Monday, March 31, 2014

Fear versus Faith

Fear versus Faith
Scripture Reading: Exodus 14-1-31
“As Pharaoh and his army approached, the people of Israel could see them in the distance, marching toward them. The people began to panic, and they cried out to the Lord for help.” (Exodus 14:10 NLT)
When my boys were young we loved to go camping at Big Spring State Park in Missouri. In the evening we sat around our campfire watching the flickering flames and listened to the chirping of crickets, the hooting of owls, and the yapping of coyotes. Sounds at night always seem closer than they really are, and noises in the forest are especially scary. Ghostlike shadows make the hair on the back of one’s neck rise and feelings of fear emerge. Darkness has a way of doing this to a person.
     That’s what happened to Israel when they left Egypt for the Promised Land. God led the people by the way of the wilderness to the Red Sea. Pharaoh allowed them to go, but then God changed Pharaoh’s mind (Ex. 14:4 NASB). The people stood facing the Red Sea and looked back and saw the Egyptian army pursuing them. They were literally trapped. Great fear gripped their hearts. What were they to do? Why did God allow this to happen? The answer is given in Ex. 14:4. “I have planned this so I will receive glory at the expense of Pharaoh and his armies. After this, the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord.” (NLT)
     The purpose of God’s glory is to show that God is God. Our tirals and tribulations are intended to bring God glory. Each difficulty we face gives us an opportunity to show the watching world that God is greater than any adversity we encounter.
     On several occasions Peter allowed emotional fear to overwhelm his faith; once when he saw Jesus walking on the water (Mt 14:30), and again while standing by the courtyard fire at the trial of Jesus (Mt. 26:74-75). It is important to note that Jesus never gave up on Peter. When Jesus arose from the grave following his death and burial, he immediately sought out Peter and restored him back into fellowship.  
     Fear is one of the tactics that Satan uses to keep us in bondage. Living in constant fear stymies our spiritual growth, and leaves us vulnerable to other destructive attacks.
How do we live free of fear?  First, we need to recognize that God is sovereign and in control of every situation.  Second, He reveals himself to us in ways we least expect. Third, he gives us a great promise, “…fear not for I am with you. I will never leave you. I will never forsake you. (Heb. 13:5).  

Prayer: Dear Lord, Help me to remember that you are greater than any fear. 

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