Sermons & Sunday Schools

Faith As a Shield

In this sermon, Pastor Babij preaches from Psalm 27 how those who know the true God can face the many fears of life with faith as a shield. Pastor Babij shows from the text how the Psalmist David dealt with his fears and ultimately triumphed with gladness in the Lord

Full Transcript:

Today we’e going to turn to Psalm 27 which we read today. I’m still waiting to get back into 2 Peter and I’ll continue where I left off before all this took place.

But today we’re going to be in Psalm 27. And if you’ve ever read through the Psalms you’ll realize that David and the psalmists relate life in a realistic way. You can read the psalms and feel the same way. He gives also a perspective on who God is and explains how to relate to life in light of the character of God. So that’s what we see in many of the psalms.

This psalm in particular is about fear. Have you ever been haunted by fear? If you haven’t yet, you will. The reason I can say that is because we all live in the land of the living. That’s how David sets this up. If you look at Psalm 27:13, it says:

I ;would have despaired ;unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.

That’s how he ends the psalm in the last couple of verses. So this land that we live in has many fears along the pathway. Sometimes fear can grip us so tightly that we may sense that we cannot even go on. I also have heard of a fear that is so horrible that it almost completely cripples a person from functioning normally in society. Fear has the power to enslave for long periods of time. If we don’t have a right perspective, then fear can keep us in a place where we feel like we’re locked in and can’t get out.

Before I go on, let’s have a word of prayer. Father, as we look in Your Word, we do see what it says in the Word of God. Help us, Lord Jesus, to be able to see through the lens of Scripture our own lives so that we are not put in a place where we are captured by and kept as a slave to fear. I pray that You would free us from it so that we would learn to live by faith and learn how to live with You in sight, understanding who You are and what You have done for Your children and what You’re going to do. I pray, Lord, that we would live in that way and not in any way to be captured and kept by fear. I pray this in Christ’s Name, Amen.

Now there’s all kinds of fears that people have, like darkness, heights, which is acrophobia. They also have a fear of failure and aviophobia which is a fear of flying. Some people have dent-phobia which is a fear of dentists, I think I have that. So the list of fears is really long, there are 15 pages of them single spaced! Some people have politicophobia, which is an abnormal fear of politicians.

There’s also bibliophobia, which is a fear of books. There’s also ergophobia, which is a fear of work, gnosiophobia which is the fear of knowledge, and of course there’s ablutophobia, which is the fear of bathing. I think some kids have that. There’s a fear of sinning, which is actually a good thing to have.

Fear is healthy, there are positive and negative effects. There’s the fear of God, which is the greatest we can have. God brings us to a proper knowledge of ourselves and what God has done and what He wants us to do. I’m coining a new one today: COVID19-phobia, the fear of catching the coronavirus and any virus for that matter.

Fear has caused us to shut down a nation and an economy for three months plus, it has sequestered people inside their homes for three months plus, it has caused us to wear masks and use hand sanitizers, install hand-free door openers, build plexiglass walls to prevent human aerosol from spreading too far, and of course we’ve implemented social distancing.

Now have these fears gone to great lengths and can they be justified? Some may say yes, the medical professionals, and some will say no, the economists, who say we should get back to work. Fear is a good thing but it can be taken too far for many different reasons. I believe I can say with much proof supporting me that human beings are creatures that can be diagnosed with pollyphobia, the fear of many things.

One of the most famous quotes on fear was given by Franklin Delano Roosevelt in his inaugural address on April 4th, 1933 when we were plunged in the Second World War. He said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself. Nameless unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”

So it’s saying there that we should take the fear we all have in going to war not knowing what’s going to take place and not run from it but advance towards it and defeat it. So the underlying theme in this passage is fear and we all know that fear can have a real crippling effect in our lives. David helps by giving us insight into how to deal with far. David could have become a slave to fear but he did not cave in under its debilitating power.

