Have you ever been in a situation where you felt like you were being surrounded by a hostile army? Maybe it was a supremely bad day where everything felt against you. I’ve definitely had those! Well, in this post we’re going to look at the book of Psalms, where David is facing that situation. Psalm 27 is titled simply “A Psalm of David.” We really don’t know what period of life David was in when he wrote this Psalm but we do know that it is a reflection of how his faith in the power of God sustained him through many trials. Let’s look at verse 3.
Psalm 27:3 (NIV)
Though an army besiege me,
my heart will not fear;
though war break out against me,
even then I will be confident.
Let’s break this verse down. It starts “though an army besiege me.” Think of the last movie you saw with a battle scene and it’s very likely that when you watch that scene, you can feel a sense of stress, vulnerability, and fear. Any time we face a situation where we don’t know the outcome, we’re likely to feel this way, even if it’s not a literal army surrounding us. Job interviews, tough conversations, serious illnesses – all of these can cause us to feel like a might army is surrounding us ready to do battle. And our natural human inclination is stress, feeling exposed, and fear.
But look at what David says next – “my heart will not fear. Though war break out against me, I will remain confident.” Confident in what? I think a common trap for us as humans – when faced with a situation where things are going wrong, we often turn to our own strength and capability. We say, “I’ve got to figure out how to fix this.” I can’t tell you how many times I have uttered those very words. But what David is referring to isn’t at all rooted in anything having to do with him – he’s referring to something he said back up in verse 1.
Psalm 27:1 (NIV)
The Lord is my light and my salvation—
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
of whom shall I be afraid?
Now we’re starting to see where David is going here! He is trusting that, because of who God is, he can stand firm and have confidence in the face of that mighty army. And how can he be so sure of who God is? Because he’s come through trials before and has felt the presence and protection of God each time. Can’t we say the same thing? We can confidently face trials of any kind because God is always there. This confidence doesn’t come from a confidence in our own abilities; rather, it’s a holy confidence because it’s rooted in who God is and who we are in Him. This holy confidence gives us the freedom to be brave in any circumstance.
Now, you may be thinking, “well that’s great but how do I realistically live with that kind of bravery?” I’m glad you asked!
First, you will probably have to step out of your comfort zone more than once, maybe daily, maybe even hourly. Think about when Peter walked on water in Matthew 14. Jesus called him to the edge of his faith and he had to take a pretty big step out of his comfort zone. The problem is, many of us are in some pretty comfortable boats and need to take the initiative to step out of them when we’re called to.
Second, sometimes bravery means you stay right where you are. Maybe you’re in a job you thought you would have moved on from by now. Maybe you’re still single far past the age you thought you would be. I can raise my hand to that one! There’s such courage in submitting to your circumstances and choosing to seek God’s face in the midst of it. Jesus did this on the night he was arrested – Matthew 28:38 says that he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, ‘My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.’ And he stayed right where he was in his Father’s will.
Third, being brave for God requires resting in God’s presence. This is non-negotiable. In verses such as Genesis 26:24 and Joshua 1:9, the Lord tells people not to be afraid because He is with them. He doesn’t give them a pep talk about how great they are – he simply assures them that it will be ok because of His presence. Deuteronomy 20:3 says, “Hear, O Israel, today you are going into battle against your enemies. Do not be fainthearted or afraid; do not be terrified or give way to panic before them. For the Lord your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.” Sound familiar? This is exactly what David is talking about in Psalms 27:3!
Finally, bravery for Christ looks a lot like faith. Hebrews 11:1 says that “faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” There are 2 parts to faith – intellectual belief and trust.To illustrate this, think of a chair. Intellectual belief is recognizing that a chair is a chair and agreeing that it is designed to support a person who sits on it. Trust is actually sitting in the chair. You see, we can know and believe a lot of facts about God but we have to fully rely on him and “sit in the chair” of salvation in order to truly have faith. In fact, that’s the only thing that will protect us from the inevitable fear that will creep in during life’s trials.
Psalm 56:3-4 says “When I am afraid, I will trust in you… in God I trust; I will not be afraid.”
Isaiah 12:2 says, “I will trust and not be afraid.”
Bravery and faith go hand in hand! And at the end of the day, all that’s required of us is to just show up. Bravery looks like one million small moments of simply showing up, saying “Even if an army surrounds me, you are still God and because of that, I can have holy confidence and be brave for you.”