Summary: The writer of the twenty-seventh Psalm faced and conquered real fear. At some point in the midst of his trouble, the psalmist felt the pressing need to get back to God.
Marjorie Goff was thirty-one when she stepped inside and closed the door of her small apartment in 1949.
She did not leave her home again until she was sixty-one.
She did go out one time in 1960 to visit her family.
Two years later, she left again to have an operation.
And in 1976, when the friend who shared her apartment was dying of cancer and wanted ice cream, Marjorie went out to get her some.
She might still be there in her lonely apartment if not for a social worker who found her and helped her back out into the world.
"Extreme case," you say?
But agoraphobia does afflict one in twenty Americans.
It is literally fear of fear.
An agoraphobiac is terrified of the possibility of a panic attack in an open place away from home.
One woman suffered so acutely from agoraphobia that she literally could not be out of sight of her home.
She walked backward out of her front door to pick up her morning newspaper in order to never lose sight of her house.
It might not always be this severe.
But one in nine adults harbors some kind of phobia, making fear the number-one mental health problem for women, and the number-two problem for men, behind drug and alcohol abuse.
It may well be that such abuse simply masks fear.
There are phobias of shopping malls, freeways, and suspension bridges.
In fact, one young truck driver was so afraid of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge that he could cross it only in the trunk of his car while his wife drove.
A Los Angeles insurance executive is so fearful of driving on freeways that he hold tightly onto the roof of his car with one hand while he steers with the other.
A San Francisco man who loved airplanes had logged 150,000 miles in the air when he encountered some turbulence in a 747.
In a cold-sweat panic he quit flying .... a problem for this thirty-seven-year-old man whose job depended on travel.
At least seventy-five phobias have been given technical names.
Ailurophobia is the fear of cats.
Astrophobia is the fear of lightning.
Trichophobia is the fear of hair.
One of the most unusual phobias is "triskaidekaphobia," fear of the number thirteen; it costs American business a billion dollars a year in absenteeism, cancellations, and reduced business on the thirteenth of the month.
So deep is the fear of the number thirteen that in Paris a professional fourteenth guest can be hired to round out an otherwise ill-fated
You may say, "None of that is my problem."
But remember that phobias are very personalized.
While your friend's fear of spiders sends you into fits of laughter, your own fear of water seems perfectly sane, totally rational and completely sensible.
The fact of the matter is your fear is real to you, whatever it may be.
The writer of the twenty-seventh Psalm faced and conquered real fear.
At some point in the midst of his trouble, the psalmist felt the pressing need to get back to God.
"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" (Ps. 27:4).
This psalm is the testimony that a courageous king gave before the assembly of God's people.
These are the words of an valiant hero who has faced fear frequently and conquered because of faith.
The objects of his fears were real, not imaginary.
Vicious enemies attacked him with words and weapons.
Yet he found that faith elevated him above that which he feared.
When communion with God dominates your life, faith is the antidote to fear.
If you are in the grip of fear, come back to God.
Overcoming Fear By Faith
Faith overcomes fear when God is first.
The first words of this psalm form an expression of faith.
"The Lord is my light and my salvation."
Only after that affirmation of faith do you find the word "fear."
The name of God is first before fear.
This is as practical as waking up in the morning.
Your first conscious thought will either be faith or fear, belief or unbelief.
The psalmist greeted the day with the name of God.
Because of that, fear was shouted down by faith.
But this faith can't be vague or ambiguous.
The faith that overcomes fear has solid content.
The psalmist experiences God as light, victory, and stronghold.
God as light overcomes fear because He alone pushes back every form of darkness.
The psalmist had known human enemies lurking somewhere behind a rock in the Judea desert.
In such moments God was his light.
He confessed elsewhere,
"Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You, But the night shines as the day;