Finding Confidence in the Midst of Fear Part 2 (Ps. 27:7-14)
Back to Psalm 27. We are going to look at Ps. 27:7-14 today as we wrap this two-part sermon called, “Finding Confidence in the Midst of Fear.” We have been encouraged by David’s struggle to find his confidence in the midst of fear. He seems to go back and forth with being confident and struggling, praying, being confident again and trusting. That is really encouraging to me because it shows that it is a real struggle and ongoing battle to grow in trusting God completely.
We said last week from Ps. 27:1-6 that:
I. When I fear my circumstances, I put my confidence in the Lord.
The reasons why we can do it were several. We have a personal relationship with God, we remember past victories God has won on our behalf, we have God’s presence and God’s promises as well, all available to us.
Now we see David address two more of his fears. First of all in Ps. 27:7-10,
II. When I fear failure, I find my comfort in the Lord (Ps. 27:7-10)
Here we see David back struggling in prayer. He was confident in Ps. 27:6, but only to find himself so needy and desperate again in Ps. 27:7. Blessed are those who die to self-sufficiency and are cracked pots before the Lord!
David seems to be afraid of God rejecting him. Perhaps he is not seeing an answer to prayer. Have you ever felt like that? You feel your prayers are just words hitting the ceiling and coming back down? You wonder if the reason why God is not answering you is because of some failure on your part? In Ps. 27:7, he is saying literally, “hear my voice I call.” A couple of things we can learn about prayer here. First of all it denotes earnestness. See also “be gracious to me and answer me,” (Ps. 27:7), “Hide not your face from me, turn not your servant away in anger,” and “Cast me not off; forsake me not” (Ps. 27:9). This is not a casual prayer.
Remember in John 6, when Jesus had taught something really difficult and a lot of people left him? He looked at his disciples and asked, “Will you also go away?” I love what Peter replies, “Whom else shall we go to? Only you have the words of eternal life” (John 6:68). The idea being, there is no one else to run to. There is no help anywhere else. Nobody else is coming for us. Nobody else has the answers.
Secondly, awareness. He is aware of his need. Prayer flows from an awareness of our need. We often pray so casually before our meals, for example. What if we went to prayer before our meals with the reminder that if God doesn’t provide for us, we will starve! Col. 1:17 says He holds the universe together. One slip up and we would all be in big trouble. How can we dare think we can handle anything on our own?
Look at how David in his struggle in prayer clings on to God’s Word. He says, “YOU SAID…” It is a powerful encouragement when you feel like a failure to quote God’s Word right back at Him. Lord, you said you have removed my sins as far as the east is from the west (Ps. 103:12). Lord, you said to cast my burden upon you and you will sustain me (Ps. 55:22). Perhaps as we are reading through God’s Word, we can highlight the verses that give us His promises. Perhaps you can write a “P” next to it.
Notice what God has asked David to seek: God’s face. The idea of seeking God’s face is to seek His favor. It is the prayer of wanting God’s company and fellowship. God has a longing for us. He wants our company and He does not us to use Him as a cosmic Santa Claus. David could have very well prayed, “You have said, ‘Seek my hand’.” Turn over to Psalm 145:16. It would not be wrong to go to God for His provision. As our Father, He would love for us to come to Him. He doesn’t want us to just seek His hand.
Do you want to hear a prayer that God cannot refuse? Ask for God; or as Paul says, “To know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings” (Phil. 3:10). Here is another keyword on prayer for us: promptness. Look at Ps. 27:8 and David’s response. He felt the Lord prompting his heart and he immediately responds. How slow are my feet sometimes when He is prompting me. How do you know He is prompting you? Here are four prompts of the Lord to seek Him:
1) When you are convicted about sin.
2) When you are at a point of hopelessness.
3) When you are moved in worship or in the Word.
4) When you are encouraged by a brother or sister in Christ.
Why do you think David is all about being in God’s presence when he has so many fears and needs he needs answers to? Because if he gets God, he gets everything he needs! It’s a package deal.
