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May 28, 2016

Text: “ And all the people of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The whole congregation said to them, “Would that we had died in the land of Egypt! Or would that we had died in this wilderness! Why is the Lord bringing us into this land, to fall by the sword? Our wives and our little ones will become a prey. Would it not be better for us to go back to Egypt?”  Numbers 14:2-3

Fear is the most devastating menace in our lives. It is the 900 pound gorilla that lives in each of our closets of phobias.  Fear terrorizes us all, bashes us all, de-energizes us all, immobilizes us all, distracts us all, defeats us all, etc. Don’t boast to everyone that you are never afraid. Satan has a powerful weapon he arrays against us. Yes, God wants to help us all mange our fears, but we keep thwarting him!

Two years after being liberated from Egyptian bondage the Israelites camped on the south of the promised land poised to enter. Moses chose 12 men to reconnoiter Canaan and return with an assessment of the land and the populace.After 40 days they returned. They reported of the land: It flows with milk and honey…” (Numbers 14:27b)  But of the inhabitants the spies said, “… the people who dwell in the land are strong, and the cities are fortified and very large. And besides, we saw the descendants of Anak there.” Numbers 13:28  The response of the Israelites is in our text above. The fortified cities of the land and their seasoned warriors cowered the former slaves and they sided with the 10 negative spies and shrank from the confidence of Caleb and Joshua. They embraced the fears of failure and abandoned the power of God who could give them victory; all because of fear!

What is behind your fears?  Do you act cowardly because of threats? Bullying (aka intimidation) has been around a long time. David got that treatment from Goliath. The Philistine said to David, “Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the air and to the beasts of the field.”” I Chronicles 17:44 No wonder we have so many complaints of bullying in schools! Do we quake because of negative repercussions? Face the music and stand up for the right  despite supposed bad results. Neville Chamberlain would not stand up against the Nazis, but Winston Churchill did!  Being buffaloed by fear of the unknown undermines many a possible undertaking.  Face the unknown only when it materializes.  “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Matthew 6:34 For your own sanity live “one day at a time”.  Do not be immobilized by “urban legends” in our culture. Someone is always hooting about some big catastrophe of nature. Others frighten the public with predictions of “World War III”, economic meltdown, etc. Walk boldly into the future hand in hand with God!  “It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” Deuteronomy 31:8

Challenge your fears and oppose them.  Fears are formidable. Exercise your faith to overcome your nemeses. Question your fears with grave self-examination.  Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.” II Corinthians 13:5  Ask yourself, “Do I allow fear to conquer my confidence and optimism?” You might have a big dose of complacency. You have become inured to your situation and don’t want to rock the boat. Or, perhaps you are  overly cautious to the point of fear. The Jews sought the arrest of Jesus and he escaped across the Jordan river, but news came from his friends Mary and Martha that their brother Lazarus was ill.  A few days later he and his disciples set out for Bethany, a suburb of Jerusalem, where the Lord would be vulnerable again to arrest. The disciple we call “doubting Thomas”, called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.” John 11:14  Poor Thomas was mired in fear! On the other hand, ask yourself, “Does my faith conquer my fear?There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.” I John 4:18a 

Jesus encourages us thusly, “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” Luke 12:32




One Comment
  1. Larry permalink

    I do like this one. There’s so much to be fearful of these days. I need to hear lessons like this.
    And, I am always amazed at your vocabulary ability. It enlivens and deepens your message.–ls

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