“Only do not rebel against the Lord. And do not fear the people of the land, for they are bread for us. Their protection is removed from them, and the Lord is with us. Do not fear them.”
These words come from Caleb and Joshua, who had gone with the spies into the Promised Land. When they came back, all the other spies were saying, “This land is beautiful, it’s wonderful, it’s awesome, but the people in the land are too much for us. We can’t take this land.” This land that God has promised them.
We are prone to be anxious and afraid. The exhortation of Scripture is to take God at His Word. Lord, help us to trust in You. Replace our fear with faith.
This is one of the seminal moments in all the Old Testament that the rest of scripture points back to, because in the face of God’s Promised Land, God’s promised blessing before them, the people of God chose fear over faith. They chose not to trust God. They chose to fear man instead, and the reality is every single one of us in our lives is tempted to do the same over and over and over again. God has promised blessing to us, in obedience to His Word, and yet, we are so often afraid. Whenever we have taken spiritual surveys, here at McLean Bible Church in Greater Washington D.C., and asked people what they struggle with in their faith, fear is always at the top of the list. Always.
And we are so tempted to fear so many things. We fear the unknown. We fear the rejection of men and women. We fear so many different things, we’re anxious about so many different things, and God has not called us to live in fear. Nowhere in scripture, in fact, over and over and over again, he says do not fear, do not fear, do not fear, which shows us, well two things. One, we are prone to fear. That’s why we see that command over and over and over again, because we’re prone to be afraid. We’re prone to be anxious, we’re prone to worry, we’re prone to not trust God. But the exhortation over and over again is you can trust God, choose faith over fear. Believe God. Believe God’s Word. Believe God’s promises.
When 1 John says, “Perfect love casts out fear.” Believe God’s love for you. So, God help us we pray. We are a people prone to fear in so many different ways. I’d start to list ’em, but God I’m guessing even across those who are praying right now to this podcast, we fear in all kinds of different ways. So help us to see what we are afraid of. Help us to see what causes us to be anxious, what causes us to worry.
And God we pray that you would replace that fear, and anxiety, and anxiousness. We pray that you replace it with faith, with trust in you, with trust in your love, with trust in your promises, with faith in the blessing you have promised to lead us into. God help us to choose faith over fear in every area of our lives, and our families, and your church, in everything we do. God help us to trust you, to obey you, even when we’re walking into unknowns, and it feels like the challenges are many around us. Help us not to rebel against you. Help us not in the words of Caleb and Joshua, “Not to fear the people of the land.” To know that you are with us. Therefore, we have nothing to fear.
If you are for us, Romans 8, then who or what can stand against us. God help us to live in that faith. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
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