Frozen by Fear

Psalm 27

One of the most paralyzing problems in all of life is fear. Our fears are directed in so many areas: fear of the unknown, fear of calamity, fear of sickness, disease, and death, fear of people, fear of losing our jobs, fear of enemy attacks, fear of being misunderstood . . . or rejected . . . or criticized . . . or forgotten . . . or being mistreated. What makes matters worse is that the very thing we fear often occurs. Sometimes it is worse than we anticipated! I’ve known times when I felt virtually paralyzed with feelings of panic. As fear gets a firm grip on us, we become its victim.

This reminds me of a college friend of mine who worked several summers ago on a construction crew, building a large hospital in Dallas. He was assigned to the twelfth story and was given the job of helping a welder who was welding the flooring structure composed of huge, steel beams. So scared of falling, my friend literally shook with fear every day, though he admitted it to no one. One hot afternoon the welder looked up and noticed the man shaking in his boots. He yelled, “Are you scared, son?” The student stuttered, “S-s-s-scared! I’ve been t-t-t-trying to tell you for t-t-t-two weeks that I q-q-q-quit!”

Frozen with fear!

If fear has become your daily grind, Psalm 27 should prove very helpful. It is a song intended to take the pain out of that dreadful grind.

The Passage and Its Pattern

A careful reading of King David’s song will reveal a contrast between the first half (27:1–6) and the last half (27:7–14). The first six verses resound with praise, confidence, victory, and even singing, while the last eight verses are filled with needs—actually, a grocery list of requests. Look at the expressions David uses in his composition:

Verse 7: “Hear, O LORD . . . and answer me.”
Verse 8: “Your face, O LORD, I shall seek.”
Verse 9: “Do not hide . . . . Do not turn . . . . Do not abandon me nor forsake me.”
Verse 11: “Teach me . . . O LORD.”

These ancient lyrics seem to tremble in utter dependence.

As we look at David’s response to fear, let me point out the overall structure of the psalm.

Declaration of Praise
Petition for Needs
Exhortation to Wait

He first declared what he knew (27:1–6). He then expressed what he needed (27:7–13). And finally, he committed himself to waiting on God (27:14).

From Living the Psalms: Encouragement for the Daily Grind by Charles R. Swindoll, copyright © 2012. Reprinted by permission of Worthy Inspired, an imprint of Hachette Book Group, Inc.

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Accuracy, clarity, and practicality all describe the Bible-teaching ministry of Charles R. Swindoll. Chuck is the chairman of the board at Insight for Living and the chancellor of Dallas Theological Seminary. Chuck also serves as the senior pastor of Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, Texas, where he is able to do what he loves most—teach the Bible to willing hearts. His focus on practical Bible application has been heard on the Insight for Living radio broadcast since 1979.