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Psalm 56 - Worshipping When I am Afraid

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- WE have a man of God … as he faces his fear
Here is a believer who responds to terror of real opposition and hatred and finds from God a courage that leads to godly thanksgiving and a determination to obey.

Kirkpatrick summarizes it this way: “The danger is imminent; fear is inevitable, but faith is victorious over fear.”

Voice of Fear - vv:1-2; 5-6
Voice of Faith - vv:3-4


composed at low point in David’s life … the Philistines had him
David had killed Goliath -
Fame rose like a meteor
So did King Saul’s envy of David
David forced to Flee
First he seeks refuge and help from the priests of Nob
They gave him:
Bread and
The Sword of Goliath
But these priests were not able to protect David
When Saul heard of their help to David He ruthlessly had them put to death
Desperate and Panicked … david flees Israel and goes to Philistia … Home of one of Israel’s chief Enemies
The Philistines …
Perhaps he thought … maybe they will welcome a fugitive of Saul
David arrived in Gath … Not the best place for his flight to land …
Gath was one of the chief of the Philistine cities
Gath was also the hometown of Goliath
David shows up in Gath …
His reputation proceeded him
To add insult to injury David had Goliath’s sword
They didn't embrace him …
They thought He was crazy for showing up in Gath
They went to their king … Achish
1 Samuel 21:11 ESV
And the servants of Achish said to him, “Is not this David the king of the land? Did they not sing to one another of him in dances, ‘Saul has struck down his thousands, and David his ten thousands’?”
Ten thousands = Philistines
The text is Clear … as to David’s reaction
1 Samuel 21:12 ESV
And David took these words to heart and was much afraid of Achish the king of Gath.
1 Sa 21:12
I can imagine David thinking … I must have been crazy
Then He devised a PLan … “I’ll act Crazy”
1 Samuel 21:13 ESV
So he changed his behavior before them and pretended to be insane in their hands and made marks on the doors of the gate and let his spittle run down his beard.
The Philistines were very superstitious and believed that anyone who killed or held a madman would be cursed … so David’s ruse worked … it saved his life … but not his dignity
Embarrassing moment in a Bible Hero’s life … the lengths he went in fear of people
We have no record of David praying during this time from Nob to Gath
David had let go of God … God had not let go of Him/
1 Samuel 21:14–15 ESV
Then Achish said to his servants, “Behold, you see the man is mad. Why then have you brought him to me? Do I lack madmen, that you have brought this fellow to behave as a madman in my presence? Shall this fellow come into my house?”
1 Sam 21:
david’s notes of thanksgiving:
* Written after captivity in Gath
He still was afraid
Had to return to Saul (Who still wanted him dead)
This time fear drove him to God … not away from Him
Psalm 56:3 ESV
When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.
Does fear and failure drive you to faith?
Sounds like:
1 Peter 1:7 NIV
These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.
Look at the voice of Faith
Psalm 56:4 CSB
In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?
Then again
Psalm 56:10–11 CSB
In God, whose word I praise, in the Lord, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mere humans do to me?
Psalm 56
The key ingredient faith is trust …
Faith is not simply ascending to statements of truth or an idea of God
To trust is to rely on someone
When we trust we are ready to act with confidence
Having an object of Confidence is a defence against fear
David, in faith, see’s God and finds him a source of protection, help and blessing
Therefore He is no longer afraid
Imagine for a moment David writing this Psalm
Pen in Hand
Sword across his knees … Goliath’s sword
Can you imagine him writing … as He thinks back to that victory
Terrified Hebrew Army
Hulking Giant Goliath
And David
1 Samuel 17:43–47 ESV
And the Philistine said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. The Philistine said to David, “Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the air and to the beasts of the field.” Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down and cut off your head. And I will give the dead bodies of the host of the Philistines this day to the birds of the air and to the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, and that all this assembly may know that the Lord saves not with sword and spear. For the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give you into our hand.”
David looked out on the battle field and saw not only Goliath …
He also Saw God Towering above Goliath
He actually came to his senses and realized
Psalm 56:4 ESV
In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me?
This response is the response of faith … This is our response to God even when afraid
What is the difference between this kind of Faith and
Mere FLESHLY bravado
A Number of Years ago JB Phillips wrote a little book entitled “Your God is Too Small.”
Listen to His Comments … ask yourself do they resonate?
“The Problem with many people today is that they have not found a God big enough for modern needs.”
The book describes the way religious people have cultivated little views of God:
They think of God as a:
Nagging Conscience
A Grand but indifferent Old Man
A distant cosmic overseer too busy to worry about us
A Meek mild Jesus who looks on us with a vague distant affection
More of a Statue than God
Like a spiritual Santa
These are little, man made views of God
Far less than the Bible’s view
Perfectly Holy, loving and Good
Isaiah 43:3 ESV
For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. I give Egypt as your ransom, Cush and Seba in exchange for you.
Observation 1
David knew and trusted God who towers above the world and cares for His people
He reasoned … If I trust God … what can flesh (mans power really do to me)
Our Faith is only as strong as it’s object … Object of David’s Faith gave Him assurance … Confidence … even when afraid
When we know God … it puts our opponents in their proper place
Isaiah 40:6–8 ESV
A voice says, “Cry!” And I said, “What shall I cry?” All flesh is grass, and all its beauty is like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades when the breath of the Lord blows on it; surely the people are grass. The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.
