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[thoughts] Fear (August 6-12, 2001)

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  • Mark Roth
    New autoresponder at Anabaptists: go-awp@anabaptists.org Now for this week s thoughts.... ... This edition goes out today to 1569 subscribers. Thank you! ...
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 5, 2001
      New autoresponder at Anabaptists:

      Now for this week's thoughts....

      This edition goes out today to 1569 subscribers. Thank you!

      Isaiah's Message to Ahaz
      (Isaiah 7:1-7,10-17)

      Dealing with the shivers.

      The king and his people got the shakes, much like trees shake in
      the wind. I don't blame them. I have experienced enough fear and
      unnerving at external threats that I can actually muster some
      understanding for their feelings. I don't doubt you also can
      identify with their fear. I hope, though, that we can deal with
      our fears in a more godly manner than they did.

      How *should* we deal with our fears, anyway?

      Long ago some Philistines tried an approach that certainly worked
      for them. They were encamped to do battle with the Israelites.
      They expected to win. Then they heard a great ringing shout from
      the Israelite camp. Upon investigation they learned the
      Israelites had the Ark of the Covenant to lead them into battle.
      The Philistines' first response was fear. They feared the God of
      Israel; they knew Israelite history. But then they got hold of
      themselves. In essence they encouraged themselves with words
      like, "Be strong and stand up to fight like men. Even if you
      expect to die in defeat, give a good accounting of yourselves.
      Fight!" (1 Samuel 4:5-9) Facing an outside threat and a bleak
      future, they turned to themselves for courage and strength. Like
      I say, it worked for them that time.

      Well, as Christians we know that turning to ourselves is not the
      right way to deal with our fears. Rather, we should . . . .

      REMEMBER AND REFOCUS. Fear comes when we forget God, what He has
      done, and what He has promised to do. Fear comes when we focus on
      the threat, on our inadequate resources to meet the threat, and
      on our fear itself.

      "Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD,
      which he will shew to you to day" (Exodus 14:13).

      "Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand
      ye still, and see the salvation of the LORD with you . . .fear
      not, nor be dismayed . . . for the LORD will be with you" (2
      Chronicles 20:17).

      "Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not:
      behold, your God will come . . . save you" (Isaiah 35:4).

      "So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not
      fear what man shall do unto me" (Hebrews 13:6).

      "I will not."

      God told Ahaz to do something, and Ahaz had an amazing reply: "I
      won't, LORD." Obviously Ahaz used the word *LORD* as a title and
      not as an expression of fealty. Peter had a similarly
      contradictory reply to something the Lord told him to do: "Not
      so, Lord" (Acts 10:14).

      OK. So we can detect the contradictions in those men. Good for
      us. Can we find them in our own lives and root them out? May God
      help us to do that. I definitely don't want Jesus wondering about
      me, "And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which
      I say?" (Luke 6:46).

      Have you ignored a prophet recently?

      I know I haven't ever had someone like Isaiah come to me with a
      direct message from God. You haven't either, have you. Before you
      think we're home free, though, think about this: "He that
      prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation,
      and comfort" (1 Corinthians 14:3). Oh my!



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