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Psalm 27:1 “The Lord is my light and my salvation– whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life– of whom shall I be afraid?” II Timothy 1:7 “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind.” NKJV Romans 8:15 “For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”” Silent Prayer Psalm 27 is a rich Psalm that can be divided into three parts, all which speak to overcoming fear. In verses 1-6, we see that David didn’t allow fear of his circumstances to overcome and cloud his faith. In verses 7-10, see that David wasn’t going to succumb to a fear of failure because He believed God’s presence with him would always cause him to triumph. Finally, we can see that David wasn’t afraid of the future. I love the opening verse, “The Lord is my light and my salvation– whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life– of whom shall I be afraid?” David had an unshakeable confidence and calmness about life and death because he belonged to the Lord completely. “Whom shall I fear?” Martin Luther said, “One with God is a majority.” When Cromwell was asked why he did not fear anyone, he said, “I have learned that if you fear God, you have no one else to fear.” “The Lord is my stronghold.” Usually we think of a stronghold as something that is negative, something that is unwanted. When something has power over us, we think it is something to shake or be set free from, but David said, I’ve made the Lord my stronghold and because He has a hold of my life, because His grip is on me, because His arms of protection are around me, I don’t have to be afraid of anything or anyone, ever. David Didn’t Fear His Circumstances David didn’t close his eyes to the circumstances around him. He was realistic about the difficulties that come to us sometimes through other people. He knew people would mess with him, try to trip him up and trap him. He knew people would say bad things about him, disappoint him, and be ugly toward him. According to these opening verses, there were people who wanted David dead. Let me just help somebody this morning. Not everyone is going to like you. Not everyone is going to think you’re the greatest thing since sliced bread. Not everyone is going to think highly of your talents or your position. There will be people that you have to deal with from time to time who might have it written in their daytimer that their goal is to make your life miserable. Especially if you’re living for the Lord and you are rubbing shoulders with people who aren’t, don’t be surprised if they don’t want to be your best friend. Accepting that from the start can save us a lot of sleepless nights and gallons of ice cream. J I’m not suggesting that we should walk around with a veneer and act like we don’t care if people want to be our friend or not, I’m simply pointing out that there are some people who never will be your friend no matter what you do or don’t do. It might quite possibly be because they are convicted about their own life and their own inadequacies when they are around you, so they find it easier to try to distance themselves from you or put you down in order to try to avoid dealing with their own stuff. David didn’t let evil people mess with his mind. He was able to maintain God as His stronghold rather than fear as His stronghold by keeping His focus on the Lord. Look at verses 4 and 5: “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, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple. 5 For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle and set me high upon a rock.” David was able to live in confident faith rather than fear because he chose to focus firmly on the face of Jesus. He knew if he kept looking at him, when trouble came knocking at his door, he’d be sheltered. He’d be set high on a rock. David knew that focusing on Jesus would give him a heavenly perspective. It would help him evaluate people’s comments and actions from a heavenly point of view. Remember verse one, “The Lord is my light.” When we focus on the Lord, we get light for the dark circumstances in our lives. So we need not fear because of darkness. We don’t let the circumstances of life, even if they are bad, like cancer bad, or job loss bad, or relationship bad, we don’t let them cause us to fear because we have the light of the Lord to shine on our path and help us through. That gazing on the Lord, that focusing on the Lord at all times is key because we don’t know when our enemy will make a surprise attack. We don’t know what tomorrow brings, but we don’t have to worry or be afraid about those potential circumstances or even be afraid of how our current circumstances will turn out if we are always walking in the light with God. What I’m trying to say is that we don’t have to fear our circumstances if we focus on nurturing our faith. (That’s the gazing on the Lord part.) David was hidden in the tabernacle of God. Psalm 27:5 “For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle.” That’s the Old Testament equivalent of John 15:1-8 where we are told to “abide in Christ.” In the ancient Near East, when a visitor entered a host’s tent, the host became personally responsible for his protection and