The gist of this Scripture is repeated in Habakkuk 2:3-4 where it says, ” But the righteous will live by faith. And if they shrink back, I will not be pleased with them.” We all claim to have faith and trust in God…but do we really? Shrinking back is hesitation and self-doubt that we can really do what God is calling us to. Sure, we can believe for great miracles in someone else’s life…but when it comes down to trusting God in our own, we falter. Self-doubt can effectively stop any Kingdom work the Lord has for you…for when you hesitate, you’re essentially telling God you don’t trust Him. We are to live by faith, believing that if God calls us to something, He will equip us also.
The Lord had instructed Moses to send 12 spies into Canaan, but it was only Caleb and Joshua who urged the people to go in and conquer the Promised Land. Which is very odd if you look at the other 10 men’s names and their meanings…remembering all these young men had been born as God directed the Jews in the wilderness for 40 years. Their names included – God hears, God endows, God redeems, God saves, God is my deliverance, God is my kinsman. For in the end, all their strong, valiant names couldn’t help them overcome fear. And despite hearing about God’s covenant with Israel all their life, they only saw adversity.
What has a greater hold on your life and takes up a bigger space in your heart, fear or faith? When you find yourself in a deep, dark place, do you seek solace and consolation in the Lord…or do you allow fear and doubt to reign instead? By placing our trust in God and facing down our fears, He will lead us safety through the valley, no matter how dark or threatening it may appear. Our Christian walk is a long series of trust-building exercises that strengthen our faith, and reinforce our confidence in God. So that when we find ourselves in that valley and hear God say, “Fear not!” … we’ll remember what He’s done, and place our trust in Him because of it . Our faith is built up one dilemma at a time…one dark valley at a time. And each time we choose faith over fear…fear loses some of its grip on us.
The biggest cripplers of our Christian walk are fear and doubt. They effectively incapacitate and render us useless for the Lord, and are the favorite tools in Satan’s arsenal. God says, “Fear not!”, but instead, our eyes are fixated on the trouble around us and we freeze – paralyzed in fear. He says, “The battle is Mine not yours”, but we doubt, and surrender before we’ve even started to fight. When we operate in fear and doubt, we’re rejecting and denying God and His power. And even today if I asked you, there’s probably something that fear and doubt are holding you back from doing in your life. Satan loves fear and doubt…but he’s also anxious…for he knows that if Believers would conquer their inner doubt and fear and grasp a hold of God’s truths…they could change the world for Christ.
The world doesn’t understand the trust Christians have in Jesus Christ…to them it is utter craziness. They view Christians as weak-willed people using religion as a crutch. So why wouldn’t the world mock us? It’s at that point though we have to make a decision of whether to allow the insults to discourage us or not. Elsewhere in Isaiah it says, “Because the Sovereign Lord helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore have I set my face like flint, and I know I will not be put to shame.” (Isaiah 50:7). Any and all fear can be faced with trust in the Lord.
Why do some decisions come easier than others? And why are there times when we are so indecisive and timid we can’t pull the trigger on anything? John 14:27 tells us, “Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” For it’s when we allow our emotions to rule us, we walk around, wringing our hands and crying, “Woe is me!” over the smallest decision. Couple that with fear of the unknown, and it’s amazing we make choices at all. Major life decisions will face all of us, but it’s only after seeking God’s counsel first and receiving His peace that we can confidently make the best choice.
When you’re waiting for important test results to come back…your head can be filled with questions, doubts, and uncertainty. But if you allow the Lord to take you back, He will show you the many times that He carried you through equally tough times. And with each event He brings to mind, your faith and trust grows…for you’ll see where He has worked mightily on your behalf. Jesus tells us in John 14:1, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in Me.” Total reliance and confidence in the Lord means that we no longer need to question God’s plan or purpose for our lives…for we know with certainty what He’s done for us in the past… will continue into the future.