The Scripture gives us very important pointers on how to look at life. We can look at it in two different ways. We can look at life just as we see it with our eyes and also we can look at it as it appears through the eyes of faith. But faith must have an object and the object of David’s faith is the presence and goodness of God. In fact David was more afraid that he would lose the sense of God’s presence while occupying space in the land of the living than he was about anything else and we should feel the same way. David was a mighty warrior but he was also a realist. It doesn’t paint a rose-colored picture of life, but it does paint a picture of life filled with situations that have the potential to create great fear.

Now let’s look at some of the potential fears that David had to overcome because they really mimic many of the same fears that can be manifest in our own lives. So today we’re going to look at the fears, faith, and the triumph that David has. The first thing is in Psalm 27:2, which says:

When evildoers came upon me to devour my flesh, my adversaries and my enemies, they stumbled and fell.

The first thing we’re looking at is that the land of the living is a place of vulnerability and weakness. Here is an image of a pack of wild beasts coming with one intention in mind: to hunt, kill, and eat. So the forces of evil come to threaten his very life and David the mighty warrior felt vulnerable and weak. It was the feeling of being pursued by a pack of hungry dogs. When people such as these were pursuing David to take his life, we read through 1 & 2 Samuel and 1 & 2 Kings and we see what’s going on. And we see it too in the Psalms.

For example in 1 Samuel 23:26-28 says:

Saul went on one side of the mountain, and David and his men on the other side of the mountain; and David was hurrying to get away from Saul, for Saul and his men were surrounding David and his men to seize them. But a messenger came to Saul, saying, “Hurry and come, for the Philistines have made a raid on the land.” So Saul returned from pursuing David and went to meet the Philistines; therefore they called that place the Rock of Escape.

Now David didn’t escape but God made a way of escape as he trusted in Him. So David went from there and stayed in the strongholds of Engedi and when he got there it says in 1 Samuel 24:1-2:

Now when Saul returned from pursuing the Philistines, he was told, saying, “Behold, David is in the wilderness of Engedi.” ;Then Saul took three thousand chosen men from all Israel and went to seek David and his men in front of the Rocks of the Wild Goats.

David constantly feels this pressure of being pursued by an enemy bigger and greater than him. This was even though he was a mighty warrior and knew how to use his weapons and how to use the tools God gave him. But he lived in the land of the living and there you always have vulnerabilities and weaknesses no matter how strong you are. Secondly it says in Psalm 27:3:

Though a host encamp against me, my heart will not fear; though war arise against me, in ;spite of ;this I shall be confident.

Now a whole army comes against me and there’s a sense that within the fabric of human society something has gone wrong because people are not living in unity but rather in fear. If you’re honest with the facts, you must admit that war is raging in every man’s heart. It always has been since man’s rebellion against God and his fall into sin. Society is poisoned with a malady of war in the heart and even though society tries to correct man’s aggression by reform and teaching, war still rages over the whole planet.

It’s been really clear this week in the news where you have a group of anarchists taking over a whole section of a city and no one’s doing anything about it. Something’s gone wrong and it’s right before our eyes. It says in James 4:1-2:

What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members? ;You lust and do not have; ;so ;you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; ;so ;you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask.

It’s not just asking for prayer, but it is depending on God for your life and not going with the dictates of your own sinful heart because war is in our hearts. Thirdly, in Psalm 27:5, the land of the living is also a place of mysterious, dark trouble. Notice what it says:

For in the day of trouble He will conceal me in His tabernacle.

Isn’t there enough trouble in life sufficient to keep us overburdened with worry and fear? It is the gospel of Matthew that says do not worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own! Don’t you find that each day you walk out the door to go to work and all of a sudden you are presented with a problem you never expected. It could be a family, work, healthy, or societal problem!

If we’re living in the realm of that, we’re going be worrying all the time. The righteous man Job was very familiar with trouble in the land of the living and he wrote this in Job 5:6-7:

For affliction does not come from the dust, nor does trouble sprout from the ground, for man is born for trouble, as sparks fly upward.

