We all have fears. There are general fears like the fear of snakes or spiders, the fear of heights, or the fear of closed in spaces. What's on my list? I really hate spiders, snakes, and rats... and I am not too crazy about heights either. Those are general fears. They may scare the heart, but they aren't personal. They don't keep me up at night! Well, unless I feel something crawl across my face at 3 am! But they aren't matters that pierce the heart.
What are some matters that pierce the heart? What are fears that are more personal?
We usually don't like admitting those. I have no problem telling you that spiders are my enemy and that I struggle to muster up the courage to kill even tiny ones. But the personal ones are the ones that I like to keep undercover so that no one knows how they grip my heart. You have those kind of fears, too.
The fear of a bad diagnosis from the doctor
The fear of a child getting injured or killed
The fear of losing a loved one
The fear of not being able to pay an important bill
The fear of losing a house
The fear of death
I don't know if I have hit any that are your personal fears, but you surely have at least one or two. Just let the right circumstance happen and suddenly that fear surfaces. There's a lump that you need to have a doctor check. You child is a little late returning home and hasn't called. Your grandmother gets sick. And suddenly your heart reveals you have fears that you didn't even know you had.
Psalm 76 is about fear, but it's about the right kind of fear placed in the right thing. Psalm 76 gives a list of fears, but then it gives the right place to place our fears.
Things that cause fear:
Psalm 76:3 "There brake he the arrows of the bow, the shield, and the sword, and the battle. Selah."
Psalm 76:6 "At thy rebuke, O God of Jacob, both the chariot and horse are cast into a dead sleep."
Weapons of the enemy caused fear for the soldier, and yet the Lord broke them like toothpicks. Not only can He destroy the things that cause fear, He can destroy the battle itself! What things in your life cause you to fear? What battles do you face?
Places that cause fear:
Psalm 76:4 "Thou art more glorious and excellent than the mountains of prey."
Prey is something being chased and slaughtered. These mountains of prey were the places where people were hunted either by bandits and robbers or by wild animals. What places make you feel vulnerable?
People that cause fear:
Psalm 76:5 "The stouthearted are spoiled, they have slept their sleep: and none of the men of might have found their hands."
Stouthearted people are strong and confident. They can be very intimidating. They can make us feel inadequate. They can bring persecution. Are there people in your life who bring you feelings of fear and failure? Are there people in your life who literally seek your harm?
Who we should really fear:
Things, places, and people can bring fear into our lives, yet this Psalm reminds us that God is bigger than those things. Focusing on and fearing people is like being afraid of a spider when a lion is in the room. It's quite silly to fear the spider when there is a lion! The amazing thing is that this Lion is for us. He isn't against us. He is powerful and glorious and He loves us! He is angry with the wicked. His wrath is reserved for them.
Psa 76:7 Thou, even thou, art to be feared: and who may stand in thy sight when once thou art angry?
What should this do? It should remind us as His children to respect and reverence Him, because though we are not His enemies, our Father still chastises His children. It should also remind us that God's wrath abides on the lost. It dangles over them like an ominous cloud. His mercy is restraining Him, but that mercy will not restrain His holy judgment forever. We need to get out there and warn the lost.