Weather report from heaven: Sunny and bright with an abundance of light, and lots of singing and rejoicing.
Scripture- “He said: “Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the Lord says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.”- 2 Chronicles 20:15
Insight:This week we have been discussing words that describe the general mood of how people have been feeling globally since the onset of the Pandemic, and many of the other problems we are collectively facing, such as political unrest and much failed global leadership. We have looked at anxiety and confusion, and today we will discuss fear. Fear is an emotion that can debilitate us if we are not aware of where to find the antidote for it. Many times throughout the Bible, God tells us to “fear not,” but this is much easier said than done. The honest truth is many times if we are looking at our problems or challenges from our own perspective,capabilities or resources, fear would be the only natural response. However, what the Bible tells us over and over again is to overcome our fears by seeing those very same problems and challenges not through our abilities, but by realizing that these battles belong to God. We must admit when problems like the ones facing the world today are simply too big for us to handle. We must give them over to God, for he must fight certain battles on our behalf, especially ones that are completely out of our control like a global pandemic.
The scripture above from 2 Chronicles 20:15 is a great illustration of what it looks like to admit your need for God to intervene in your situation in order to eradicate fear. Israel was surrounded by a mighty army, and the Midianites and Ammonites were way too big and powerful for them to defeat on their own. But King Jehoshaphat had earlier remembered the Lord’s past deliverance for Israel and His unmatched power and he gave his people an alternative for their fear. They could instead place their trust solely in the Lord and call on His omnipotence to bring them the victory. Listen to his plea in 2 Chronicle 20:5-6 : “Then Jehoshaphat stood up in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem at the temple of the Lord in the front of the new courtyard and said: “Lord, the God of our ancestors, are you not the God who is in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. Power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand you.” He transferred the people’s fear for God’s power. He admitted that Israel needed God’s deliverance and He acknowledged God’s unparalleled ability to deliver.Sometimes, it simply comes down to trust. Do we really trust the God who spoke the Universe into existence and hung all the stars in the sky and called them by name (Psalm 19:1-6) is big enough to handle our problems and challenges? Sometimes, we must acknowledge our weakness and call upon God’s strength, and then we must believe He is capable.
God’s word and His promises in the Bible are the only real antidote for the deep fear that grips us and causes us to become almost paralyzed. Isaiah 41:10 says “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” What a great promise.This verse has helped me and countless others continue on when our fear and pain was so deep, that every single breath was a challenge. The next thought seemed miles away, but somehow God’s word has the power to sustain us even through our biggest fears. I will end with one of my favorite Psalms that gives me comfort and hope, even when my fear is smothering me and trying to steal my joy. I will not let it, because the Lord tells us to “fear not” over 82 times in the Bible, and I have no other answers but to just trust in Him. Psalm 46 “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day. Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall he lifts his voice, the earth melts. The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Come and see what the Lord has done, the desolations he has brought on the earth. He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth. He breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the shields with fire. He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.”
Prayer: Father God, if we are honest, fear is rampant right now. But we can choose to put all of our trust in You, and You tell us to fear not; So that is what we will do. We will admit how fearful we are about so many things and humbly ask for your help. We need your strength to gain the victories for us Lord that we cannot gain on our own. In Jesus’ mighty name we pray. Amen!