Scripture Text: I Samuel 17
Introduction: The last time we were together we explored the issue of fear, and how God uses that fear as a test to help us understand how important it is for us to trust Him.
God longs for us to simply accept the gifts from His hand. He has a more wonderful and fulfilling life for us, but fear cuts us off from accepting the things He has for us. I often counsel those who are feeling God’s tug at their hearts. He has something special for them to do, and they can look forward to blessings in abundance if they will only be obedient and trusting.
People want to accept the call of God in their lives, but fear holds them back, always some new fear, “What if I am making the wrong decision?” “What if this is not the right partner for me?” “What if my business venture fails?” “What if I get homesick on the mission field?” What if. . . what if . . . What if? Somehow they can’t hold to a simple assurance of God’s trustworthy and loving nature. It doesn’t seem to register that He never calls His children only to desert them (Would He lead us this far only to deliver us into the hands of the Amorites?)
I have seen where this failure of trust leads – right to the doorstep of heartbreak. Those how shrink back from accepting God’s gift condemn themselves to lives of fitful, restless wandering through the wildernesses of their jobs and their communities and their broken dreams. Fields of milk and honey stood in wait, but they settled for less.
My question to you is: Isn’t that kind of disappointment in life far more to be feared than the risk of taking God at His word? Of course it is. The question then is what do we do about it?
Today we want to look at the second part of our series dealing with fighting your fears and ask the question “How can we face our fears?”
Let’s begin by taking our Bibles and turn to a very familiar passage of Scripture, 1 Samuel 17 and read some of that text:
1 ¶ Now the Philistines gathered their armies together to battle, and were gathered together at Sochoh, which belongs to Judah; they encamped between Sochoh and Azekah, in Ephes Dammim.
2 And Saul and the men of Israel were gathered together, and
they encamped in the Valley of Elah, and drew up in battle array against the Philistines. …
4 And a champion went out from the camp of the Philistines,
named Goliath, from Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span. . . .
8 Then he stood and cried out to the armies of Israel, and said to
them, “Why have you come out to line up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and you the servants of Saul? Choose a man for yourselves, and let him come down to me.
9 “If he is able to fight with me and kill me, then we will be your
servants. But if I prevail against him and kill him, then you shall be our servants and serve us.”
10 And the Philistine said, “I defy the armies of Israel this day;
give me a man, that we may fight together.”
11 When Saul and all Israel heard these words of the Philistine,
they were dismayed and greatly afraid. . . .
16 And the Philistine drew near and presented himself forty
days, morning and evening.
17 Then Jesse said to his son David, “Take now for your brothers
an ephah of this dried grain and these ten loaves, and run to your brothers at the camp. . . .
20 So David rose early in the morning, left the sheep with a
keeper, and took the things and went as Jesse had commanded him. And he came to the camp as the army was going out to the fight and shouting for the battle. . . .
22 And David left his supplies in the hand of the supply keeper,
ran to the army, and came and greeted his brothers.
23 Then as he talked with them, there was the champion, the
Philistine of Gath, Goliath by name, coming up from the armies of the Philistines; and he spoke according to the same words. So David heard them. . . .
24 And all the men of Israel, when they saw the man, fled from
him and were dreadfully afraid. . . .
32 Then David said to Saul, “Let no man’s heart fail because of
him; your servant will go and fight with this Philistine.”
33 And Saul said to David, “You are not able to go against this
Philistine to fight with him; for you are a youth, and he a man of war from his youth.”
34 But David said to Saul, “Your servant used to keep his father’s
sheep, and when a lion or a bear came and took a lamb out
of the flock,
35 I went out after it and struck it, and delivered the lamb from
its mouth; and when it arose against me, I caught it by its beard, and struck and killed it.
36 “Your servant has killed both lion and bear; and this
uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, seeing he
has defied the armies of the living God.”
37 Moreover David said, “The LORD, who delivered me from the
paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver
me from the hand of this Philistine.” . . .
40 ¶ Then he took his staff in his hand; and he chose for himself
five smooth stones from the brook, and put them in a shepherd’s bag, in a pouch which he had, and his sling was in his hand. And he drew near to the Philistine.
41 So the Philistine came, and began drawing near to David, and
the man who bore the shield went before him.
42 And when the Philistine looked about and saw David, he
disdained him; for he was only a youth, ruddy and good-looking.
43 So the Philistine said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come to
me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods.
44 And the Philistine said to David, “Come to me, and I will give
your flesh to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field!”
45 Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a
sword, 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.
46 “This day the LORD will deliver you into my hand, and I will
strike you and take your head from you. And this day I will give the carcasses of the camp of the Philistines to the birds of the air and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.
