Thursday, March 28, 2019

Scratching the Surface of the Psalms - 46

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)


Scratching the Surface of the Psalms


“Respect All!  Fear None!”

Though chosen by God to be the greatest king in Israel’s history, David was only human and, like us, struggled with fear.

One of his greatest fears was getting knocked off by his jealous father-in-law and mentor Saul.

Saul was Israel’s first king for all of the wrong reasons – God wasn’t enough for people and they wanted a king with skin on – and it all caught up with him when God told Samuel that Saul was out and scrawny little shepherd boy David was in because the sharpshooter with the slingshot had a heart for Him which made him more powerful than the ripped and renowned warrior-king.

A heart for God.

Totally wanting to honor God in everything said and done.

A heart for God.

The most essential qualification for employment in the Kingdom.

Getting back to David being like us and struggling with fear, he wrote Psalm 46: “God is our refuge and strength.  Therefore, we will not fear.”

Putting it another way, “Because God is our refuge and strength, we will not fear.”

Or as somebody said, “God + anyone = a formidable majority!”

That’s a big theme throughout the Bible.

With God on our side – Get it? God the Father Almighty! – ain’t no reason to shiver, stutter, stumble, or stress.

When Martin Luther was being hunted down by clergy in the early 16th century for saying the ticket to heaven is Jesus and not the church and that there’s no such thing as purgatory in the Bible which means we don’t have to buy our way out of it like clergy back then were pretending – “When a coin in the coffer rings, a soul from purgatory springs!” – along with pointing out the church and clergy of his day were not following Jesus by the book, he holed up in a Wartburg, Germany castle for fear of getting burned.


Seeking strength from God through Holy Scripture, he began repeating Psalm 46 over and over and over again while lying prostrate in the dust and dirt of the lowest levels of the castle: “God is our refuge and strength.  Therefore, we will not fear.”

It wasn’t long before those words were transformed into one of the greatest hymns in Christendom’s history: “A Mighty Fortress is Our God.”

Simply, surely, satisfyingly, salvifically, “God is our refuge and strength.  Therefore, we will not fear…Because God is our refuge and strength, we will not fear.”

The only way to overcome fear is to have God in our lives.

Conversely, if we don’t have enough God in our lives, we have a lot of fear in our lives.

It’s axiomatic.

More God = less fear.

Less God = more fear.

Lots of fear means not much God in our lives.

So we can overcome fear by making more room in our lives for God.

One of the most famous Peanuts comic strips has Linus giving this advice to Charlie Brown: “I don’t like to face problems head on.  I think the best way to solve problems is to avoid them.  This is a distinct philosophy of mine.  No problem is so big or so complicated that it can’t be run away from!”

Or as that great American theologian Homer Simpson said to his son, “Bart, as I’ve always said, if it’s too hard, it’s not worth doing.”



It’s like Rockford street preacher William Taylor likes to say, “You can’t fix what you won’t face.”

Until we face the fears in our lives, we won’t be able to overcome them.

God knows we know God knows we’ve all got fears.

If we don’t face them, we’ll get eaten alive by them or, at least, paralyzed by them.

So let me give the short course on overcoming fear.

God is our refuge and strength!

Let me be precise.


I have a friend who once told me that when anything knocks at her door that incites fear, she says, “Jesus, please get that for me.”

Whenever there’s darkness, all you have to do is turn on the light.


Just saying His name gets rid of the demons.

That’s what Martin Luther discovered while reading Psalm 46 when the corrupted church wanted to burn him.

Luther got it: “Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing…but we have the man of God’s own choosing on our side.  Dost ask who that may be?  Christ Jesus!  It is He!  And He will win the battle!”

We can overcome all of the fears in our lives.

Joshua said, “Don’t be afraid!  God is with you!”

Isaiah quoted God, “Don’t be afraid!  I will help you!”

God Himself Jesus said, “I am with you.  I am on your side.  So you don’t have to be afraid!”

David: “God is our refuge and strength.  Therefore, we will not fear….Because God is our refuge and strength, we will not fear.”

Certainly, there are bandaids to overcome fear and anxiety.



Pero they’re only bandaids and don’t offer permanent solutions.

Yes, they stop the bleeding.

They don’t solve the problems.

Scripts expire.

Solitudes are inevitable.

God more than helps.

He heals.

I think of the woman at a congregational meeting who has very upset because someone suggested buying a chandelier for the sanctuary with memorial money.

She blurted out, “We don’t need no chandelier here.  We need more light!”


More light!


Here’s what He said about it: “This is the judgment.  Light has come into the world.  Still, too many people play in the dark.  Too many people really like darkness because their deeds are dark and dirty.  Evil-speaking-and-doing people hate light and avoid it because they don’t want people to see how bad they really are.  Yet anyone who lives by the truth comes to the light.  They know light exposes the darkness and eliminates it.  They have nothing to fear and fear no one because darkness cannot overcome light.”

There’s a patch that lots of bikers wear: “Respect All!  Fear None!”

I interpret that patch like this.
Everyone is a child of God.

Everyone has been designed by the divine for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness that is only ultimately experienced by grace through faith in Jesus.

Only when that relationship and design are rejected and respect is not reciprocal are we encouraged to take up our rods and staffs and beat away, down, and out.

No matter the enemy of the respect due all of God’s children by design, we have no fear because, as the apostle championed, “the Holy Spirit in us is greater than the spirit in them.”

So we respect all while fearing none.

According to David in Psalm 46 and confirmed throughout Holy Scripture and human history, that’s how it was, is, and will always be when we’re on the right side.



Blessings and Love!


Wake up! Look up! Stand up! Speak up! Act up for Jesus!

Shatter the sound of silence!

Salt! Shine! Leavenate!





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