No Fear (Psa. 27)
Who do you fear? What do you fear? We all probably fear something and it seems to me, after scanning over the worst fears that humans have is that many of them boil down to the fear of death. Fear of heights, fear of enclosed places, fear of snakes or spiders, fear of flying – it all has to do with fear of death.
Just as Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 that God comforts us in our afflictions so that we may, in turn, comfort others in their afflictions, so we find in Psalm 27 that David encourages us in our fears as he has also feared and God encouraged him. Let us examine this psalm.
“Confidence wins out over trouble” (Brueggeman, 152). The thoughts and sentiments of this psalm are very similar to that of Psalm 23. “David teaches us that when we know the Lord and trust Him, He helps us overcome the fears that can paralyze our lives” (Wiersbe, 107).
I like the sentiments expressed by Weiser (246): “We are here confronted not with the exuberant strength of a courage characteristic of an untroubled and lighthearted young man, who treats with indifference the seriousness of a dangerous situation, but with the strength of a mature man which is grounded in faith and has been acquired in the course of many conflicts and has been tested in many battles; such a man reckons with the grim facts of life, but on that account does not only not lose courage but on the contrary ‘lifts up his head’ the more confidently, being inwardly strengthened and fortified by the power of a faith that rejoices in hope.”
DAVID’S FUNDAMENTAL FAITH – vs 1:
Verse 1 - Whom shall I fear? Whom shall I dread?
No one or nothing because God is his “light”, his “salvation” and the “defense of his life.”
This is the first time “light” is used as a metaphor for God (cf. 1 John 1:5).
NO FEAR BEFORE ENEMIES:
Verse 2 – Evildoers wanted to “devour his flesh”
His adversaries and enemies stumbled and fell.
Verse 3 – A host encamped against him
His heart will not fear
When war arises against him
He will be confident.
Remember the fight between Israel and the Philistines in which David defeated Goliath – 1 Samuel 17.
Again, Weiser (247): “What makes him so confident is the power of a valiant faith which conquers every emotion. …his faith gains that inner balance and that confident and stable strength which enables him to make the right decision: he who believes will not run away (Isa. 28:16).”
WHAT IS HIS CONFIDENCE?
Verse 4 – To put it simply – “One thing” – “He is not divided in loyalty or fragmented in priority” (Brueggeman, 153).
To dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of his life
To behold the beauty of the Lord – the “beauty of the Lord” – perhaps joy in worship or life lived in His service or God’s grace experienced in life.
To meditate in His temple
Compare Paul’s words from Philippians 3:12-14.
Verse 5 – In the day of trouble,
He will conceal me in His tabernacle
In the secret place of His tent He will hide me.
He will lift me up on a rock – high above the danger. In Potsdam, NY, we jumped from rock to rock above the water.
Verse 6 – On the rock, my head will be lifted up above my enemies around me.
I will offer in His tent sacrifices with shouts of joy, specifically
I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the Lord.
“The secret of David’s public confidence was his private obedience. …He came away from his times of worship feeling the rock under his feet and seeing above and beyond the enemy to the victory God had prepared” (Wiersbe, 108).
“The confidence of verses 1-6 of course does not eliminate trouble from life, and this deep faith does not cause the speaker to deny reality or to remain mute about it” (Brueggeman, 153). And Weiser (250): “…the things which are regarded as heroic in life are not accomplished on the unsteady ground of man’s own self, but by the conquering of the human ego through faith in God as the only firm foundation of man’s existence.” See Romans 8:31.
Think about the time God spared David’s life from Sheba the son of Bichri through the wisdom of an unnamed woman in the town of Abel Beth-maacah in 2 Samuel 20:13-22.
TO HAVE CONFIDENCE, WORSHIP
There are eight imperatives in verses 7, 9, 11-12.
Verse 7 – “Hear” when I cry
“Be gracious” and
Verse 8 – David recognizes there are expectations of him if he wishes not to fear – God said, “Seek my face” and he said he would.
Verse 9 – “Do not hide your face”
“Do not turn your servant away”
You have been my help;
“Do not abandon me nor forsake me, O God of my salvation.” “Humble is the prayer he gives us here. Powerful and victorious though he was, he cries for pity, for help” (Pennington, 47).
Verse 10 – Even if parents forsake you, God will accept you. “There is beauty and considerable emotional power in the announcement that God’s love transcends the intimacy of parental care (cf. Ps. 103:13; Isa. 49:15)” (Ash & Miller, 107).
“faith and patience always go together” (Wiersbe, 109).
HIS BEHAVIOR WILL REFLECT HIS CONFIDENCE
Verse 11 – “Teach me your way”
“Lead me in a level path”
Because of my foes.
Verse 12 – “Do not deliver me”
False witnesses – who are also violent!
Weiser (253): “Only those who have surrendered their hearts to the will of God in humility and are ready to act according to that will avoid the risk of seeking to make God the servant of their own desires in asking for external help.”
Remember the story of David trapped at Keilah but David escaped; “God did not deliver him into his [Saul’s] hand” (1 Samuel 23:14).
Verse 13 – David would have given in to fear if he had not believed that he would see the goodness of the Lord – even in this life.
Verse 14 – David turns his attention to others – “Wait for the Lord” These are, to use Brueggeman’s term, “imperatives of confidence …addressed to the cohorts of the speaker, to get them to trust the relationship” (154).
“Let your heart take courage”
“Yes, indeed, wait for the Lord.”
Take home message: God is constantly by your side; do not fear.