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The Dark Shadow of Fear

Sennacherib, King of Assyria laid siege on Judah during the reign of King Hezekiah (Isaiah 36:1). During the siege, Sennacherib sent word to King Hezekiah “Do you think that mere words are strategy and power for war? In whom do you  now trust, that you have rebelled against me?” (Isaiah 36:5) He was using the tool a fear to motivate Judah to do what he wanted, thinking there was no greater force than his army.

It worked. Hezekiah feared. So Hezekiah prayed to God (Isaiah 37:1) and God assured that Sennacherib would not prevail against Jerusalem (vs. 35). This helped to assuage the fear of Hezekiah.

Do we fear from time to time? Does it affect our decisions?

Some Fears are Healthy

When working with wild animals, large machinery, or in dangerous jobs, it is good to recognize threats and have a healthy fear of those things. It would also be wise to have a healthy fear for our eternal soul.

Matthew 10:28  And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear  him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

Satan Can Cause Us to Doubt

We need each other at times to get us through this life. If we are alone in some situations we can begin to fear for our circumstances. Fear can cause us to block out help from others when it comes. Anxiety and panic fall in this category. Satan uses these times to bring doubt in our situation and in God. God is our greatest source of confidence in these times. 

James 1:5-8  If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.  (6)  But let him ask in faith, with no doubting,  for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.  (7)   For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord;  (8)  he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

Sometimes we look for physical answers to things that no one but God can provide. Look to God and rely on Him because He is the only source of cleansing for the problems we have created in our lives. 

Isaiah 1:18  “Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.

God Loves Us Even if We Previously Denied Him

Deuteronomy 30:1-3  “And when all these things come upon you, the blessing and the curse, which  I have set before you, and you call them to mind among all the nations where the LORD  your God has driven you,  (2)  and return to the LORD your God, you and your children,  and obey his voice in all that I command you today, with all your heart and with all your  soul,  (3)  then the LORD your God will restore your fortunes and have mercy on you,  and he will gather you again from all the peoples where the LORD your God has  scattered you.

God told His people that if they turn in repentance to Him that He would deliver them. We have to give ourselves over to God and His ways in order to reap the benefits of safety in the love of God. He is not a tyrant who is looking for any reason to keep us out of heaven and He gives us every opportunity, through His patience, to repent and turn to Him. 

Take for example the terrible things that David did to get Bathsheba, including murdering her husband. Yet he was able to turn back to God and had no need to fear God’s wrath.

Psalm 51:1-4  A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet went to him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba. Have mercy on me, O God,  according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.  (2)  Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin!   (3)  For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.  (4)  Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment.

Hezekiah knew who to turn to in His fear. He knew he could go to God when he could turn to no one else and that God would have an answer. We need to understand that God has the answers for us. We should encourage and help one another where we can but we should place our greatest trust in God. 

Remember the Prodigal Son? He wasted his inheritance, wasted his life, and lived a terrible and selfish life. But he came to his senses and went back to his father. His father had not written his son off. He was watching in longing to wait for the return of his son. That is what God does for us. 

God Provides Strength to Overcome Fear

God is all powerful and has the power to comfort our fears and provide guidance. 

Genesis 15:1  After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: “Fear not,  Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.”

Like God told Abraham not to fear because He was there for him, He is also there for us. We only have to go to him. Those who trust in God have a Father who will carry them through the rough patches of life. Sometimes the path is too long, the way is too rough, or the valley to deep and those are the times when the loving father will carry his child. Do you trust God to do that for you?

1 Peter 3:13-14  Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good?  (14)  But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of  them, nor be troubled, Hebrews 13:5-6  Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have,  for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”  (6)  So we can confidently say,  “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”

So how did Hezekiah’s story end? Hezekiah’s trust in God was well founded. The army of Sennacherib was decimated in the night and what threat that remained by morning fled and returned from where it came. Do you let God decimate your fear? 

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