Illus: Indian Christian Missionary Sadhu Sundar Singh says, “For the first two or three years after my conversion, I used to ask for specific things. Now I ask for God. Supposing there is a tree full of fruits — you will have to go and buy or beg the fruits from the owner of the tree. Every day you would have to go for one or two fruits. But if you can make the tree your own property, then all the fruits will be your own. In the same way, if God is your own, then all things in Heaven and on earth will be your own, because He is your Father and is everything to you; otherwise you will have to go and ask like a beggar for certain things. When they are used up, you will have to ask again. So ask not for gifts but for the Giver of Gifts: not for life but for the Giver of Life — then life and the things needed for life will be added unto you.”
Amen! Lord, pour salt in our soul so that we may thirst after you! May the idols of materialism, busyness, entertainment fall down in Jesus name! We saw he was really earnest in Ps. 27:9, but we also see he is aware of his sin as well. He is humble as he calls himself “your servant.” In saying this, he is acknowledging God as his master and again he is recalling God’s past help.
Look now at Ps. 27:10. One of my favorite verses of all time! This verse can be misleading. Is David saying his parents forsook him? There is no indication from David’s story that his parents literally forsook him. To be abandoned by your family is the worst thing that can happen to you in Israel. Your identity was tied to your family name and the land. It was a death experience if they disowned you. But this verse can be translated, “Had my father and my mother forsook me, the Lord will have taken me in” or David is talking about losing them to death. Whatever the case, David feels alone and if God too forsakes him because of his sins, he is totally lost. But he finds comfort in the fact, even if all earthly relationships fail, that God is not just a master to him, but a father as well, who would “take me in.” This phrase has the idea of a father lifting up a child in order to provide for his needs.
Illus: As a parent of a 15 month old runner now, I am pretty much chasing her all the time. She has learned to run away from us. We’ll call her to eat or change her diaper, but as soon as we approach her, off she goes! I’m also always chasing her down to get her to hug me and give me a kiss. Sometimes I offer her a toy or a chance to look at my laptop while she sits on my lap. I don’t like it when I have to use bribery. But my favorite times are when she just lifts up her arms and want to be held. She doesn’t care for any toys or food (although she won’t mind if I had some for her), she just wants to be in my arms.
Well, recently she was sick. When you have a kid who is sick, it is not a pretty sight. At her age, she doesn’t know how to blow her nose and she doesn’t care to blow it either. Anyway, the other day, she was sick, had just eaten something when I came home. I think she was running around out of control and knocked into something and started crying. So there she was: on the floor, crying, already with a running nose and food all over her face. Basically her whole face was leaking. What a time to come home! She looked at me and raised her hands. What a time to be picked up!
So I took one look at her and said, “Girl, go get cleaned up! Wipe your nose and wash your face!” Did I do that? Absolutely not! When you are a father, you don’t mind getting a little dirty to take care of your child. Do you know who else doesn’t mind getting a little dirty? Our Father! Will He dare pick us up in our failure? Will He dare touch us because of our uncleanness? You bet He will! Reach your arms out to Him today! He does not want you to get cleaned up and come to Him. He will take you just as you are.
David found comfort from God as his father when he feared failure. Lastly,
III. When I fear my future, I give my control to the Lord (Ps. 27:11-14).
Having found God to be his Father, David then asks for guidance and for God to be his GPS system. He wants God to go ahead of him. We are not sure if he has won the battle and found victory and now is praying for the future. Notice the words, “level path” in Ps. 27:11. The idea is a firm and secure way, clear of obstacles and traps. The reason is he anticipates enemies lurking around every corner.
We always want God to show us the mile ahead of us right? But His Word tells us that He orders “our steps” (Ps. 119:133). He makes you walk one step at a time, because he is teaching you to walk by faith. Flip back to Ps. 23:3. One of the most popular psalms of all-time, David sees Yahweh as His Shepherd in Psalm 23. Here David talks about “paths of righteousness.” The word “paths” here allude to “well worn roads.” In other words, the shepherd is not taking his sheep where he has not gone already. He has worn out the roads from traveling on them so much!
Back to Psalm 27:12. David is afraid of his enemies wanting to take advantage of him. He is afraid of walking boldly in the road ahead and needs God’s guidance and companionship. Are we like that? Are we afraid of walking boldly in the road ahead of us because we don’t know what the future will bring us?
We have one who will lead us, guide us and also walk with us.
