What are you afraid of? No one is a stranger to fear. Some people are ruled by it. So much so that psychiatry began to name overwhelming fear phobia. If you have ablutophobia you are afraid of bathing; gephyrophobia: you’re afraid of bridges. A recently added phobia is nomophobia (I’m not making this up).It’s the fear of being out of cell phone contact. And to top off the list of phobias is phobophobia: the fear of phobias.
The root idea of fear is respect or regard. Proper fear is respecting or regarding someone or something appropriately or according to its nature.. Improper fear is either inordinate respect or regard for someone or something or a lack of proper respect or regard. So it is right to be filled with a fear towards God. To be filled with the fear that you will lose cell phone coverage is irrational.
If you struggle with overwheming fear, then Psalm 56 was written for you. As you read it, you will want to know:
“Can the gospel enable me to face fear with courage?”
“Can the gospel bring inflated fear back into proper proportion?”
Have hope. In Psalm 56, the God of grace delivers David from fear to praise.
David had a good case for his fear. Saul wanted to kill David and David was forced to live like a fugitive (1 Sam. 18:10-11, 21, 19:2, 9-10, 11-12, 20:24-31). How afraid of Saul was David? He fled to Gath, the hometown of his most notable conquest, Goliath! So, David shows up at the city gates of Gath, a mighty commander of the hosts of Israel who has “killed his ten thousands” of the Philistines, and this is safer than running from Saul? Constantly pressed between threats, David struggled with a fear of man, a fear of Saul, a fear of Achish, king of Gath. That fear threatened to take over his life.
What are you afraid people will do to you? Reject you? Make fun of you? Be better than you? Take advantage of you? Abuse or hurt you? Dominate you? Criticize you? Misunderstand you? Deceive you?
How did David overcome overwhelming fear?
- He Acknowledged his fear. “When I am afraid…”
- He put His trust in God. “I will put my trust in You ” Trust ties us to the hope of God. It’s like the rappellers rope fixed secure at the top of the cliff, we hang on, overcoming fear, and ultimately begin to have fun. There is irrational fear, and there is an irrational faith or trust. Some thinkers say that faith is a “leap in the dark”, but the faith of David, the trust he exercised was not irrational. It was a faith defined by God’s word – “in God, whose word I praise”.
- David acknowledges his God –v.8 “In God, I have put my trust” Most fear circles around losing that which is precious to us, but when you and I place all that is precious to us into the hand of God, the God we know, the God who has told us who He is in His word, then we can rest in that security and say, “I shall not be afraid.What can man do to me? ” Whatever is in God’s hands cannot be assailed by man.
- Finally David called upon God – (v. 9), saying “I know God is for me” – Romans 8:31 and following assures those who have faith that God is for them. “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how will He not with Him freely give us all things…If God is for us, who can be against us.”
Christ has made Himself our safe place through the cross: “who can bring a charge against God’s elect? It is Christ who died!” Christ’s death is the fulfillment of God’s own covenant vows toward sinners like us. In verse 12 David writes – “your vows are upon me.” Those vows were made long ago. In Genesis 15 the Lord-Savior of His people promised to fulfill the covenant with His own blood, taking the consequences of our disloyalty and sin. Even as He went to the cross, not once was Jesus ever afraid because He trusted His Father perfectly. Therefore, His gift-life to us is a gift-life of courage. His sovereign faithfulness assures us that He is FOR US, therefore we will not fear. What can mere man do to us?
The bravery of Jesus defeats all our runaway fears. Admit your fear. Entrust everything to the faithful God and call upon Him and you will no longer walk in the darkness (of fear) but shall have the light of life!