When Fear Shakes Your Core

Then Sings My Soul  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  23:11
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God provides resources when we encounter fear from external and internal tensions.

Yes, I am aware of the Time and prepared in anticipation of the Camp report.
But since we told the kids all week that they need to abide in Christ and allow His Word to abide in them, it would be a tragedy for us not to spend at least a little time feasting in God’s Word in this service.
The Psalm was read for us in the video a moment ago. Just as Psalm 77 last week, this Psalm is also directed to the Choirmaster so it was a song for congregational singing. This song consists of 3 stanzas.
Transition: The first verse of the song describes…

A World in Trouble (vv.1-3)

Refuge for external obstacles (v.1a)

1. When I read refuge, I think of a castle with tall walls and a mote with a drawbridge with archers perched in the tower.
2. Another word for refuge is stronghold. At camp this week the speaker asked what the students think of when they hear “stronghold” and one of the teens mentioned a dam.
Because of the Cottonwood flowing through our County we are aware of the dam upstream. We know what happens when the Corps of Engineers determines to open the outlet and allow Marion Resevoir to flow downstream.
The Budkes can give many Illustrations of what happens when the Dam does not contain the water.
Several of you can describe driving from Strong City to Cottonwood Falls by driving all the way to Emporia and Cassody. We have some idea of what happens when a refuge does not contain the water.
Some of us will remember the turnpike being closed for days because the Arkansas flooded.
Recalling these experiences of a dam failure or a pre-emptive opening of the floodgates, I still can’t imagine the surge of the Sumatra Tsunami of 2004.
3. Verse 3 is describing this type of roaring and foaming.
4. Though the difficulties of life may surge like a tsunami, God has the strength to serve as a barrier that restrains the impact of that conflict.
5. I don’t know what obstacles are banging on your door and causing you fear. Covid? Bills? Cancer? Politics?
6. V.2 reminds us that when our fear builds and it appears that everything normal is about to give way, God is our refuge!

Strength for internal conflicts (v.1b)

1. If God is our refuge that protects us against external threats, the next word reminds us that He gives strength for our internal worry and temptations of the mind.

Ever-present help (v.1c)

I’ve stopped watching cooking shows and home improvement shows because I finally admitted to myself that it is NEVER as simple as it appears on TV.
They never trip a breaker, never drop that nut down the crack where you can’t fit your hand. They never have the SAE wrench when they crawl under the cabinet then realize they need metric.
On the cooking shows they always have the ingredients measured out in those ramekins and always have an assistant just off camera ready to hand them just the right utensil or the hot pad. When I cook it never fails that something boils over or the pan begins to smoke.
1. By saying that God is a very present help, the psalmist is saying that God is nearby to assist when you need someone to get the right tool or hand you the dishtowel to clean up the boil-over.
Tuesday of this past week we ordered a whiteboard for the camp speaker to use and I tried to save the church a few dollars by order one that was “used – like new condition”. We laid out the parts bag and I discovered we were short 3 screws.
Instead of allowing my frustration to get the best of me and derailing the momentum I had in putting it together. Ann was here helping me and I was able to send her up to Clarks and get replacements for those 3 screws.
2. Verse one of this song reminds us that God is very present to assist in those unexpected complications that we all encounter.
Transition: If the ancient Israelite viewed the sea as a picture of threat and chaos, they viewed rivers very differently.

A River of Delight (vv.4-7)


1. The river and streams of v.4 bring gladness because they distribute blessing from the source. This blessing flows abundantly throughout all the city of God.
2. As rivers bring delight I think of satellite photos of our County. The brown of grass pastures out of season are highlighted by all the lush green where the trees grow along the rivers and creeks.

A City under Siege

Historically cities were surrounded by thick, tall walls that provided security against attack. But I understand one strategy of siege warfare is to cutoff the supplies flowing into the walled fortress. If ammunition or food are cutoff eventually those inside the city will be forced to surrender. Ancients found that the quickest way to bring about this surrender is to cutoff the water source flowing into the city.
But if there is a spring or well within the city, then the inhabitants can merrily go about their lives as the enemy taunt from the other side of the wall.
1. The second verse of this song celebrates that God not only helps when we face obstacles and challenges, but that he sustains us like the streams from a well within a walled city.
2. He is a river that abundantly flows with supply and encouragement and delight so that we can remain glad even when everything around us rages.

A Fortress for All (v.7)

1. I think sometimes we slip into a mindset that God pays more attention to the prayer of the pastor or the missionaries. Perhaps grandma had more power in her prayer life because she spent so much time reading the Bible so God gave her special favors.
2. Notice that the blessing from the river is not only accessible to the priests or the prophets, but that the Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.
3. God has no step-children!
Transition: When we are tempted to fear, the first stanza of the song reminds that God deals with our obstacles. The 2nd stanza celebrates that God is our source of gladness while the nations rage, and thirdly we find that God is…

A Victor over Conflict (vv.8-11)

1. Not only does He keep their conflict from harming us, as our refuge and stronghold, but He disrupts the activities of the enemies who frighten us.
a. He ceases war
b. He breaks their bows
c. He shatters their spears
d. He burns their chariots
This is the truth behind prayers for traveling mercy. I got to pray personally with some of our guests this week as they prepared to leave. I prayed that God would keep them safe on the road, that God would protect them from mechanical problems, that God would protect them from any bugs or viruses they may encounter, and prayed that God would make their endeavors effective.
2. I’m able to pray these things in faith because of verses like Ps 46:9
3. V. 10 reminds us of God’s ultimate victory so we can “fear no evil”
4. Finally, v. 11 repeats v.7 that these promises are for all of God’s people. That includes YOU!


I know that our trips around the Sun provide many opportunities to battle with fear.
God’s protection is not just for spiritual superstars. Most of us learn to trust, not because we’re noble, brave, or godly, and certainly not because we have it together, but when we don’t have any other choice. We are most likely to experience God when we need him desperately. We learn to trust because that’s the only option left to us. When fear has gripped us by the throat, what choices do we have? Do I face whatever it is on my own, or do I face it with the power and presence of God? For me, I’ll take the plan that includes God. I hope you will too.[1]
Communion: As we think about God as the one who fights our battles and meets our needs, there is no better picture of that than when Jesus defeated Satan and provided forgiveness for any who will place our trust in his work on Calvary.
As we reflect on that, I have a short video to focus our thoughts on the time when Christ transformed Passover into a memorial feast of His death. If you did not pick up the cup and bread as you came in, raise your hand and one of our Elders will bring the communion elements to you.
[1] Chip Ingram, Finding God When You Need Him Most (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2007).
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