But my problem is that I think I can shepherd my own life. I think I have it under control. I was thinking about when I was 13. I thought I understood the world and my parents didn’t. Then I when I was 16 and started to drive, I thought I was so dumb at 13, but now I am the man. Then I went to college and thought how immature I was at 16, but once I get this degree, you don’t want to mess with me, because now I am the man! Then in college, I thought I could handle a relationship (though I had no money or job) and didn’t listen to any advice and I thought I knew what I was doing. Bad mistake. Then I got married and thought, now I know what I’m doing. I’m going to settle down. I understand everything. Wrong. Then I had a child and thought now I am father, I should have things under control now.
Lesson: I don’t know anything. Sure I grew up over the years about a lot of things regarding life, but one lesson I keep learning is that I am made of clay. I am just a sheep. I cannot control my own life. I cannot control my health future. I cannot control my family future. I cannot control my financial future. I cannot control my church future. I want to do my best in all those areas, but it is too much for me to handle and try to control on my own. I want to slowly get to the place where I can say by faith, “My best is enough and all I can do.”
Well how will David know God will not leave him by the wayside or let his enemies take him away? Look at Ps. 27:13. It is because God is good. Do you know this is pretty much the underlying question that people have with every question that usually starts with “Why does God…?” Their real question is, “Is God good?” This is the number one lie of the enemy.
We have been in Genesis as a church in our reading plan. Let’s go to Genesis 3:1-5. Notice Satan’s first question, “Did God really say…” He wants Eve not to trust God’s Word. Notice Eve messes up what God had said. God had never told her that she may not “touch” it. Look at Gen. 3:4. He totally lies to her. In Gen. 3:5, we see his agenda. He says in essence to her, God is not good. He is withholding something from you. He does not have your best interest mind. He is not good. They fall into the trap and here we are today.
Do you remember Jesus talking on prayer? He says this in Luke 11:11-13: “Which father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” I think what our Lord is saying here is that, “I will never give you anything that will hurt you. I am good. I will give the best!”
David has to trust God that God will provide His resources. Do we believe that? Not only trust that God will provide His resources, but also to trust God’s timing for those resources. Look at Ps. 27:14. He is encouraging himself and all those around to wait for God’s timing. He does not know what the future holds, but that God holds his future. There are battles ahead, enemies in the bushes, traps along the way, but David is not going to rush ahead, but wait on Yawheh and not let fear engulf him, but courage to fill his heart to keep going.
Have you been grabbing the steering wheel of your life from the Lord? It is a daily struggle, but the more exercise surrender, the stronger we will find Him to be.
John Ortberg in his book, “If you want to walk on water, you have got to get out of the boat” writes a parable on courage:
A two-year old stands by the side of a pool. “Jump!” her father says, with open arms. “Don’t be afraid. You can trust me. I won’t let you fall. Jump!”
She is, in that moment, a bundle of inner conflict. On the one hand, everything inside her is screaming to stay put. The water is deep, cold, and dangerous. She has never done this before. She can’t swim. What if something were to go wrong? Bad things could happen. After all, it is her little body at stake here.
On the other hand, that is her daddy in the water. He is bigger and stronger than she is and has been relatively trustworthy up to this point for the past two years. He seems to be quite confident about the outcome.
The battle is between fear and trust.
Trust says, “Jump!”
Fear says, “No!”
She cannot stand on the side of the pool forever. Eventually she comes to the moment of decision. She is more than just her fears—or her confidence, for that matter. Inside is a tiny spark of will, and with that little spark she determines her destiny. She will jump, or she will back away.
Whichever way this little girl chooses will lead to significant consequences.
If she chooses to jump, she will become a little more confident of her father’s ability to catch her. She will become more likely to take the leap next time. The water will hold less terror for her. Ultimately, she will come to see herself as the kind of person who will not be held back by fear.
On the other hand, if she decides not to jump, that will also have consequences. She will lose the opportunity to discover that her father can be trusted. She will be a little more inclined toward safety next time. She will perceive herself as the kind of person who does not respond bravely to challenges. She will work harder to make sure she avoids being faced with decisions involving fear in the future.
Today take a moment and ask the Lord to help you trust Him more completely this year than ever before. Be honest before Him. Raise your hands to Him and allow Him to comfort you, to assure you that He will lead the way. Ask the Lord to help you jump into His arms and to find out how strong those arms really are.
 Ortberg, John. If you want to walk on water, then you’ve got to step out of the boat. Grand Rapids: Zondervan,118-119.