Summary: 2nd in 5 part series on overcoming the obstacles and difficulties of life using five different Psalms. We used a "journey" or "road" metaphor in terms of the bumps of success, fear, guilt, the religious rut and grief, etc.
POTHOLES OF FEAR
Navigating the Bumps of Life - Week 1
INTRODUCTION:(Video-“What are you afraid of?” 2:12 www.sermonspice.com)
How would you answer that question? Now, being afraid of spiders, snakes, girls or heights may not be your particular phobia but there are countless concerns that can paralyze us. We fear failure, we fear being alone, we fear loss of income or jobs, we fear commitment, we fear rejection, we fear death, and on and on it goes. Yet throughout the Bible we are told, "Don’t be afraid," "Do not worry," "Be confident," "Trust in the Lord,” Fear not." But how do we practically accomplish that? How do we keep our fears from robbing us of a joy filled life? Well, Psalm 27 is a song that is designed to help overcome this particular bump in our road. It is written by a man named David, a man who knew God well and had faced many fears. David had to protect his flock from a bear and a lion, he had slain an enormous giant, he had escaped from the clutches of a mad King and he had fought against a violent and rebellious son. And yet through it all he was able to conquer his fear and trust God. In vs: 3 he says, "..my heart will know no fear.. I remain confident." So let’s look at this song where David with broad, bold advice maneuvers through this bump of fear.
I. THE CAUSES OF FEAR:
First, let’s look at the causes that can make us afraid. Let’s understand a basic truth to begin, and that is this: some fear is inevitable. There will be some times in your life where you will be afraid. Notice in vs:2 David does not say, "if evil men or foes attack..." -or in vs:5: "if troubles come..." He says "when" this happens. And there will be times in your life when you encounter fear. I can remember some times of fear. Once, as a police officer I was attacked by an angry crowd. I was knocked down from behind and several started kicking and punching me. As I lay on my side, what seemed like an eternity but was only 15 seconds until backup arrived, all I could do was protect my gun from being taken and wonder “is this it?” I don’t mind telling you, I was afraid. When our daughter, several years ago, was diagnosed as possibly having a brain tumor.. I was afraid! When I asked Deb to marry me... fear was there. But there will be times in your life where you will be confronted with the bully known as fear. As one writer puts it: "Fear lurks around every imaginable corner, it threatens to poison your inner peace and outward poise. It watches for your most vulnerable moment, then picks the lock that safeguards your security. Once, inside the vault of your soul, it strikes quickly to transform spiritual muscle into mental mush."
Jesus understood that we would experience fear at times in our lives. So, He advised us to choose our fears carefully. In Mt. 10:28- "Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill you. They can only kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” Now, Jesus’ intention is not for us to be petrified of God but He’s giving a contrast here. He’s saying channel your fear to the right place. We ought to have a healthy respect and awe- fear - for God’s holiness and power. So, instead of thinking that fear will never come, understand that although it is inevitable, we can choose what we fear.
I think that the reason fear is so inevitable is that the causes are innumerable. Look at how many things David says he could fear. In vs:2- evil men, enemies, foes; in vs:3- armies; vs:5- trouble; vs:10- parental rejection; vs:12- false witnesses. There are so many things in this life that can cause us to be afraid. A recent edition of a South Florida newspaper carried this front page article entitled: "More informed public also more fearful." This article said, "Life expectancy in the United States is 77.6 years, up almost 15 years since 1940.. the death rate from heart disease has dropped 27% and death from stroke is down 44%.. Polio and smallpox, long the scourge of childhood, have all but disappeared... Despite this enormous improvement - and despite recent improvements in the health or our much brooded over environment - psychologists, sociologists and epidemiologist say we may well be the most frightened society in history. No reasonable person can deny that very real dangers lurk in all our lives, in our air, in our food and water supply and in other natural and artificial substances... The news media is partly to blame. Every day they acquaint us and focus on a new threat." You know that paragraph is right, part of the reason we are so fearful is because there is plenty to be scared about. It seems that the more we learn, the more we have to fear. Denise Ropiek in that article asks.. "Are we over reacting to everyday dangers that have been with us for decades? Have we started living like Chicken Littles being told the sky is falling?" Just think of the crime, the natural disasters, the terrorist acts. I mean, just check out any days newspaper and you find it is filled with the atrocities that happen to people. David understood this even 3000 years ago. Look at the intensity of the words that David uses about his fears.. Vs:2- "destroy," vs:3- "attack,"vs:10- "abandon," and vs:12- "violence."