47 “Then all this assembly shall know that the LORD does not
save with sword and spear; for the battle is the LORD’S, and He will give you into our hands.”
48 ¶ So it was, when the Philistine arose and came and drew
near to meet David, that David hastened and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine.
49 Then David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone; and
he slung it and struck the Philistine in his forehead, so that the stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the earth.
50 So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and a
stone, and struck the Philistine and killed him. But there was no sword in the hand of David.
I. Confront your fear honestly (I Samuel 17:37)
NOTE: you may long for your fear to simply vanish or wear off, but it isn’t going anywhere – not on its own
– If you want to defeat your fear, you must be like David when he faced Goliath: Gather up your stones and advance boldly.
A. Understand what is at the root of your fears
1. We need to try to understand what has caused the feelings
2. We need to ask God to search our heart for us
a. He knows where the problem lies, but we need to let Him show us
B. Recognize that if we don’t deal with our fear we will always run from them
1. We will be like Jonah when we realize that we can run from our fears but we cannot hide from God.
2. David faced his fear of Goliath, but being honest about his inability to win this victory by himself
a. I Samuel 17:37 David said moreover, The LORD that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine.
3. There is nowhere to run, so it is better to take a stand and face the truth of the fear so that you can get on with your life.
II. Confess your fear as sin
A. Remember: Fear boils down to disobedience
1. We saw time that God commands us over 120 times in the Bible “fear not”
2. Yet we still are afraid – The only thing we can do is to come to God for honest confession
B. Understand: We have the power to act apart from our feelings
1. Some say that calling our fear sin is harsh and unrealistic – after all we can’t help what we feel can we?
2. Emotions come to us on their own, but we can choose by will to obey God’s voice
– look at Psalm 34:4 I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.
3. As we bring our fear before God and own up to it, we do one other thing – we repent
a. That means to disavow the sin completely, to turn and walk the other way
b. Then we can look toward the steps that lead us to victory over our fears.
III. Claim God’s Promises of protection
A. Remember: The Bible is filled with practical promises
1. God’s promises if we choose to take hold of them, lead to liberation from some tough problems of life.
2. Practical ways to deal with my fear
a. write out a verse on a 3 X 5 card
b. Put it. . .
– on the visor of my car
– tape it to the mirror of my bathroom
– slid it under the glass of my desk
– Put it in my wallet
– keep it in my shirt pocket
c. Then we would be well prepared for the first tingle of oppression from a spirit of fear
d. When that happens I could reach for that Bible verse, read it out loud, repeat it again, and ask God to demonstrate its truth in the battlefield of my heart, mind, and spirit.
B. Bible Memorization is the key to victory
– Practical verses to overcome fear
1. Deuteronomy 31:6 “Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.”
2. Psalm 27:1 The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid?
3. Psalm 118:6 The LORD is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?
4. Proverbs 3:25-26 Do not be afraid of sudden terror, Nor of trouble from the wicked when it comes; For the LORD will be your confidence, And will keep your foot from being caught.
5. Proverbs 29:25 The fear of man brings a snare, But whoever trusts in the LORD shall be safe.
6. Isaiah 41:10 Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’
– Let the Word of God fortify your spirit
1. As we read through God’s Word, you will find so many more assurance for times of fear.
2. The next time the Devil comes to get a response out of you, you will be ready, pull five verses from the living water just like five smooth stones in David’s pouch
3. Don’t worry about the fearsome giant of fear; the bigger they come, the harder they fall.
TS: The next step may sound so simple and basic, that you may shrug it aside – but don’t allow yourself to do that.
IV. Cultivate a closer relationship with God
A. Understand: We can confront our fears by drawing closer to God
1. Think back to those spies who entered Canaan.
a. Up to now, we haven’t mentioned that there were two dissenters in the group of Israelites who came back from spying out the land in Numbers 13
b. They went on the same trip, saw the same walled cities and the same giants, and they brought back a minority opinion.
c. Joshua and Caleb listened patiently to all the worst-case scenarios and calmly said, “We can do this.”
2. The difference between the 10 and the 23 is that they used a different yardstick
a. The negative group measured the giants by their own stature
b. Joshua and Caleb measured them by God’s stature.
c. What made the difference for Joshua and Caleb? The Scriptures state it clearly in Numbers 32:12 “For they have wholly followed the LORD.”
– You will find the same message in Deuteronomy 1:36 and Joshua 14:9
– The Bible makes it clear that they were filled with the Spirit of God, and they walked with Him in every way.
