Summary: God can calm our fears
I remember well. It was just a few weeks ago on that fateful day when I received a small manila envelop. With great fear and trepidation I pulled back the envelop closure. A deep voice resonated throughout the classroom, “If you have it, it will be preached Reader’s Digest condensed form - 10 minutes only.” Oh Lord, please no, not the babies dashed against the rocks! From the depths of envelop of secrecy I pulled a small card and there tape with cheap cellophane tape was my fate…Psalm 3. Whew, it wasn’t the babies. Thank you Lord! I looked down at my Psalms decoder sheet, a sense of doom settled around me, Psalm 3, a personal lament. Oh, no! what was I going to preach, “woe is me, poor me, moan and groan? Well, at least I can do that in under ten minutes. I read the text and my heart was heavy with dread. It wasn’t until I quit reading the text and opened my heart to hear God that I began to understand the meaning and application of third Psalm. As it was revealed I came to a new understanding and a new appreciation of the meaning of all of the Psalms.
It was originally thought that the third Psalm was written by David during a low moment in his life following Absalom’s (ab’suh-luhms) rebellion exiling David from Jerusalem. Today scholars question the timing of the writing based on some of the word usage. Whether it was David or another king, the third Psalm was written as a confident cry for help in the face of overwhelming odds.
I imagine the king restless in the night, tossing and turning. Sleep will not come. He rises and leaves his tent. Slowly he climbs to rest at the a top a small rise. Helooks out over the Jordan toward Jerusalem, his shoulders slumped in despair. A deep sense of grief, and fear spread across his heart and soul, “O Lord, how many are my foes! How many rise up against me!” His head drops to his chest in defeat. In the silence of moment the echoes of all of creation beacon the king come, come to God. Earnestly the king cries out in prayer. “O God, ‘Many are saying of me ‘God will not deliver him.’ (pause) But you,(God, you are my shield,) O Lord; you bestow glory on me and lift up my head.” His shoulder rise and broad out against the sky and he lifts his head high. A new confidence flows over his soul. “Yahweh, Lord and God, I have no need to fear for I have the assurance of your promise to protect me. He calls out, “Arise O Lord! Deliver me, O my God! Strike all my enemies on the jaw; break the teeth of the wicked. (Release me from the jaws of death and free me from the hold of my enemies. For) from the Lord comes deliverance. May your blessing be on your people.”
With a quicken step he descends from the hill filled with a renewed since of hope, a new confidence. He enters his tent and rests his weary body. The warmth of his soul calms his fears and sleep gently comes. The camp is safe. Morning will come and he will stand before his fears and enemies confident in the power and strength of God. No matter what happens the king and God’s people will be blessed. He has confidence in spite of all he has and will face, confidence that can sleep away fears.
Fear, do you have any fears? Are there enemies standing threateningly before you? We are so lucky to live in America, land of the brave and free. Prosperity abounds. There is no real fear of war invading within our boundaries, no real fear of evasion, revolution or guerrilla warfare. And yet, our children are afraid. A nationwide survey of 2200 seven to eleven years old by the Foundation for Child’s Development indicated that most American children feel good about their lives, their families, and just being themselves. But more than two-thirds are also afraid. Afraid of “someone bad” skulking around their neighborhood, waiting to break into their homes, afraid that they will be attacked when they go outside, afraid of “shoot ‘em ups” and violence.
A nationwide survey of 2200 seven to eleven years old by the Foundation for Child’s Development indicated that most American children feel good about their lives, their families, and just being themselves. But more than two-thirds are also afraid. Afraid of “someone bad” skulking around their neighborhood, waiting to break into their homes, afraid that they will be attacked when they go outside, afraid of “shoot ‘em ups” and violence. A well known American internist and a growing body of medical specialist say, 90% of the chronic patients they treat illnesses started not with a cough or cold but with fear. Fear of losing a job, of old age, of money troubles, or of being exposed. Sometimes the fear is nothing more than a superficial anxiety; sometimes it is so deep seated that the patient himself denies its existence. Sooner or later these fears manifest themselves as “a clinical symptom.” The patient begins a series of rounds, doctor to doctor, taking injections, hormones, tranquilizers and tonics in search of for relief.