7 FEARS DEFEATED BY FAITH
A. HUMOR: ‘I MAY BE CRAZY’
1. A man was driving past the Insane Asylum at Rusk, Texas, when one of his tires began to vibrate badly.
2. He stopped, got out and looked, and discovered that all but one of his lug nuts were missing and his tire was about to fall off. He scratched his head, bewildered as to what to do.
3. A man behind the asylum fence said, “You got a problem?” He answered, “Yes, all my lug nuts but one are missing and I don’t know how to keep the tire from falling off.”
4. “Oh, that’s easy! Just take one nut off each of the other tires and put them on tight. You can drive like that until you can get some more lug nuts. You should be fine.”
5. “Wow, thanks! Are you one of the asylum employees?” “No, I’m a patient; I may be crazy but I’m not stupid!”
B. TEXT: PSALM 91:1-13
1 Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. 2 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust. Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. 4 He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. 5 You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, 6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. 7 A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. 8 You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked. 9 If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,” and you make the Most High your dwelling,
10 no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent. 11 For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; 12 they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. 13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent.
C. THESIS & TITLE
1. We’re going to look at 7 fears spoken of in Psalm 91, what they are, and the solution God gives us to eradicate them.
2. The title of this message is “7 Fears Defeated by Faith.”
I. SNARE: UNFORESEEN TRAPS
A. WHAT THIS FEAR IS
1. “Snare of the Fowler” (vs. 3) – a concealed peril (trap), adapted to our nature, attractively baited, it uses decoys especially crafted to attract us.
2. Usually only Satan is clever enough to employ this complicated strategy against us.
3. This is when we are blind-sided by some disaster from which we can’t escape. A sudden medical problem that puts us into huge debt; a business bankruptcy.
4. It could be yielding to a temptation only to be publicly exposed and our reputation ruined.
B. GOD’S PROMISE
1. God promises to preserve us from these situations, especially if we’re innocently trapped.
2. One way of extricating us is to provide a way of escape.
1 Cor. 10:13 says, “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”
3. So this is often God’s way of delivering people from the snare of the fowler; He will break the snare and set us free!
II. CALAMITIES: INJURY TO OUR FAITH IN GOD
A. WHAT THIS ENEMY IS
1. Verse 3 calls this foe the “Deadly Pestilence.” The Complete Jewish Bible translates this phrase as a “plague of calamities.” In other words, a whole series of calamities that happen one after another.
2. Job is an example of this circumstance and we see that though he was a very strong believer, his faith in God was shaken and at times seemed to mock him for ever trusting in God.
3. Terrible calamities cause us to have a crisis of faith, for it appears that God either is unfaithful to His promise to protect us or He doesn’t love us individually.
B. GOOD SIDE OF THIS TRIAL
Usually the only recourse is to blindly trust God, IN SPITE of the circumstances. This is why these types of experiences CAN drive us into the arms of God as never before, and ultimately can make us even stronger than we ever were before.
C. HOW GOD REVERSES THIS CIRCUMSTANCE
1. Concerning this trial, God speaks with the greatest tenderness and affection that He shall ‘cover you with his feathers, and put you under his wings’ (which alludes to the hen gathering her chickens under wings, Mt. 23:37).
2. The result is that you discover God as your refuge/place of safety. Not only does He keep us safe, but He, as does the hen, cherishes us and keeps us warm.
III. THE TERRORS OF NIGHT
A. WHAT THIS FEAR IS
1. Verse 5 -- “The Terror of Night.” Even from childhood, most of us have feared the darkness of night and the imagined dangers that lurk there.
2. Getting over that intense fear is a wonderful achievement in life. God tells us that because He is protecting us, we have no need to fear the unknown dangers of darkness.
B. MY EXPERIENCE WITH THIS FEAR
[STORY OF MY FEARS IN DARK HALLWAY]
1. All bedrooms in close proximity, no lights allowed on, loud attic fan, swirling wind, absolute total darkness, mile-long hallway.
2. I had 2 older sibling and our house was the neighborhood gathering place of teenagers, who sat together on our side porch every night and told the latest gruesome horror stories.
3. Between these horror stories and my super imagination, I nightly envisioned, as I tried to travel to the bathroom, the most fearful creatures any haunted house ever tried to project being in that hallway!
4. I remember being convinces a devourer stood directly before me, and resigned myself to walking into its open jaws! It was truly a terrible time in my life.
5. Not only does God say He will protect us from the danger, He says He will protect us from the FEAR of the danger! It was a great day when God “delivered me from my fears!”
IV. FEARS OF BETRAYAL
A. WHAT THIS FEAR IS
1. “The Arrow that Flies by day.” The Amplified Classic version explains this as “the evil plots and slanders” of our enemies.
2. Many of us have enemies who would like to bring about our ruin and are NOT afraid to attack us openly, not caring who sees it.
3. We’ve all had people on the job or jealous ‘friends’ who would criticize us to advance their own cause.
4. It’s very painful and discouraging to fall under the open criticism of others. Sometimes it can become a dog-pile, where it become the entertainment to criticize a person.
B. GOD’S PROMISE
1. God says He will shield us or deliver us from the plots and attacks of our enemies.
2. In my experience, God will often make the critics fall into the pit which they’ve dug. Then it’s our turn – not to criticize them – but to show them undeserved forgiveness.