* This caused them to think differently, act differently, and decide differently
B. Recognize: Your fear level is ultimately a referendum on the closeness of your friendship with God.
1. Do we see things in human dimensions or godly ones
a. After we spend time with our Creator, we are simply incapable of shrinking in fear at the appearance of every human anxiety
– YOU HAVE SEEN HIS POWER
– YOU HAVE SEEN HIS LOVE AND FAITHFULNESS
– YOU HAVE SEEN THAT HIS PURPOSES ARE THE BEST FOR YOU
b. If you have the fear of God you won’t fear the things of this world
c. Consider: The opposite of fear is not courage, it is love
2. I John 4:18 says There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.
a. This verse captures this beautiful and powerful truth
b. As we have already seen in II Timothy 1:7 God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
3. When we are afraid God lifts us into his powerful arms and tells us he loves us, and that everything is all right
a. Through His word he reminds us that we are in a safe place, and that we are very near as we rest in the arms of our Father.
– Harry Ironside, a great preacher from years ago, told the story of playing a game called Bears with his young son.
– The grownup would be the bear, and he would chase the boy all over the house.
– One day the game got a bit too intense
– The boy was cornered by the “bear” and he suddenly became truly frightened
– it wasn’t a game anymore
– He hid his face, trembling, and then turned around quickly and threw himself into his father’s arms with the words “I’m not afraid of you!! You are my daddy!”
c. Our Father want us to leap into His arms that way when we are afraid
– He wants us to realize who He really is, and that we need never fear.
– You see the key to that assurance is love
* To experience in full the love of God is to feel the deepest security in heart, soul, mind, and strength.
* It is to understand, down to the depth of our being, that God loves us so much He will always fold us in His arms.
– Remember: “we love Him because He first loved us” (I John 4:19)
V. Commit your life to Jesus Christ
A. Understand: the fear of death causes people to do strange things
1. I read about a man who kept a canister of oxygen in every room in his home, in his car, and at work.
a. When asked what was the meaning of this obsession
b. with oxygen he replied
– I have a little bit of a heart problem, and I am afraid
that one of these days I might have a heart attack, and I won’t be able to get the oxygen I need – then I will die.
– He concluded with, “I’ll do everything in my power to
hedge my bet
c. So to smother his life in security, he made it into a life
that was all about oxygen canisters.
– Caution is a good thing; phobias are unhealthy
– When the appointed day arrives when God has calls
you home, all the oxygen canisters in the world will not buy you another second of life.
2. The real question is, are you desperate for another
second, another hour, another day?
a. If so, why does death hold so much terror for you?
b. Are you so eager to avoid the beautiful gates of
heaven and the open arms of God
3. We don’t have to be in a hurry to die, but it is a wonderful
thing to come to a sense of peace about the finality of this life
a. Paul said in Philippians 1:21 For to me, to live is
Christ, and to die is gain
b. We can stay on earth and experience the joy of Christ, or we can move on to the next life and occupy those mansions He’s gone to prepare.
B. Recognize: A biblical understanding of life is the key to enjoying the time that we have
1. The fear of death is a chain that holds us back from any
enjoyment or fulfillment in life
2. Consider Hebrews 2:14-15 14 ¶ Forasmuch then as the
children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also
himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; 15 And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.
a. This gives us the most important truth of history
b. Death had dominion over this world
– All people had to live in its tyranny, and life was
dominated by death
– Then God came into the world in the guise of human
flesh, in order to share everything we experience
– As the sky darkened and the earth shook and history
turned upside down, Jesus hung between heaven and earth, bridging the ultimate gulf that could not be closed in any other way.
– That changed everything
– Jesus brought eternity back to us, and He brought us
home again to God
– The power of death was totally broken
* Death has no power at all outside of the lies and
distortions of the deceiver
* The devil wants us to believe that death is still a
* The devil want us to believe our sins still give
death the final word, and that we must therefore
live in terror.
– The truth is that Jesus paid the debt, our sins will not
be held against us now if we will accept the gift that Jesus purchased with His life.
– Let me conclude with one more passage of Scripture. Turn with me to 1 Corinthians 15:55-58
55 “O Death, where is your sting? O Hades,
where is your victory?”
56 The sting of death is sin, and the strength
of sin is the law.
57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the
victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
58 ¶ Therefore, my beloved brethren, be
steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.
Conclusion: We can rest in that assurance and find liberation from fear. We do so by trusting God. We often get to know God more deeply through the crisis of life. We learn that we can face anything as we trust God to help us through the most difficult times of our lives.
You see God is victorious and so are we, when we take the counsel of the Word of God and “Stop being afraid!” There are giants in the land, but next to our LORD, they are little more than grasshoppers!
1. Determine in your heart what you are afraid of
2. Look in the Bible for verses that will help you overcome
that fear and write them down
3. Work at memorizing one of those verses this week