…”, in the same way that we might sing a song to the tune of “O Danny Boy”. So we know that the psalms were all about music.
There’s a certain honesty about music that I’ve always responded to. Somehow it’s permissible to sing about things…loves lost, dream and hopes aspired to…that don’t usually make there way into casual conversation. Music becomes a way for us to experience together in the listening strong universal feelings and experiences that are just plain hard to find words for.
And the book of Psalms is no different. The particular Psalm that we’ve going to look at already today speaks to an area that affects each of us and all of humanity one way or another.
Psalm 27:1 "Of David. 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?2 When evil men advance against me to devour my flesh, when my enemies and my foes attack me, they will stumble and fall. 3 Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then will I be confident".
Fear can be a paralyzing thing. There are a lot of things to be afraid of. One of the things that binds together all fears is uncertainty. We fear when we do not know something. We’re cautious of new people because we do not know them.
We’re worried about finances because we don’t know or can’t know how our finances are really doing or how the economy will go. We fear for our health because we’re uncertain how our bodies will behave down the road. We fear death because we are uncertain what lies beyond the grave.
It’s interesting that this Psalm begins its reflection on fear and uncertainty with an affirmation of the exact opposite: a certainty. The Psalmist proclaims rather boldly that the Lord is his light and salvation.
I don’t know about you, but when I get worried about something, it has the capacity to take over my mind. It’s all I can focus on. It’s tough to separate myself from that thing I worry about. It’s easy to get lost in worry. To lie awake at night with worry.
But this song…this Psalm, starts with a real jolt. Somebody out there is saying: “The Lord is my light and salvation—whom shall I fear?”
Now to this…we might react with a “Hunh? Say what? What kind of reaction is that? What does God have to do with fear? What does God have to say to me about my fear?”