I told you yesterday I wanted to do something a little different this week. I wanted to basically preach the message on Sunday and then do a Bible study this week using different scriptures in Psalms that reinforce the conversation we are in. So if you have your Bible with you that would be great, if you use the Bible app that’s fine too, maybe grab a pen and some paper so we can really dive into the Bible together this week!
If you remember we are talking about overcoming fear yesterday and I wanted you to understand that when you are fearful you can immediately dismiss any advice that tells you to not be afraid. So when it comes to fear we need to tear away all the excuses. This isn’t a personality thing, it isn’t about your circumstances, or your level of intelligence, or even the talents and abilities that God has given you. We all can overcome fear and live with strength, and peace in our lives. I wanted you to begin to really personalize this thought process and get to a place where you can identify what you turn to when you are afraid, because we all turn to something. The key to overcoming fear is found in turning to God. This is found all through Scripture and is how all these amazing men and women of Scripture could live in peace and strength even in the middle of so many intense and intimidating moments of their lives. We looked at Jesus telling us to seek God first, remember He said when you are struggling come to me! We saw men like Paul who just seemed unphased regardless of what life threw at them (and we read that life threw a lot at him) telling us no matter how tough it is, you take it all to God and we really landed the plane looking at David. Who has faced so many fears from fighting lions, to standing before Giants, to running Kingdoms, and fighting battle upon battle…and we saw in one of his most intense moments where he suffered a big loss and his family has been captured, that David shows us how to overcome fear.
1 Samuel 30:7 But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God. ESV
The key to overcoming fear is surrendering your life to God. It’s seeking God first. It’s coming to Jesus to find peace. It’s taking all of our stress and worry to him as Paul encouraged us to do. It’s going to God who is love who casts out all fear. It’s exactly why David could press on in the face of this terrible moment…because David strengthened himself in the Lord.
So overcoming fear isn’t about David’s personality. It isn’t his circumstances. It isn’t his IQ score. He can overcome fear because of what he turns to when he is afraid.
My hope was that you spent the day and are continuing to reflect on what it truly means to strengthen yourself in the Lord…because the key to overcoming fear is turning to God and I wanted you to be able see that, feel that, and hopefully apply that to your own life. Now over the course of this week we are going to look at different Psalms that David wrote and just read, reflect, and see how a man after God’s own heart, who strengthened himself in the Lord was able to overcome fear in His life…so that we can learn from him and do the same. For me I have really been drawn to the Psalms lately, and I’m noticing that when things feel like they are kind of crashing in around me, the Psalms are a great place to go for strength…and today we will start with this study with a popular one, this is Psalms 23…A David Psalm.
Psalms 23 The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, 3 he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. 4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. 6 Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. NIV
So the first thing I would like you to do is work through this Scripture slowly, open your Bible, read through it, and circle or highlight every reference to God you see in these six verses. Think through that. Now I would like to ask you three questions about this Psalm, so again today take the time to reflect on this Psalm and write or reflect intentionally on this Psalm and these questions.
- What stands out to you as we read this Psalm?
- What is your favorite verse in Psalm 23?
- How can David find peace, and a restored soul with danger and intensity all around him? How can you?
- What can you take from this passage as you walk through fear and difficulty in your own life?
Before you move on from this moment, take some time and pray, talk to your Heavenly Father about what it looks like to turn to God, and to find strength in Him.
For me what I like to do is take the verse that hits my heart the most and write it down or make a cool image of it in the Bible App and then I continue to reflect on it through the day. It’s important to remember these Psalms are a glimpse into David’s heart and his relationship with God. He lived a surrendered life, not a perfect life, and we know he is a man who strengthened himself in the Lord. We want to be people who strengthen ourselves in the Lord, people who turn to God in the difficult and anxious moments of our lives. I would really like to encourage you to continue to reflect on this idea throughout your day. What does it look like to strengthen yourself in the Lord? When you look at your own life what is it that you turn to in the challenging moments when you feel fear? Identify it, because you are turning to something and if it isn’t God who is that perfect love that drives out fear…you will not overcome fear.