Wherever we go, trouble will be there in some form or another because we live in a sinful world with sinful people and we are sinners ourselves. Then in Psalm 27:10, it says:

For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the Lord will take me up.

Now there’s no evidence that David’s father and mother forsook him. So what he’s probably saying here is that he lost his father and mother to death. Isn’t death the greatest leveler in our lifetime? It’s the most confusing thing that you could ever try to think about and wrap your mind around. We know people die because of sin but we still know it doesn’t belong here. It’s an enemy in the land of the living and shouldn’t be here.

One of the worst things is when you’re forsaken by the people closest to you and they get taken away in death. Especially your father and mother who were there for your stability and support in many ways. Death is always a disappointment but in the land of the living, we’re always going to be disappointed because death is here.

One of the last things he mentions in Psalm 27:13 is that the land of the living is a place of despair. Now it says in the NASB:

I ;would have despaired ;unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.

The land of the living is a place of fear and a place where you faint. Fear will permanently lock us in despair, that’s why so many people are depressed today and taking antidepressants. People who are in despair are beaten down and crushed by life. They have many fears and they don’t know what to do with them.

This should be different for believers because David has come to the place where he tells them about his faith. Faith sees behind and around corners where your eyes cannot. We trust in a God who is living and involved in our lives. David talks about his faith. He chose to look at life through the eyes of faith and deliberately live his life by faith.

This really shows us that hew as able to triumph over fear. If we want to triumph over fear, no matter what form it takes, we must take to heart the example David has of dealing with fear because fear unchecked will cause us to dread life. He became fearless when his confidence was in the Lord. All fears of life could cause us to lose heart and faint. The eyes of faith sees what faithlessness cannot see. It sees the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Faith is a shield against fear.

Here in this passage he actually brings up three. The first one appears in Psalm 27:1-3 which shows David has confidence in the Lord that kept him from being a slave to any fear. He held a three-fold shield of faith to deflect the missiles that would attack him. Now this is very similar to what the New Testament refers to as the shield of faith which is that piece of armor the soldier takes up to stand against the wiles of the devil. It says in Ephesians 6:16:

In addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.

So the devil is really trying to shake you and catch you off guard so that every now and then these attacks are in the form of setbacks, difficulties, discord, and fiery temptations and fear. Faith always points to the character of God that He is truthful, unchanging, all powerful, ever present. He is the God who is able and willing to work on behalf of His children. He loves His children and is for them and interested in them. So this is what the shield of faith looks like for David and it’s very similar in the New Testament.

He mentions his confidence in three different ways. In Psalm 27:1 it says:

The Lord ;is my light and my salvation.

Who was David’s eyes resting upon in the midst of this mysterious and dark trouble? They were on the Lord! You’ll notice it doesn’t say that the Lord gives His light but is light. So the light that David receives is the light that comes from God and illuminates everything around him. But notice what it says also in Psalm 27:1:

Whom shall I fear?

If God is the one illuminating things and is there in the time of trouble, then who should he fear? No one! God is greater than all other things so there is nothing to fear. Notice what it says then in Psalm 27:5:

For in the day of trouble He will conceal me in His tabernacle; in the secret place of His tent He will hide me; He will lift me up on a rock.

There is a German proverb that says, “Fear makes the wolf bigger than he is.” Well when God is our confidence, He will place us out of the reach of our enemies and make us appear bigger than all our fearful enemies. In other words God sends the wolf running away in fear of us because God is our light.

A second thing he says is that God is his salvation. David’s eyes were upon the Lord in the midst of unavoidable, sinful aggression. Notice what it says again in Psalm 27:1:

The Lord ;is my light and my salvation. Whom shall I fear?

Psalm 27:3 says:

Though a host encamp against me, my heart will not fear; though war arise against me, in spite of ;this I shall be confident.