David Trusts His God … David’s Faith is GROUNDED
2. David’s Faith in God is Grounded in God’s Word
“In God, whose word I praise … in God I Trust.”
God’s Word: What did David Mean?
Statements Made to David Personally - - Samuel to David - Thru a Prophet
God’s written revelation … The Bible
In David’s day … Probably consisted of the Pentateuch (Gen-DT)
Red Sea Deliverance - Exodus
Confirmed to David … This is a God to Trust
This is how we find courage to Trust God … Through the Sure and Certain Testimony of His Word
This is what a Christian is:
Someone who believes God’s Word
On Its authority Trusts God to be His saviour
It is especially in the Bible’s Promises that we find confidence to Trust in God
There are “shalls” and “wills” in God’s treasury for every condition. About God’s infinite mercy and compassion,—about His readiness to receive all who repent and believe,—about His willingness to forgive, pardon, and absolve the chief of sinners,—about His power to change hearts and alter our corrupt nature,—about the encouragements to pray, and hear the Gospel, and draw near to the throne of grace,—about strength for duty, comfort in trouble, guidance in perplexity, help in sickness, consolation in death, support under bereavement, happiness beyond the grave, reward in glory,—about all these things there is an abundant supply of promises in the Word.
Ryle, J. C. (1889). Holiness: Its Nature, Hindrances, Difficulties and Roots (p. 383). London: William Hunt and Company.
For the Believer the Promises of God find their apex in Jesus Christ:
Look at some of the Promises … in the I Will Statements of Jesus
Matthew 11:28 ESV
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
(Rest for Weary Soul)
John 6:40 ESV
For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”
Confidence for Eternal Life
John 14:18–19 ESV
“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.
John 14
Here we have Hope
Two of the greatest NT statements about Jesus are rooted in
John 8:12 ESV
Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
Psalm 56:13 ESV
For you have delivered my soul from death, yes, my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of life.
Promises Light for our path to eternal Life … You dont need to fumble and stagger towards eternity
You can move forward confidently
Psalm 56:4 ESV
In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me?
Psalm 56:11 ESV
in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me?
see How this is used in NT
Hebrews 13:5–6 ESV
Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”
Here is Christian Claim:
The Faith that Sustained David … even when afraid … can sustain us
IX invites all to trust Him and receive full, complete and secure salvation
He calls sinners and offers forgiveness
To the weak he offers strength
To the Blind he offers sight
To the Spiritually dead … Eternal Life
Whatever the world can do t our bodies …
He will protect our Souls
Wounds inflicted by mortal man
CANNOT touch the eternal treasures stored up for us in Christ
In Deed For the Christian …
Romans 8:28 ESV
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
Here is how Paul Reasoned:
Romans 8:31 ESV
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
Romans 8:30–31 ESV
And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
Psalm 56:11 NIV
in God I trust and am not afraid. What can man do to me?
Romans 8:
Psalm 56
When God is Big:
When Faith Meets Fear … With a God big enough to Save us
WE have Courage
Christian Counsellor Ed Welch has written a book entitled “When People are Big and God is Small”
He argues that this is the way most of us live
Fearing Man instead of God
He lists what people are afraid of:
Emotional or Physical Harm
What you fear controls you
So …
Our Behaviour is dictated by what others do, think or say
Our attitudes are shaped by how we think people perceive us
SO …
What determines our peace and joy is …
How others treat us
The list goes on and on
Teens give in to peer pressure
Adults become people pleasers
If it gets bad enough we are labeled as “Co-dependant”
Page 95 in Welches book - “The first task in escaping the snare of the fear of man is to know that God is awesome and glorious, and not other people.”
IN the Year 1521 Martin Luther was summoned before a tribunal … to answer charges of Heresy … he was called upon to Recant all of His Teaching … Many of us Have heard the words of His Response …
“I stand convicted [convinced] by the Scriptures to which I have appealed, and my conscience is taken captive by God's word, I cannot and will not recant anything, for to act against our conscience is neither safe for us, nor open to us. On this I take my stand. I can do no other. God help me.”
But previous to these immortal statements Luther is quoted in his interchange with Eck …
On this I take my stand. I can do no other. God help me.
“I must walk in the fear of the Lord.”
WE need this kind of courage … even when we are afraid … We will find it where Luther found it … Where david found it
Luther gets attention b/c of the magnitude of what He did
When you dont give into sexual temptation - You demonstrated your Courageous Trust in God in a Perverse society
When you proclaim the gospel in the face of ridicule
When you refuse to cheat, lie, slander, or hate
When You live in accordance to God’s standards and not the World’s
Then God is Praised in Heaven and On Earth.
In God we Trust, I shall not be afraid what man can do to me
If we walk with Integrity before God
Make a difference in this world
It will be with the courage that Comes from Faith of this kind
Closing Observations:
This kind of Trust needs to be exercised and learned through out our lives
Note v:3 Fear
v:3 Faith
v:5 Fear has upper hand
Faith v:10
Tested faith becomes stronger faith
Our Growth in Faith is Strengthened through Communion with God and Prayer - vv:8-9
These vv show how important prayer was to the recovery of David’s faith
Here he is crying on God’s shoulder ---
David is asking for God to capture his tears and hurt
He knows something about God … That His God does care for Him
cant get back on track without Prayer
v:12 - Faith that overcomes fear leads to Thanksgiving
Marks of an active growing faith ...
and Longing to Praise the Lord
Faith that overcomes fear … leads to a RESOLVE to OBEY
365 Days with Calvin 16 February: Deliverance from Fear (Psalm 34:4)

