For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7(NLT)
The reality TV show called “Fear Factor” displays people facing up to their fears. Some things they have to do are really disgusting. They eat worms, bugs, and parts of formerly living creatures! I do not qualify [ever] as a contestant!
What is your greatest fear? Is it sickness, the unexpected big bill, an accident, growing old? Is it death, losing your good looks, spiders…really big spiders?
What exactly IS fear? There are many synonyms used to identify fear, like worry, nightmare, terror, and phobia. New words are being coined all the time to name the different kinds of fear. There is fear of closed-in places, claustrophobia. There are people who are afraid to leave the familiar confines of their homes, agoraphobia. I used to love to climb trees as a kid; now I can’t stand heights; there must be a word for it – perhaps oak-a-phobia…it’s a phobia, a fear!
We have all experienced what it feels like to fear. Fear can rob you of your life. That happens when you begin, because of fear, to play it safe. Playing it safe is the ultimate result of intimidation which is the prime medium for fear.
For the balance of this week we are going to focus on the pattern that emerges from the life and ministry of Nehemiah – how he handled fear in himself, and others.
I want to do this because we are living in a fearful time of terrorists, like al Qaeda, ISIS and a host of other evils.
Nehemiah faced the fear of terrorists in his day. He had enemies who plotted to cause confusion and discouragement among those who were working with him to rebuild the Temple.
Had Nehemiah played it safe, he would have thrown-in with his enemies and the walls of Jerusalem would have remained in rubble. He would have gotten an “A” for political-correctness, but God in heaven would have been shaking His head in disgust!
The thought came to mind recently that our culture today reeks of the same kind of mindset people had in Noah’s day:
The Lord observed the extent of human wickedness on the earth, and he saw that everything they thought or imagined was consistently and totally evil. So the Lord was sorry he had ever made them and put them on the earth. It broke his heart. And the Lord said, “I will wipe this human race I have created from the face of the earth. Yes, and I will destroy every living thing—all the people, the large animals, the small animals that scurry along the ground, and even the birds of the sky. I am sorry I ever made them.” Genesis 6:5-7(NLT)
Well, if playing it safe is so wrong, what’s the game plan, coach?
In a word – faith!
Faith was a good game plan for Nehemiah, and it will work even with the worst terrorists on the loose!
The question we will deal with this week is: How do we follow God in the face of our most overwhelming fears?
You’ve got homework, so get busy. Read Exodus 33 and Nehemiah 4; the background will help make our time together more fruitful.
We’re working on hiding His precious word in our hearts; you need that today more than ever!