“Fear or Trust?”
Message summary: God continues to speak, “Fear not”. We must act upon His loving command if we are to have deep abiding peace and growing trust in the One who truly cares for those who belong to Him.
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“After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward” (Genesis 15:1). “Fear not; I am the first and the last: I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death” (Revelation 1:17,18).
We live in an agricultural area and several times a year we experience one of the least pleasant aspects of “living out in the country”, the application of organic fertilizer (AKA animal manure). Don’t misunderstand me, we love country living, but this particular aspect of living in the country is very unpleasant, especially the odor!
This week they are using a dragline with a large hose running all the way from the manure pit on a huge dairy farm about 1 mile east of us to the vast farm fields across from our house.
They pump the material from the pit to a booster pump up the road from our house then to a tractor that applies the slurry-like waste to the fields. It’s not a pleasant site but, due to the rains we have had this week, the odor has been minimal. For the curiously-minded like me it has actually been rather interesting to watch.
Since they don’t spray on the tractor trail this hasn’t kept Brooksyne from walking with our two younger dogs, Mollie and Sadie. Monday was warm and pleasant so not only was Brooksyne taking in the view and enjoying the exercise but the dogs were also busy sniffing groundhog holes and watching squirrels at play.
But as they approached the hose that lay across the trail (pictured above) both dogs came to a screeching halt and refused to budge. From their midget level the strange red hose was an intruder, not usually part of the walk, and it was sheer terror to them!
What made it worse, not only for the dogs but Brooksyne as well, is that the hose suddenly inflated and made a very loud popping noise as the manure sludge made its way through the line. She feared it might spring a leak which would certainly bring their pleasant walk to a screaming halt, Brooksyne doing the screaming, of course. As she told me about her experience we both recalled a humorous scene from “RV”!
We open with this lighthearted illustration about the dogs’ fear but certainly there are many situations in life that induce fear, some logical, others not so much. Fierce storms, financial issues and terrorist threats number among so many other troubles that instill fear. At the time we write this the news we are all hearing about is the coronavirus. There’s always something that can create fear.
Fear is generally thought of as negative but there is a positive aspect of fear as well. We are told in Scripture to “fear God”, although this is different than all other kinds of fear, having more the sense of reverence and awe. I have preached a sermon on the healthy, holy fear of God, something lacking greatly in the world and even in the Church. Now so many see and even refer to the Holy God as the “man upstairs”. His glorious name is without a doubt the most maligned proper name in the English language.
Fear itself is first expressed in the Bible shortly after the transgression in the garden when Adam said to God, “I was afraid” (Genesis 3:10). The remainder of the Bible is full of many expressions of human fear for a wide variety of reasons. It’s still that way today and people seem to keep coming up with new causes for fear!
I find great assurance in the tiny phrase found often in Scripture translated “Fear not” in the King James Version (generally “Do not be afraid” in many other versions). This “Fear not” phrase is found from Genesis to Revelation. In today’s Scripture texts we have both the first and last occurrences in the Bible.
Today we encourage you to listen carefully for the voice of our heavenly Father. He speaks gently to your heart reminding you to put your confidence in Him. Some of you are really struggling with fear as you read this. It’s crippling you spiritually and emotionally and perhaps even physically. When I take the time to stop and really consider my emotions I realize that I experience fear and anxiety most when I’m not trusting in what God has said or what He has shown me through His character traits or what He has revealed to me through my fearful experiences in life.
God continues to speak, “Fear not”. We must act upon His loving command if we are to have deep abiding peace and growing trust in the One who truly cares for those who belong to Him.
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, I will not fear for You have redeemed me and called me by name. You know when I pass through the waters and You have promised to be with me; when I cross through the rivers they will not sweep over me. When I walk through the fire I will not be burned for You walk with me. Though trials may engulf me and tempt me to be paralyzed by fear, I can overcome the enemy of fear just as Jesus overcame the power of death. May the resurrected power of Jesus subside my fears and doubts while building my faith and trust in the Holy One of Israel. Amen.