Summary: A sermon based on Psalm 27 in light of the tragedy of September 11, 2001
REACTING TO TROUBLE
INTRODUCTION: Our world changed Tuesday morning, and in many ways it will never be the same. The tragedy that has inflicted upon our nation is something that many people believed could never happen here. And yet it did. This week Americans learned that we are as vulnerable as any nation on the planet. This week we have gained a sense of the kind of fear that people in many nations around the globe live with every day. Yet, if there is one good thing that can come out of this disaster I hope that it will unite the nations of the world to bring an end to terrorism. No one, American or not, should have to live in such fear.
During the first couple of days after the attack, most news networks reported the story under the banner, "Attack on America" or "America Under Attack." Thursday morning, however, I noticed that Fox News had updated their banner to say "America Unites" and another network had updated their banner to say "America Responds." This is a good distinction to make. The question for us now is not "How could this happen?", we know the answer to that question, but instead, "How should we respond?"
For the last few days I have been praying about today’s lesson because quite frankly I had no idea what to say. I knew in my heart that there was something that God would say to us about how we should respond to this crisis. It probably will not surprise you to know that I found the answer in the book of Psalms. Psalm 27 is where we will spend our time this morning. David speaks words that are so appropriate for our situation. He knew what it was like to face an enemy; he knew what it was like to be "besieged." And yet, he didn’t give up. The words of this Psalm teach us how we can respond in the face of this national crisis. Three words define our response.
A. Terrorism has but one goal and one tool – fear. It is also one of Satan’s greatest tools, and there is no isolated coincidence between the two. Fear disables, cripples, destroys all those whom it come in contact with. It is truly a deadly weapon.
1. Our nation has been stuck with fear. From coast to coast every person has felt come degree of it over the past 5 days. I know I have been rattled with it, and so have you. But this is not the time to give in to Satan’s tool.
2. David was a man, a follower of God, who faced more than his share of frightful times. (Goliath, Saul, Absalom) Yet, despite all of those, and many others, he over-came them and his fear. In Psalm 27 he left us a window into his source of strength.
3. Psalm 27:1,3,5
4. He knew God was with him. He knew God was still in charge. He knew God would lead him beside calm water, restore his soul, comfort him and guide him (Psalm 23).
B. Our faith should be no different especially in a time like this. We do not have to be afraid because our hope and our strength does not lie with our military power or our economic stability. It lies with God. God is still in charge! He will still take care of His people!
1. Hebrews 13:5, 6
2. Exodus 14:13,14
C. Even though our lives have changed because of this tragedy, we cannot give in to fear. More than ever we need to be a people of courage, a people whose confidence is in God Almighty
A. In the face and reality of such an unprovoked, ungodly slaughter of innocent people, the easiest and most common thing to do is to respond to hate with hate. Already there is widespread hatred for all who are of middle eastern descent and that it just not right.
1. I had a minister tell me one time that we need to be careful that we do not become that which we despise. There is a lot of sense and Godliness in that statement. Hatred, especially of another human being, is not a characteristic of Christianity, never has been and never will be. In fact it is not a characteristic of the Muslim religion either.
2. Islam, at its heart, it a peace loving religion that claims allegiance to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. It is only the radical fundamentalist groups that use the ungodly violence in God’s name, and we have some in Christianity who do the very same thing.
3. There is an old saying, "Two wrongs do not make a right." I have few doubts that David did not know something akin to this. You see, despite all he faced and all of the horrible, ungodly things people did to him, his family and his nation, David did not become like his enemies.