Devotions & Essays, Uncategorized

What Are You Afraid Of?

A Devotional for the Pipestone County Star

What are you afraid of? I asked this question on Facebook and received a variety of good answers, including:  

Flying. Darkness. Snakes. Spiders. Thunder. Boredom. Failure. Drowning. Heights. The unknown. Getting old. Obsolescence. Loss. Commitment. Success. Tornadoes. The future. Being forgotten. Horses. Mice. Bugs. Bats. Public speaking. Sickness. Unemployment. Rejection. Losing my freedoms. COVID 19. Death.

Each of these are legitimate fears. They have the potential to do us harm, bring us suffering. But the worst part of fear is the damage it can do spiritually. Fear causes us to doubt God’s promises, which turns to idolatry. Idolatry is fearing, loving, and trusting in something or someone other than the one true God. Such fear is just misplaced. We need another fear: the fear of the Lord.

“The fear of the Lord” is a key concept throughout the Old Testament, but it is frequently misunderstood. The word fear often has a negative connotation, namely, to be frightened of something or someone. But when referring to a person of high position, it takes on the idea of standing in awe or reverence before that individual. God is our Creator, and He is our Savior. How can we ever think of God with indifference or treat Him lightly? This fear is closely related to trust because we can truly respect and reverence God only when we believe that He is everything that His Word says He is.

The fear of the Lord drives away fear. King David writes: “I sought the Lord, and He answered me and delivered me from all my fears… The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him, and delivers them… Oh, fear the Lord, you His saints, for those who fear Him have no lack!” (Psalm 34:4, 7, 9).

In other words, when we fear God, there is nothing else to be afraid of!

So, what are you afraid of? God’s Word has an answer for you.

Are you afraid of the unknown? Jesus encourages His disciples of all ages, “Do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds!” (Luke 12:22-24).

Afraid of the future? “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).

Afraid of others? “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid” (Psalm 27:1).

Afraid of being alone? The Lord assures, “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through the fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you” (Isaiah 43:1b-2).

Afraid of sickness and death? The Lord is with you even there. The psalmist confesses: “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me, Your rod and your staff, they comfort me” (Psalm 23:4).

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