provision, and the flimsy tent became a fortress. David didn’t fear life’s circumstances because he was inside God’s protection. Spend time as David did, gazing on the beauty of the Lord because the Lord’s beauty isn’t only the glory of God’s character, but also the richness of His goodness and favor to His people. When you spend time focused on God’s presence and His provision and His goodness and His favor, it’s like a protective film or shield covers you from head to toe. You’re aware that there are things in life that are unpleasant or difficult, but you don’t allow them to become your stronghold and strangle the life and joy out of you. David Didn’t Fear Failure-Psalm 27:7-10 tell us that David wasn’t afraid of failure. David’s confidence in the Lord didn’t prevent him from being concerned about himself, for he knew he was a sinner and a man of clay. It’s one thing to behold the Lord in the sanctuary and quite something else to see the enemy approaching on the battlefield. You know what I’m talking about, right? You’re here on Sunday morning, the presence of God is manifested in this place, we’re all praising and worshiping Him and enjoying Him and we feel so empowered, so encouraged, and so invincible. But then Monday morning, we walk into work or school, and there is a big project or a person we have to deal with and it is easy to become instantly overwhelmed and paralyzed by fear. We need to know that we can call on God any time. Yes, God is with us when we meet here for worship, but how much more do we need to know he is with us on the job, with us at school, with us when we are getting ready for a big assignment or test or presentation? What if there was something wrong in David’s life and the Lord abandoned him in the midst of the battle? Let me paraphrase Psalm 27:7, “It’s Monday, God, and I’m not sure I can do what I need to do. I’m calling on you for help.” Verse 8 tells us when David cried out, God answered him in his heart and said, “Seek my face.” Remember in verse 4, David is gazing on the beauty of the Lord, looking Him smack dab in the eye. Now in Psalm 27:8, God tells him to do it again. “Come be with me. Come look at me. Look into my eyes. I want your attention. Look at my face. Seek my face on Monday when the big assignment is staring you down. Turn your attention back on me.” Why seek the Lord’s face? Because when the Lord’s face “shines upon us” (Num. 6:22-27), it means He is pleased with us and will help us; when His face is turned from us, He is displeased (69:16-18; 143:7) with us. David knew that the key to his victory in all things was unbroken fellowship with God. If God was displeased with him, he was risking that God’s presence wouldn’t be with him to keep him from failure. As long as David was seeking God’s face and keeping his heart clean before God, success was sure to come. David didn’t have to fear failure because God would never forsake Him (verse 10). David also did not Fear the Future (vv. 11-14) Maybe David wrote these words after he had won the battle. Maybe now as a wise soldier, he realized that one victory did not guarantee that the enemy would stop attacking. Perhaps the enemy he spoke of in the early verses had retreated and David was now concerned about their return. Look at verse 13, “I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” David didn’t sit around waiting for the other shoe to fall, he didn’t get an ulcer worrying about what might happen and when it might happen, but instead he expressed his confidence in the Lord, that God had good things in store for His future. Do you know anyone who sits around dreaming up the worst possible scenario for any given circumstance? Before they get the phone call with the diagnosis or the verdict or the results of whatever it is, they’ve convinced themselves of the worst. It’s like the salesman, driving on a lonely country road one dark and rainy night, had a flat. He opened the trunk—no lug wrench. The light from a farmhouse could be seen dimly up the road. He set out on foot through the driving rain. Surely the farmer would have a lug wrench he could borrow, he thought. Of course, it was late at night—the farmer would be asleep in his warm, dry bed. Maybe he wouldn’t answer the door. And even if he did, he’d be angry at being awakened in the middle of the night. The salesman, picking his way blindly in the dark, stumbled on. By now his shoes and clothing were soaked. Even if the farmer did answer his knock, he would probably shout something like, “What’s the big idea waking me up at this hour?” This thought made the salesman angry. What right did that farmer have to refuse him the loan of a lug wrench? After all, here he was stranded in the middle of nowhere, soaked to the skin. The farmer was a selfish man—no doubt about that! The salesman finally reached the house and banged loudly on the door. A light went on inside, and a window opened above. A voice called out, “Who is it?” His face white with anger, the salesman called out, “You know darn well who it is. It’s me! And you can keep your blasted lug wrench. I wouldn’t borrow it now if you had the last one on earth!” You see what fear does? It keeps us closed off to possible help. It puts a wall between us