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Be Not Afraid
from Pastor Job

We live in a world that, in my view, has two extremes. On the one hand we have those who live in fear. They worry about what may happen to them in the storms of life. They look at changes and are fearful. They seek answers in the wrong places, look for peace of mind where no peace exists. They don’t know where to turn.

The other extreme looks only at themselves. With an arrogance that says they have the ability to fix it themselves, a misplaced confidence that sooner or later leads them to the wrong place, the place of failure. The members of both extremes arrive at a place where there is no hope and their world falls apart.

Let’s look at the story of the end of Moses life. He was 120 years old and it was time for him to turn the leadership over to Joshua. The story in Deuteronomy 31 gives the sense that there was fear among the people of Israel. They were to cross the Jordan River into the land God promised them. They faced the enemy and they were facing them without Moses at the helm. Perhaps they considered it unthinkable to face the task without the leader who had led them for over forty years, a leader who had been patient with them, had kept them on the straight and narrow, a leader who walked so close with God that at one point his face radiated the holiness of God. And now they were stepping into a lot of unknowns.

The people were missing the most important point. Theirs was a world where the Living God ruled and everything was under His watchful eye. The world they faced was a scary world and nothing they could do would change that. But God reminded them that He was still in control and He would lead them through the difficult and dark days. Listen to God’s words to his people, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified…for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you or forsake you.” God did not say to his people that He may just find the time or the grace to go with them. Nor did he say He would walk with them. He promised he would be right up front and he would NEVER forsake them.

In the same passage God also predicts there will be those who would confide in their own strength. Moses says to them, “I know how rebellious and stiff-necked you are, you are sure to become utterly corrupt and you will do evil in the sight of the Lord.”
Many years later we see a similar scenario. In Isaiah 40 we see that the corrupt and stiff-necked people among the Israelites have become so predominant that God is going to lead them down a very dark road into captivity in Babylon. And that happened. But he also addresses the faithful. “Do not fear, for I am with you: do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my right hand.”

We live in a world where the future is so unknown. We don’t know what lies ahead or where we are going. Just because you believe in Jesus Christ as your Saviour does not guarantee an easy road. So many Christians have known extreme hardships and that won’t change. I have known many people, many believers, who have had a tough life. Yet their faith was so solid, unshakeable! Deep into the core of their being they understood the words: Be strong and courageous, the Lord will never leave you or forsake you.

And that is what God is calling us to do each day. We have a choice to make – are we part of the world that consists of stiff-necked people and have no regard for our Holy God and precious Saviour, a world that is apathetic toward the Lord and believe they can do all in their own strength? Or are we part of those who are searching and live so much of life in fear? Or, are we part of that people who knows the Living and Holy God through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ? When God said to his people to be strong and courageous because he would never forsake them, it was more far-reaching than moving into the Promised Land. It was really pointing ahead to Christ, the Worthy Lamb who was slain on our behalf to pay the debt of our own rebelliousness and then pointing farther ahead to the day of Christ’s return when He will take all his own to a new heaven and earth. This doesn’t mean life is easy. But it does mean that for the believer there is not only hope, but a guarantee that God will be with us all the way into eternity. Living in fear is not the answer; living in our own strength is not the answer; surrendering our lives to Christ and trusting in Him, in the power and confidence of the Holy Spirit – that will make us strong and courageous, and that will lead us into each day without fear. I recently heard a gospel hymn that keeps sounding in my head. The refrain goes like this:

I can’t even walk without YOU holding my hand, the mountain’s too high and the valley too wide,
Down on my knees I learned how to stand, I can’t even walk without YOU holding my hand.

Blessings from the
St. Andrew's Family

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