That word confident there means to cause to trust or to actually even to trust with the sense of safety. The word confidence in our English language comes from the Latin con, which means with, and fides, which means faith. Self confidence is really faith in ourselves. Now that can carry us a long way but eventually it runs into something bigger than us. When you put your confidence in God, there is nothing that can come against you that can be bigger, stronger, or more reliable than He.

Remember the Israelite army confidently took on the Philistines until they brought out their hero, Goliath. He was over nine feet tall and trained as a soldier from his youth. At that point, their confidence dissolved and they were cringing in their trenches. When this little teenager came around named David, he couldn’t understand why they were afraid of Goliath. They said because he was so big and ferocious. David must have said if he’s so big, I can’t possibly miss him.

David didn’t come at Goliath because he was confident in himself. Actually it says in 1 Samuel 17:45:

Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, a spear, and 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 taunted.”

David then takes his stone out and flings it at the Giant and it lands in the center of his head and he falls down dead which David then goes to cut his head off. This is what happens when you trust God. But when you’re afraid, you’re like the Israelite army who recoils because they don’t want to fight if they think they’re going to lose.

So he says to us here that the eye of faith realizes that the Lord is the light and salvation. Notice back in Psalm 27:1 it also says that the Lord is protection:

The Lord ;is the defense of my life; whom shall I dread?

Who was his eyes upon in the place of vulnerability, weakness, disappointment, and despair? There were upon the Lord who was his defense. He didn’t have to dread life because the Lord is the intangible barrier against the pursuer even when the condition of life may be friendless or helpless as a child deserted by his parents in death. There is one who watches over us and takes us to its protecting side and that is the great God and Savior.

Psalm 27:2 says:

When evildoers came upon me to devour my flesh, my adversaries and my enemies, they stumbled and fell.

God caused their feet to slip out from underneath them and they fell down. When David came against armies that were greater and mightier than he, God was his defense and warrior. So believers, remember this that we have a new protection also. For the believer’s safety is no longer an issue for those who know Christ. 1 John 5:18:

We know that no one who is born of God sins; but He who was born of God keeps him, and the evil one does not touch him.

Jesus keeps us! We do not keep ourselves in the sense that our confidence does not lie in our own abilities to keep ourselves saved. A person’s confidence does not keep them from the power of sin or from the harm Satan wants to inflict upon him. The source of your spiritual birth is God alone. It is Him who has a hold on you. The responsibility to keep you safe and secure rests on Christ alone. Jesus keeps all those safe whom God the Father has given Him to hold onto.

We read in John about Jesus praying to the Father to keep His disciples safe by protecting them from the devil where it says in John 17:15:

I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one.

It is the Lord who has taken care of things for us and as we live by faith we come to realize that. Satan wants to inflict harm upon you, for example he will lead you into false teaching so that you are led astray from the truth. The evil one wants to rob you from your joy and lead you into doubt and cause you to lose your assurance. This truth that keeps you will make you confident to stand in the keeping power of the the Lord. Put the whole armor of God on that you don’t fall but stand firm in Christ.

You are His and He keeps you from falling completely away even though you may fall at times. You may stumble at times but you will get up and back into the world and growing in Christ likeness. So our spiritual enemy can certainly try to overcome us because he is strong. But ultimately he cannot because Christ keeps us and we have confidence in who the Lord is in His character. It is in His dealings with His children in the land of the living as a shield against fear.

A second thing is having pleasure in the Lord which leads naturally from having confidence in Him. If you trust Him then you will also want a relationships with Him and have pleasure in Him. So here Scripture is giving us a single mindedness of David when his eyes are upon the Lord. Pleasure is seen in David’s one single-minded desire to seek the one goal in his life. His goal wasn’t necessarily to defeat his enemies all the time but to see God become the most supreme person in his life. God is the one true object of his desire and ambition. It is in this focus that triumphs over life and fear is experience.

Let’s look at Psalm 27:4 which is one basic thing:

One thing I have asked from the Lord, that I shall seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord ;all the days of my life.

