I’m frustrated with fear.
I am tired of fear being used to manipulate.
I’m frustrated that so much of what has happened in our society (and world) has been driven by fear.
-fear of death
-fear of sickness
-fear of outbreak
-fear of overwhelming medical facilities
-fear of running out of toilet paper
-fear of government overstepping
-fear of conspiracies
Are some of these potential realities? Sure!
Is it wise to heed caution at times? Sure!
Do we need to fear? No!
The Bible repeatedly tells us to fear God, but not to fear other things (death, sickness, governments, etc).
We are to be motivated by a singular fear. Fear of the Lord.
What does that mean?
Well, when you read scripture from beginning to end you find a consistency in what happens when a person meets the Lord in His power and might. The person capitulates themselves to the ground, covers their face, and cries out in fear because they are certain that they will die.
God is so mighty, so holy, so incomprehensibly powerful, that to be in the fullness of His presence is to be so overwhelmed that you think death is the only option. Standing on the sun in your birthday suit would seem like a walk in the park compared to being in the fullness of the presence of the Holy One!
We often forget this, don’t we? We often think of God as more “us-sized” and more like a buddy. Certainly He appears to us that way and demonstrates that in Christ. But don’t forget that when the demon-possessed came into the presence of Jesus they screamed in fear, they threw their host down and begged for mercy!
Over and over and over in the book of Deuteronomy the Lord reminds the people of Israel to not forget who He is and what He has done. He wants them to remember the mighty works displayed for their rescue. He wants them to be confident in His ability to save them and lead them to the promised land. And He knows that there will be many times when they fail to remember, and instead they will fear small things, and they will search out small gods, and they will find so much devastation instead of life.
In one of many passages, God lays out clearly that He is to be their God and only He is worthy of that.
For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.
Deuteronomy 4:24 NIV
So what about us?
In Deuteronomy God is preparing His people for major battles ahead as they go in and take possession of the promised land.
Currently, our Lord Jesus is preparing a place for us, but in the meantime, He has asked us to partner with Him in bringing His kingdom here, in our homes, work, and community.
Like the people of Israel, we too have major battles to fight along the way.
Like the people of Israel, we too will be tempted to fear things that seem out of our control or stronger than us.
Like the people of Israel, we too will be tempted to follow small gods that promise pleasure and prosperity at low cost.
Like the people of Israel, we have a God who alone is mighty, holy, and glorious and who alone is worthy of our fear and awe.
So what do we do? Like Joshua and the nation of Israel, we must remember who our Lord is, and then we must be strong and courageous, not be terrified, for the Lord is with us wherever we go. As we do so, we will find that walking with the Lord, instead of resisting Him or blazing our own trail, is what leads to real life. And though bad things may befall us in these days, we are living for another country, a true home where we shall be able at last to truly dwell with God. This is the hope that we have and that we must cling to in all times, but especially now.
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.Deuteronomy 31:6 NIV