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? Psalm 27:1
Whenever someone is acclaimed as an authority, I always want to know whether the individual knows about the subject through personal experience or is speaking theoretically. When Sir Ernest Shackleton began his quest for the South Pole, one of the few books he took with him on board the Endurance was Robert Scott’s diary. Why? Scott wrote from experience. He died on his way back from the Pole. He knew exactly how fierce and demanding were the temperatures which plunged to as low minus seventy degrees Farenheit.
For centuries men and women have been encouraged by the words written by David in Psalm 23 when he said, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.” Yes, this was written by the same one who as a lad confronted the giant by the name of Goliath and succeeded in killing him, to the praise and acclaim of the people.
Yet was David ever stalked by the dark monster of fear? Did he ever face concern about his health, about being betrayed by others, about evil, and ultimately about being killed? Could he say what he did because he had learned that God was greater than his fears?
I have news for you! What David wrote didn’t come from a best-selling book, written by a pop psychologist who was marketing a theoretical fix for people’s fear. David had been there, staring death in the face, fearing that he might well go to sleep one night and wake up in heaven the following morning. Some of the most comforting passages in the Bible which tell you how to cope with fear were written by this man David.
Psalm 23 was written not by a lad who sat on the hills of Judea watching his father’s sheep, but by someone with experience who had been through the dark valleys and had faced the lion and the bear and had learned that God is greater than that which we fear.
One of the lowest times of David’s life was experienced during the seven years he lived as a fugitive, hunted by the forces of Saul. In despair, David turned to the Philistines, his natural enemy, and on one occasion he feigned insanity to escape. Writing of that dark hour, David said, “I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears” (Psalm 34:4).
During that same period, David was confronted with the Philistines who threatened to take his life, and from the horrible dark hour came Psalm 56, when he wrote, “When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?” (v. 3,4).
Question: What was David’s secret in dealing with fear? It was his simple trust in God. He explained, “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?” (Psalm 27:1). He had learned that God will protect, that God will deliver, that God is greater than his foes, that God can be trusted.
Alexander MacLaren, the British expositor who studied David’s life in depth, wrote, “Only he who can say, ‘The Lord is my strength,” can say, “Of whom shall I be afraid?”
He was right. David’s God can be your God. His source of strength can be your source of strength, and you, like David, can discover that God will deliver you from all your fears as you release them, turn to Him, and trust Him. That’s the ultimate solution to the fear problem.
Resource reading: Psalm 34.