Can we minimize our lives down to one goal? If David can then we can also. The whole point is that we need to get to the place where we are looking at the Lord in a way where that is our desire. The term seek means to find not just wander and never find anything. This verse can be translated as utterly seeking the face of God.

It is saying that this is the utmost gold in life: simply dwelling in the house of the Lord all the days of life. While David is in the land of the living he wants to be where God is. His first reason for wanting this is to behold the beauty of the Lord. The second reason is to mediate or inquire in His temple. David wants to not only have confidence in the Lord but pleasure in Him. The Lord is our defense and confidence. We should want to know more about who He is and to see the loveliness of the Lord in the land of the living where things get ugly and confusing.

Pleasure in the Lord is seeing the Lord’s beauty and the mind to dwell on His presence is all a shield against fear. This leads us to the next thing He brings up in Psalm 27:7-10 which is dependance on the Lord. David gives the prayer of desperation. Look what he says here:

Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice, and be gracious to me and answer me. When You said, ;“Seek My face,” my heart said to You, “Your face, O Lord, I shall seek." Do not hide Your face from me, do not turn Your servant away in anger; You have been my help; do not abandon me nor forsake me, O God of my salvation! For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the Lord ;will take me up.

David not only wants to hear God but he wants the presence of God in prayer. This is what he wants more than anything while he is being pursued by his enemies, hiding in caves while he is on the run. He is actively seeking the Lord. Now this is not a comfortable situation in Scripture where everything is going fine and dandy. This is where things are out of control in life and yet he’s steadfast and focused and has confidence. He knows who the Lord is and he is seeking Him in prayer.

It was Job during a totally different time in history who concluded the same thing about the solution of fear. He says this in Job 5:8-12:

But as for me, I would seek God, and I would place my cause before God; who does great and unsearchable things, wonders without number. He gives rain on the earth and sends water on the fields, so that He sets on high those who are lowly, and those who mourn are lifted to safety. He frustrates the plotting of the shrewd, so that their hands cannot attain success.

In Psalm 27:11-12 it says:

Teach me Your way, O Lord, and lead me in a level path because of my foes. Do not deliver me over to the desire of my adversaries, for false witnesses have risen against me, and such as breathe out violence.

These who are people who lie and manipulate. How do you fight against someone who lies. But he knows in this case that God is the answer. So we see here that confidence in the Lord leads to pleasure which leads to dependence on the Lord. Prayer is about depending on God about everything that’s going on. So dependence on the Lord in prayer and in a teachable spirit and the ways of the Lord is a shield against fear and of course that leads to the conclusion of the whole psalm. This is the triumph, going from the fears of the man to the faith of the man now to the triumph of the man. This is David’s unflinching confidence and pleasure and dependence on the Lord in Psalm 27:13:

I would have despaired ;unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.

He is saying that he would have fallen on his face and checked out if it wasn’t for the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. It’s the same for us every day when we are confronted with problems, issues, and difficulties. We’re confronted with those things in our society, families, and nation. They’re always there because there are fears for every situation and yet we also have the truth of who God is because He is not against us but for us. And if He is for us then who can be against us?

David is saying that he lives most of his life in battle and yet in every situation he saw God’s goodness and hand. In that he saw an answer to prayer and protection. It goes beyond the land of the living to the very presence of God where He dwells in His tabernacle in eternality. It’s the same for us as pilgrims passing through in an unfamiliar land. We are heading home! That gives us confidence because death is not the last thing for a believer. Death is where we go into the presence of God and that gives us hope.

We also have the Word of God which tells us the mind of God! This is more than David had so we should be confident in Him and find pleasure and confidence and dependence on Him. In every situation we should know the goodness of the Lord even in the midst of difficulty. We see God’s goodness, who He is, and what He has done. David concludes with Psalm 27:14:

Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage; yes, wait for the Lord.

