Over the course of my career in Health Care Administration I have interviewed many people for positions I needed filled. Many times I would size up the applicant in just a few minutes…looking at how they came dressed for the interview, or how they conducted themselves, etc. But I learned early on that my immediate perception of the person was often flawed. For it wasn’t until I could discern their hearts…their passion for caring for others, that I could then make an accurate decision about employment. I am so thankful that God looks beyond my outward appearance and searches my heart…not looking at the superficial me but rather at my inner most being. For God knows my heart and its secrets, (Psalm 44:21) and still loves me. And for that, I will put my hope and trust in Him.
Sometimes it’s because of serious illness or loss…sometimes it’s the result of circumstances way beyond our control…but regardless, we can find ourselves without hope. There standing before us is no bright promise for things to come…only the bleak darkness of the here and now. But God’s intent…His plan and purpose for each one of us, is to give us hope and a future with Him. For God’s Will is only about doing good…His plans are perfect, His purpose for us, only the very best. So in place of our hopelessness, God promises joy… and in place of fear, He promises peace.
A few verses later the writer of Ecclesiastes, King Solomon, sums up this verse by saying, ” It is better not to vow than to make a vow and not fulfill it.” (Ecclesiastes 5:5) We are not to be rash or hasty in our promises to God…that’s what Solomon called sacrifices of fools. Rather, we are to use self discipline…listening for that still small voice of the Holy Spirit in order to hear clearly what the Lord wants of us.
When a person fails to think through the implications of a “get rich quick scheme”, their decision to act is usually influenced by greed and recklessness, not common sense. For you hear it all the time – If it sounds too good to be true…it probably is. But that still doesn’t stop foolish people from being duped and cheated everyday. For it’s so easy to fall into the devil’s trap of running after riches… and instead ending up in ruin.
These verses can give us great insight into what it takes to combat doubt and fear in our lives. The first part gives us clear directions as to what our responsibilities are. We are to be steadfast trusting in the Lord at all times…calling on Him first, and not as an afterthought. We are to turn our back on our old sinful ways, but even more importantly, it says we are to not tolerate or enable sin to remain in our house. This is called compromise, and unfortunately many a Christian household has crumbled when questionable moral concessions have been made. As we work on our responsibilities, we can as Job 22:26 says, ” Find delight in the Almighty and lift up our face to God.” For when there is no longer the guilt and shame of sin weighting us down, we can lift up our head and look straight into the eyes of Jesus with a clear conscience…free of self-doubt and fear.