Deliverance from Fear

I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears. Psalm 34:4


David did not look upon his dangers with a calm and untroubled mind, as if at a distance and from some elevated position. He was grievously tormented with innumerable cares and justly spoke of his fear and terror. By saying “fears,” he reveals he was greatly terrified, not by one, but by a variety of distracting troubles.

On one hand, David saw a cruel death awaiting him, while on the other, he may have been filled with the fear that Achish would send him to Saul, since the ungodly are likely to gratify themselves by making sport of the children of God. David had already been betrayed once and might well have concluded that even if he escaped, the hired assassins of Saul might be laying in wait for him on all sides. The hatred Achish had against David for the death of Goliath and the destruction of his army might also have given David reason to fear. Achish might wreak his vengeance upon David. Furthermore, he was so cruel that he likely would not be appeased by subjecting David to an easy death.

We ought to note what David says here about seeking the Lord, who delivered me from all my fears, so that if at any time we are terrified because of the dangers that surround us, we might not be prevented by a lack of courage from calling upon God. Even David, who is known to have surpassed others in heroism and bravery, did not have a heart of iron to repel all fears and alarms but was sometimes greatly disquieted and smitten with fear.

FOR MEDITATION: What fears are you battling today? How can you cast them upon God and leave them with him without becoming indifferent about them?

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