3. This will help us grow and them too!
V. THE STALKING FEAR
A. HOW THIS IS DESCRIBED
1. “Pestilence that Stalks in the Darkness.” This could refer to animals which are nocturnal – whose nature/ eyesight is especially adapted to darkness and they usually do their hunting at night.
2. Cats, lions, wolves, owls, bats, foxes, raccoons, etc, come out at night. The most dangerous foes are the “stalkers.”
3. The ‘pestilence that walks in darkness’ was the one which slew the first-born of the Egyptians. No locks or bars could keep out such a fiend.
B. A MODERN EXAMPLE OF THIS
1. Have you ever been driving and became convinced that someone was following you? This happens in Elkins Lake neighborhood often. The longer the car following you keeps making the same turns and stays on your bumper, the more convinced you become they’re following you!
2. Proverbs 28:1 says, “The wicked(or fearful) flee though no one pursues, but the righteous are as bold as a lion.”
C. GOD’S ANSWER FOR THIS FEAR
God promises to save us from the most sneaky of enemies. If someone IS stalking you, you need not fear. Pray about it and God will keep you safe!
VI. FEAR OF DEADLY DISEASE
A. FEAR OF SICKNESS & DISEASE
1. “Plague that destroys at Midday.” Most translations see this as referring to literal sicknesses or diseases that are afflicting people. Black plague, small pox, cancer, Ebola, etc.
2. Fear of sickness and disease is universal, because untreated, they can lead to death. People will pay their last dollar save themselves or their family from sickness.
B. GOD’S STRONG CONSOLATION
1. God says, “A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.”
2. We can thank God for Jesus’ stripes and God’s many promises that He is a healing God; “with His stripes, we are healed!”
VII. DEFEAT OF SPIRITUAL FOES
A. OUR OPPONENTS DESCRIBED
1. “You will trample the great Lion and the Serpent.” In addition to enemies of this world are mentioned enemies in the spiritual world.
2. Satan is called “the old Serpent” in Rev. 12:9 and described as a “Roaring Lion.”
3. James 4:7 gives us the answer to disarming him; “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
4. This speaks of our ultimate complete victor over satan.
B. STORY OF 3RD GRADE PLAY & MY PARALYZING FEAR OF PUBLIC SPEAKING. THE DEVIL TRIED TO SHORT-CIRCUIT MY CALL TO MINISTRY].
WRAP-UP: MESSAGE BIBLE
You who sit down in the High God’s presence, spend the night in Shaddai’s shadow, Say this: “God, you’re my refuge. I trust in you and I’m safe!” That’s right—he rescues you from hidden traps, shields you from deadly hazards. His huge outstretched arms protect you— under them you’re perfectly safe; his arms fend off all harm. Fear nothing—not wild wolves in the night, not flying arrows in the day, Not disease that prowls through the darkness, not disaster that erupts at high noon. Even though others succumb all around, drop like flies right and left, no harm will even graze you. You’ll stand untouched, watch it all from a distance, watch the wicked turn into corpses. Yes, because God’s your refuge, the High God your very own home, Evil can’t get close to you, harm can’t get through the door. He ordered his angels to guard you wherever you go. If you stumble, they’ll catch you; their job is to keep you from falling. You’ll walk unharmed among lions and snakes, and kick young lions and serpents from the path.
PART 2: GOD’S SOLUTION TO THESE FEARS
1. What is the ONE SECRET to defeating all possible fears and their sources? DWELLING IN GOD! All those who live with God are under His umbrella, surrounded with the hedge of God’s protection.
2. If the Believer sincerely declares, “The Lord is my refuge,” and [if] you make the Most High your dwelling, no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent.” (vss. 9-10)
3. The Almighty shelters declares that proximity with Him is the safe zone from all harm and danger.
4. The blood put on the doors in Egypt protected all the first-born of Israel when thousands fell. All under the blood were unhurt, untouched.
5. “You wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusts in thee” Isa. 26:3.
A. ILLUSTRATION: CAST YOUR CARES ON GOD
1. The hymn “God Moves in a Mysterious Ways” has been a source of great comfort and blessing to many of God’s people since William Cowper wrote it in the 18th century. Yet few people know of the unusual circumstances that led to its composition.
2. William Cowper was a Christian, but he had sunk to the depths of despair. One foggy night he called for a horse drawn carriage and asked to be taken to the London Bridge on the Thames River. He was so overcome by depression that he intended to commit suicide.
3. But after 2 hours of driving in a heavy fog, Cowper’s coachman reluctantly confessed that he was lost. Disgusted by the delay, Cowper left the carriage and decided to find the London Bridge on foot.
4. After walking only a short distance, though, he discovered that he was at his own doorstep! The carriage had been going in circles.
5. Immediately he recognized the restraining hand of God in it all. Convicted by the Spirit, he realized that the way out of his troubles was to look to God, not to jump into the river.
6. As he cast his burden on the Savior, his heart was comforted. With gratitude he sat down and penned these reassuring words: “God moves in a mysterious way His wonders to perform; He plants His footsteps in the sea, and rides upon the storm. O fearful saints, fresh courage take, the clouds you so much dread are big with mercy, and shall break in blessings on your head.”
B. THE CALL
1. Prayer & Altar service.