Lesson 11 -- third quarter 2001
August 12, 2001
© Copyright 2001, Christian Light Publications
Dealing with the shivers.
The king and his people got the shakes, much like trees shake in the wind. I don't blame them. I have experienced enough fear and unnerving at external threats that I can actually muster some understanding for their feelings. I don't doubt you also can identify with their fear. I hope, though, that we can deal with our fears in a more godly manner than they did.
How should we deal with our fears, anyway?
Long ago some Philistines tried an approach that certainly worked for them. They were encamped to do battle with the Israelites. They expected to win. Then they heard a great ringing shout from the Israelite camp. Upon investigation they learned the Israelites had the Ark of the Covenant to lead them into battle. The Philistines' first response was fear. They feared the God of Israel; they knew Israelite history. But then they got hold of themselves. In essence they encouraged themselves with words like, "Be strong and stand up to fight like men. Even if you expect to die in defeat, give a good accounting of yourselves. Fight!" (1 Samuel 4:5-9) Facing an outside threat and a bleak future, they turned to themselves for courage and strength. Like I say, it worked for them that time.
Well, as Christians we know that turning to ourselves is not the right way to deal with our fears. Rather, we should . . . .
Remember and refocus. Fear comes when we forget God, what He has done, and what He has promised to do. Fear comes when we focus on the threat, on our inadequate resources to meet the threat, and on our fear itself.
"Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you to day" (Exodus 14:13).
"Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the LORD with you . . .fear not, nor be dismayed . . . for the LORD will be with you" (2 Chronicles 20:17).
"Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come . . . save you" (Isaiah 35:4).
"So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me" (Hebrews 13:6).
"I will not." God told Ahaz to do something, and Ahaz had an amazing reply: "I won't, LORD." Obviously Ahaz used the word LORD as a title and not as an expression of fealty. Peter had a similarly contradictory reply to something the Lord told him to do: "Not so, Lord" (Acts 10:14).
OK. So we can detect the contradictions in those men. Good for us. Can we find them in our own lives and root them out? May God help us to do that. I definitely don't want Jesus wondering about me, "And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?" (Luke 6:46).
Have you ignored a prophet recently?
I know I haven't ever had someone like Isaiah come to me with a direct message from God. You haven't either, have you. Before you think we're home free, though, think about this: "He that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort" (1 Corinthians 14:3). Oh my!
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