Fear

Standard

The Lord of hosts has a day against all that is proud and lofty, against all that is lifted up and high; against all the cedars of Lebanon, lofty and lifted up; and against all the oaks of Bashan; against all the high mountains, and against all the lofty hills; against every high tower, and against every fortified wall; against all the ships of Tarshish, and against all the beautiful craft. The haughtiness of people shall be humbled, and the pride of everyone shall be brought low; and the Lord alone will be exalted on that day. The idols shall utterly pass away. Enter the caves of the rocks and the holes of the ground, from the terror of the Lord, and from the glory of his majesty, when he rises to terrify the earth. On that day people will throw away to the moles and to the bats their idols of silver and their idols of gold, which they made for themselves to worship, to enter the caverns of the rocks and the clefts in the crags, from the terror of the Lord, and from the glory of his majesty, when he rises to terrify the earth. Turn away from mortals, who have only breath in their nostrils, for of what account are they? Isaiah 2:12-22 (NRSV)

We worship the things we fear. Does that sound strange? Out of all the animal kingdom, all the beautiful creatures that abound, why would Israel create golden bats and moles as idols? Because those creatures represented the things that destroyed their livestock and crops and therefore were to be feared. Dagon, the fish god of the Philistines was not represented as a tame dolphin, but as a fearsome sea creature who wielded the potential to terrorize the fishermen out at sea. All these things were worshipped out of fear.

Making idols of these terrifying things was a way of trying to bed in control of them. Sacrifices offered to such idols was thought to appease these creatures and forces of nature, making the people feel safer. But this is an illusion of control that only created greater superstitious behavior. When small sacrifices did not seem to keep them safe and happy, instead of abandoning the idols, they made bigger sacrifices. It was the same kind of mindset that plagues gambling addicts today, willing to trade away anything for a “system” they have that they believe guarantees success.

God consistently sets Himself apart from these idols as the one from whom we really have reason to fear… and yet, the one whom comes to us gently. He is the Almighty who comes to us as an infant, lying in a manger-turned-cradle. He does not break idols with his fierceness, but merely by his gentle presence, for his kindness is stronger than any other spiritual force that can come against Him, or those He calls His own.

The Psalmist wrote, “I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from?” He recognized that we have nothing to fear but God, and God does not desire our fear, but our love. God does not always rise up as a fearsome adversary, but sometimes he steps away and leaves us to our own devices.

Just look at the people of Israel during the time of the birth of Jesus. Those who were looking for God managed to find Him in the most unlikely of places – whether they came from near or far. Those who were not looking for God but were merely looking out for themselves never got to see Him at all and would suffer consequences on their own afterwards. It some cases it became a matter of life and death as those who had no room for the infant Jesus and who cowered in fear before King Herod lost their infant children as the king sent guards from house to house intending to kill the infant Jesus.

God wants us all to move beyond our fears of anything and everything. He wants us to find hope in Him. He wants us to worship Him, the only one who is truly in control and can change our lives for the better.

  • Where do you most experienced fear in your life?
  • What do you do when you experience fear?
  • How does worship bring you relief from fear?

I know who goes before me

I know who stands behind

The God of angel armies

Is always by my side

The one who reigns forever

He is a friend of mine

The God of angel armies

Is always by my side

Thursday December 1, 2016

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s