Fearful words?

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Fear brings out the worst in us! History’s ugliest moments were often made possible by fear that grew irrational or that was wrongly focused, giving grounds for atrocities unthinkable in more peaceful times.

Frightening tales of impending doom can provide powerful motivation for change. Tragically, people can be, and often are, exploited by leaders who use propaganda to stoke fear and gain cover for making war, building concentration camps, or persecuting some minority group.

In the book of Numbers, which tells the story of the journey of the people of Israel to the Promised Land, we learn that the Lord told Moses to send 12 men into Canaan to scout the land for the invasion. What they saw was amazing! “A land flowing with milk and honey,” they reported. They also saw some challenges – strong people and fortified cities.

Fear possessed ten of the men. They “spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored. They said, “The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size.” (Numbers 13:32, NIV)

That report went viral! Overnight, these people who were led by the Lord, who were fed daily by miraculous manna, who had the promise of His ongoing Presence, became irrationally fearful. From that fear grew a demand to return to slavery in Egypt. Fear so blinded them that they preferred the familiar past to God’s promised future! In days, they were plotting a rebellion, even attempting to kill Moses at one point!

Then, God drew the line and pronounced His judgment – “You will not enter and occupy the land I swore to give you. The only exceptions will be Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun. ” ‘You said your children would be carried off as plunder. Well, I will bring them safely into the land, and they will enjoy what you have despised. But as for you, you will drop dead in this wilderness.” (Numbers 14:30-32, NLT)  For the next 40 years, the Israelites remained a refugee nation as the entire generation died off, one by one.

Such is the ripple effect of fearful words that create panic and rebellion!

Twelve men saw the real difficulties that were part of the process of owning the Promised Land, but only two had faith. Ten failed to set God’s faithfulness against Canaan’s difficulties. Fear owned them. Their negative report destroyed an entire generation.

Disciple, do you live with faith or fear in control of your mind and heart?

Faith doesn’t ask us to ignore reality. Some mistakenly think that acknowledging that life is hard, or that circumstances are not favorable, or that the future is unclear are evidences of a lack of faith. Not at all! The mission of the men sent into Canaan was to gain a truthful, reality-based view of what was ahead. Moses told them to “See what the land is like, and find out whether the people living there are strong or weak, few or many. See what kind of land they live in. Is it good or bad? Do their towns have walls, or are they unprotected like open camps?” (Numbers 13:18-19, NLT)

Knowing the challenges could have given reason to exercise faith in God and His promise. “Go up and take the land!” Their mission was not to be a feasibility study. It was to prepare a strategic plan to implement the will of God. When we really know what we are up against, but choose to be obedient to God’s direction – we show the most authentic faith!  Fantasy has nothing to do with real faith. Dreams are often just the product of our wishes unfettered by reality. Vision is faith-based, seeing the world as it could be as the Spirit leads us to become catalysts for change.

So, what is the real situation in your life today?

You can complain, react in fear, and refuse to follow the Lord. If you do, your fear can create terrible consequences for your family, your church, and your community.  Or, you can choose faith. You can say, “I couldn’t be more sure of my ground—the One I’ve trusted in can take care of what He’s trusted me to do right to the end.” (2 Timothy 1:12, The Message) Faith also has a ripple effect, infusing entire communities with hope, stirring people to accomplish wonderful things with God’s leading.

Our word from the Word is a familiar one. As you read it, pray that the Spirit will still voices of fear and give you ears for His leading.

“What is faith? It is the confident assurance that what we hope for is going to happen. It is the evidence of things we cannot yet see. God gave his approval to people in days of old because of their faith.” (Hebrews 11:1-2, NLT)  “So, you see, it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that there is a God and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6, NLT)

_____________

Who You Say I Am

(Listen to this anthem of faith at this link)

Who am I that the highest King
Would welcome me
I was lost but He brought me in
Oh His love for me
Oh His love for me

Who the Son sets free
Oh is free indeed
I’m a child of God
Yes I am

Free at last
He has ransomed me
His grace runs deep
While I was a slave to sin
Jesus died for me
Yes He died for me

In my Father’s house
There’s a place for me
I’m a child of God
Yes I am

I am chosen not forsaken
I am who You say I am
You are for me not against me
I am who You say I am

(Oh) (Yes) I am who You say I am

Ben Fielding | Reuben Morgan © 2017 Hillsong Music Publishing (Admin. by Hillsong Music Publishing (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing))

CCLI License # 810055

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