Waiting for the Lord doesn’t mean you don’t do anything but rather that you’re growing in knowledge and wisdom and dependence and pleasure of the Lord. You’re growing in confidence in the Lord and it’s not just a stagnant time. If we look at life from a worldly, fleshly perspective we will always be in despair. But if we look at life through the eyes of faith and having our eyes fixed in the confidence of the Lord and His character, we will not be in despair.

We will not stay in despair if we happen to be there for a while. We’ll get out of it because the Lord lifts us up as our strength and refuge. He is the One who rescues us and gives us salvation. He provides the light that illuminates our situation to give us proper knowledge on what to do. I have found in my life that’s exactly what He does. If you live for the Lord that’s exactly what He does and He will never forsake or leave you. He will always be with you even to the end of the world.

See that’s where we have to live. The nation is going to go crazy and people are going to riot. There will be all this mystery and lawlessness working behind the scenes pulling a lot of strings. Today we can see this world and society tottering and becoming unstable. Authority is looked at with disdain and people don’t have structure. There’s ignorance and foolishness at the highest levels of government. We can’t put our confidence there. We can’t even put our confidence in great armies, and the United States has a great one. We have to put our confidence in the Lord because He is taking care of all of it.

You have heard believer say we’re worried about what’s happening in the world. If things don’t change in our country really fast, we’re finished. That may be true but Christians shouldn’t live that way, by the news of the day. We live by faith in God. There was a man named Bulstrode Whitelocke who was preparing to embark as Oliver Cromwell’s envoy to Sweden in 1653. He was feeling anxious about the tumultuous state of his own nation and he wondered how he was going to represent his nation which just came out of a civil war and executed their king, Charles I.

The army and the government were at odds with each other. It was difficult enough figuring out which way the country was headed, let alone representing our country to another country. So the night before his journey, Whitelocke nervously paced about as a trusted servant noticed his employer was unable to sleep and approached him after a while and this exchange took place.

He said, “Sir will you give me leave to ask you a question?” Whitelocke said certainly. “Do you think that God governed the world very well before you came into it?” He responded absolutely. The servant continued, “Sir, do you think He will govern it quite well when you are gone from it?” Whitelocke said certainly. Then the servant said, “So then Sir, I pray you would excuse me but do not you think that you may trust Him to govern it quite as well when you’re living in it?” And the question left Whitelocke speechless because he was so bound up in worry and fear that he wasn’t even thinking right. He headed to bed and soon he was fast asleep.

Likewise, I think we would do well to ask ourselves those same questions when fearing what will befall us in today’s world and then rest easy when realizing the obvious answer, that God is in control of all things and that He won’t leave us or forsake us. So we Christians need a Christ-centered confidence which is God-centered confidence. And if you just have self-confidence, you are going to run out and you’re going to run into something somewhere that is too big for you in which case you’re going to fail, be discouraged, and fall into despair.

But confidence in Christ is a win-win situation. We need to trust Him for all things and know that He has promised that He will meet our needs and hear our prayers when we call upon Him. So let’s practice taking up the shield of faith that will stand against any fear that we have on this side of eternity. That was David’s word to us this morning from the Word of God.

Let’s pray. Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus, Holy Spirit of God, how wondrous You are. We thank You that You have redeemed us and that we have a magnificent, omnipotent, omniscient God. Lord, we have been taught that the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. That is what we want today. We want You to be our focus, Lord. We want Your glory to be done in our lives. What would You have us to do for that to happen?

If there is some fear that has captured and enslaved us, let us cast that off today and not be in despair. I pray, Lord, that we look towards You because we know that You are a good God. As we live in this world there will be trouble and confusion but as we look to You, we see clarity, light, salvation, and we see You as our Protector. Thank You that You have taken care of our salvation and everything that goes along with it and after it. We want to cast our care upon You because we know You care for us. We praise You for all that You have done and will do in our midst. We give You glory and honor and we pray this in Your Name, Amen.