Right now as America is in the middle of protests, riots, looting, and vandalism across our land, a new fear has reared its ugly head. With COVID 19, it was fear of the unknown, but with the onslaught of these violent public disturbances the fear has become much more personal in nature. That’s why these verses in Isaiah are so important for us today. We don’t need to dread, or be fearful of harm or danger because our God is not only our kinsman redeemer but also our avenger. He is always with us even when we go through fire and water, bringing us to a place of abundance. (Psalm 66:12) That’s because we are His treasured possession, (Deuteronomy 7:6) and He will fight for us; we need only to be still.(Exodus 14:14)
The apostle Paul who wrote this is probably one of the best examples of someone who looked beyond discouragement and refused to give in to despair. For here Paul calls the overwhelming mental, physical, and spiritual distress he has endured as “light and momentary troubles.” But how could he do this? The answer is simple…he was allowing the Lord to renew and restore his mind daily…or as Colossians 3:10 tells us, “Put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.” When we become discouraged, fearful, or overcome with the current troubles in the world today, we need to be reminded that as we go through all these hardships, they are achieving for us righteousness and eternal glory for His namesake. Therefore, we do not lose heart.
Angels of the Lord had warned Lot and his family of the impending destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah… and to flee and not look back. But even with the warning…Lot’s wife still turned back towards what once had been her life and lost it. Jesus also reminds us of this in Luke 17:32, when He told His disciples, “Don’t go back.” So why are we so prone to do exactly what the Lord tells us not to? When our fear of the unknown outweighs our faith in God…we go back. And when anxiety supersedes what we know in our heart to be true, our mind goes back to familiar coping mechanisms…allowing fear to crowd out our confidence in God.
It’s part of life here on earth…trials, illness, and loss are inevitable. Jeremiah 8:15 sums it up very well how we can feel at these times, ” We hoped for peace but no good has come, for a time of healing but there was only terror.” In these fearful, confusing times we long for the light at the end of the tunnel…but all we see is darkness. “He has blocked my way so I cannot pass…” In this verse, the Hebrew word for blocked is gadar – which means to build or heap up stones to make a wall. We sometimes do feel walled in or blocked off… but know God may be also protecting you from unseen evil you know nothing about. In those dark times, we need to put all our trust in the Lord and wait for the storm to pass.
A Holy Spirit empowered ministry is bold and fearless. Psalm 138:3 says, “You made me bold and stout-hearted.” And this Scripture is so true…for under our own power we’re nothing but scaredy-cats. It’s the Holy Spirit that endows our soul, spirit, and self with confidence and courage. It’s the Holy Spirit that gives us the trust to place our total dependence and hope on God alone.
Fear is a demoralizing force that will stop you in your tracks. Fear takes your eyes off God and onto to the scary circumstances swirling around you. Genesis 28:15 tells us, “I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go…” Just remember, there is no place you will ever find yourself that is beyond the reach of God.
The writer of Hebrews is paraphrasing Habakkuk 2:3-4 in this passage. He’s stressing that our spiritual walk is made up of constant, focused, decisions to trust and obey the Lord…even when we can’t see change. He warns us against retreating or drawing back from trials simply out of fear. If you’re in the middle of a storm today, don’t allow fear to rule your life…don’t hesitate when apprehension rises in your throat…rather make a conscious decision to listen to that still small voice of the Holy Spirit and walk by faith.
In this scripture, God is commanding Joshua to lead the Children of Israel into the Promised Land. To the human mind this was an almost impossible undertaking…moving a vast sea of humanity from point A to point B. But the Lord is girding up Joshua’s loins so to speak by commanding him to be brave and fearless…to look beyond what he saw to what God envisioned for them. The Lord may have a scary scenario coming up this year for you…when He calls, will you step out with the same determination and boldness as Joshua did, or allow the fear of impossibility to take over?
With maturity in the Lord comes new boldness and confidence. A strong Christian walk seasons and prepares us so that when fear threatens, we can face it without anxiety and insecurity. The time is now to face that fear head on…don’t allow it to control and dominate your life…for that fear causes you to forfeit your peace and wellbeing.