Friday, March 15, 2013
"Fear Not!" God is With You.
Western culture has a bad case of "truth decay."
For most of us, the natural reaction to instability and change is fear. Uncertainty motivates anxiety, and there is much uncertainty about the future.
This is nothing new. God's people have repeatedly faced the temptation to fear. In bondage to the Babylonians, and their homeland destroyed, the ancient Jews had every rational reason to fear, yet through the prophet, Isaiah, God repeatedly told them "fear not." Here are some of the verses. In each case God commands his people to "fear not," then gives them a solid reason to reject fear and anxiety.
35:4 "Fear not...your God will come and save you."
40:9 "Fear not...behold your God."
41:10 "Fear not, for I am with you."
41:13 "Fear not, I am the One who helps you."
41:14 "Fear not...your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel."
43:1 "Fear not, for I have redeemed you. I have called you by name. You are mine."
43:5 "Fear not, for I am with you"
44:2 "Fear not..." I have chosen you.
44:8 "Fear not..." There is no god besides me.
51:7 "Fear not the reproach of man...for the moth will eat them up like a garment."
54:4 "Fear not, for you will not be ashamed."
Here is a summary of why God commanded the Israelites to "fear not." He will come to save us, he is with us, and he helps us. He is the Holy One of Israel, besides whom there is no other. He has redeemed us. He has called us by name. We belong to him. He has chosen us. He has no god beside him. Those who oppose us are irrelevant, like moth-eaten garments. We could go on and on.
The question is this: Do we really believe all of this? We should because ultimately, God's peace will swallow up all strife. "Of the increase of his government, and of peace, there will be no end" (Isa. 9:7).
In the meantime, the road might be bumpy. What to do? Here is Isaiah's counsel. "You keep him in perfect peace because his mind is stayed on you because he trusts in you" (Isa 26:3). Rivet your eyes on Christ, not our rapidly changing cultural circumstances.
For those who do this God will give "the peace of God that passes all understanding" (Phil. 4:7), and "joy inexpressible and full of glory" (1 Pet. 1:8).