and the miracle we need. It’s just the opposite of faith which readies us for the possibility that God can do anything at any moment and keeps us from living in the expectation that he will. Not so with David. He was expecting good things from the Lord at any and every moment. You remember Psalm 23:6, “Surely goodness and mercy WILL follow me all the days of my life.” David just lived believing good things were coming after him and that’s the way he talked. I love Psalm 31:19, “How great is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you.” Hallelujah, not only are good things following us, but God has already stored good things up for us and just when we need them, He’ll get them out of the heavenly hope chest He’s stored them in and give us good things as we need them. It gets even better. Listen to Psalm 52:1 in the NKJV, “The goodness of God endures continually.” It never runs out. Anytime your future seems uncertain you just go to God’s goodness store and what you need to settle your heart and mind will be given to you. When you are convinced that God has only goodness to give you, you don’t have to be afraid of the future. Maybe you don’t have the same freedom from fear and the same confidence David had. Maybe there are some circumstances that you are afraid of. Nurture your faith. Maybe you are afraid of failure. Seek God’s face. Maybe you are afraid of the future. Ask for God’s goodness to be revealed to you. David made a conscious choice to make the Lord his stronghold rather than fear. Two other verses I opened with this morning can also assist us. II Timothy 1:7 “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind.” NKJV Romans 8:15 “For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”” David had a choice and so do you. You can choose faith or you can choose fear. God didn’t give us a spirit of fear. Both verses I just read say so. If he didn’t, then who did? The little pointed head already defeated devil who likes to use fear to keep you paralyzed, isolated, and upset in your stomach. It is Satan who gives people spirits of fear as presents, not God. Listen to me. Fear is unnatural. I’m not talking about a healthy fear of staying out of the middle of the road when cars are zooming by. I’m talking about anxiety, worry, fear of circumstances, fear of failure and fear of the future. That kind of fear isn’t natural. If it was, God would have given it to you. But God didn’t give you a spirit of fear, so it’s not for your benefit to have it. The spirit of fear, the kind of fear these Scriptures speak about is the kind of fear paralyzes us, keeping us from doing things we could or should do. The fear of rejection has hindered people from beginning wonderful relationships. The fear of failure has held many back from beginning wonderful enterprises. This spirit of fear-and it is a spirit according to God’s Word-is what the devil wants to put on you because once he cloaks you in fear, the door is open for him to manipulate your thinking and work in your life. You know what fear is? False Evidence Appearing Real Anytime fear is on you, there is an element of untruth or falsehood that you have chosen to believe. This little demonic trick goes back to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. They were originally walking in the garden and weren’t afraid of anything. Fear came in once they believed Satan’s lie. God had told Adam and Eve there was one tree they weren’t to eat from and that if they did, they would die. Satan basically told Eve, “God is lying. You won’t die.” She believed the lie the enemy told her over God’s Word. God hasn’t given us a spirit of fear. No. He has given us a spirit of POWER, LOVE, and a SOUND MIND. When you are thinking in fear, you can’t move forward in power. Just what Satan wants. When you are thinking in fear, you can’t live in love. Just what Satan wants. When you are thinking in fear, you don’t have a sound mind. Just what Satan wants. Do you see that by believing Satan’s lies and accepting a spirit of fear, you are robbing yourself of three wonderful things God wants to give you: power, love, and a sound mind? Satan’s main lies are that God’s promises aren’t true, won’t work or that He isn’t good. David refused to believe any of those. When you believe God’s Word and claim and confess it, you give God permission to make good on those promises. When you believe Satan’s lies, you empower Satan to have authority over you. Unbelief will give the devil keys to rob you blind. You could argue that at the root of fear is sin because fear is caused by unbelief and unbelief is sin. When we believe God’s Word and live by it, confessing it, believing it, proclaiming it, we are walking in faith. When we reject God’s Word and believe the devil’s lie, we’re walking in fear. The only antidote to fear is to trust God no matter what. No matter what the circumstances are, I’m going to trust You, God. No matter what the outcome of my efforts will be, whether it appears I succeed or I fail, I’m going to trust You, God. No matter what the future holds for me and my family, I’m going to trust You, God. You trust God by trusting His Word. “Faith comes by hearing the Word of God.” Romans 10:17. You know how you need vitamin C to build up your immune system. You need vitamin A to help build up your eyesight and enable you to fight infection. You need vitamin B-I-B-L-E to build up your faith. If you come to me tomorrow and tell me you are living in fear, I’m going to be asking you how much Bible reading you’ve been doing. The Word of God is medicine to build your faith and trust and to nullify fear. Faith connects you to what you believe and to God. Fear connects you to what you fear and to the devil. Like faith, fear is a spiritual connector. It will grow until your heart is dark and full of unbelief. It will literally cut off your harvest from God. Fear robs us of our authority in Christ. Satan tries to inject us with fear so that we won’t operate in the authority Christ has given to us. Matthew 10, 18, 28, Mark 16, and Luke 10 are just some of the Scriptures that tell me I have authority in Jesus’ name to rebuke the devil and any unclean spirit. The reason Satan introduces doubt and creates fear is that it keeps you from the truth of the Word and he knows when you are immersed in the truth of God’s Word that you can whip him and his cohorts in any situation at any time. Don’t let Satan paralyze you with fear. You paralyze Him with the Word of God. Remember David? He said things like, “I know my God is with me.” “I know my God will protect me.” I know my God has good things in store for me.” He spoke the Word of God and it gave Him life. Literally, when he was being pursued and people were trying to kill David, he had life in his mind, life in his spirit, life in his speech. If you keep speaking fear and doubt and doom and gloom, you’ll keep seeing it and getting its results. What you are afraid of is in direct relationship to what you don’t believe. Listen to that again. What you are afraid of is in direction relationship to what you don’t believe. Deal with what you don’t believe and the fear will have to come out. Fear causes you to abort your life mission. Why do you think Timothy was being reminded that ““God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind? Evidently, there was a temptation to listen to some kind of defeating garbage talk from the enemy that would keep young Timothy from preaching the Word as he had been commissioned to do. The spirit of fear from Satan makes us his slaves. It literally causes us to be boxed in. The African impala can jump to a height of over 10 feet and cover a distance of greater than 30 feet. Yet these magnificent creatures can be kept in an enclosure in any zoo with a 3-foot wall. The animals will not jump if they cannot see where their feet will fall. Fear keeps us slaves to Satan because it keeps us focused only on what we can see. We’ll never step out of the box in faith as long as fear keeps us focused on the walls around us. Satan tries to enslave us with fear, but what does the Bible say? “For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”” God has given us the spirit of power, love and a sound mind. Power to work miracles, to confound enemies, to support us in trials and to enable us to do what is right. Love which enables us to hear, believe, hope, and endure all things. A sound mind which means we have good judgment, holy passions, and heavenly tempers so we can think, speak, and act right in all situations. The spirit God has given us is a radical power, a radical love and a radical mind to be and do and live like Jesus, AND HE WAS FEARLESS! We need to be like the 84 year old grandmother who fiercely maintained her independence and lived alone in the old family home. Her 4 children lived in the same town, but she rarely called them except in emergencies. It was with some apprehension, therefore, that one of her sons drove to her house one morning in answer to her phone call. When he arrived she said she suspected that there was a burglar in her bedroom closet, since she had heard noises in there the night before. “Why didn’t you call me last night?” he exclaimed. “Well,” she replied, it was late and I hated to bother you, so I just nailed the closet shut and went to bed.” I think some people here this morning need to nail fear to the wall this morning by making the Lord your stronghold. He’s the One you will choose to believe. He’s the One you will call on in time of trouble. He’s the One you will give your future to. What are you afraid of? Are you afraid thing will change or afraid things will never change? Maybe you’re afraid of the stock market crashing? Are you afraid of your health breaking or for those of you dealing with sickness, afraid it will never get better? Are you afraid of retiring? Are you afraid of being alone? Are you afraid of making wrong decisions? Are you afraid of having to speak in front of a group of people or afraid of what someone thinks of you? Are you afraid of dying? Maybe someone here this morning is afraid of living. Are you afraid you’d go to Hell if you died this moment? For all of those fears, for every fear, there is one answer. Believe the Word of God and put your trust completely in Him, making Him your stronghold, just like David did. For if “The Lord is your light and your salvation—what do you have to fear? Nothing.
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