GOD WANTS A PEOPLE WHO KNOW HIM AND LIVE WITHOUT FEAR
"...but the people who know their God shall be strong and carry out great exploits." Dan. 11:32
Exodus 14 follows the Israelites triumphant departure from 400 years of slavery in Egypt. The Lord had made a covenant with them and given them a promised land. They had seen the LORD perform mighty miracles at the hand of Moses to bring them to freedom. Now, Pharaoh had amassed his army to seek to bring them again into captivity. Their hearts gave way to fear and they lost all hope in God's power to deliver them. We think it should have been so easy for them to recognize God's hand on their lives, but we have the benefit of having read the whole Book, they did not. They were trapped in a slave mentality that made it hard for them to trust in the goodness of the LORD. Are we any different?
Moses had a different heart. He had spent years alone with the LORD. He spoke to Him face to face as a man would his friend. He had God's perspective in the situation. He did not fear the armies of the enemy because He had the revelation of God's power and willingness to deliver. So when the people cried out, saying it would be better to be slaves than to die in the wilderness, he knew there was a better alternative. He knew God's awesome plan to save them! He said, "Fear not! Stand still (firm, confident, undismayed) and see the salvation of the LORD which He will work for you today. For the Egyptians you have seen today you shall never see again. The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace and remain at rest." And we know the rest of the story, God directed Moses and under His authority the Red Sea was parted and Israel went through safely on dry land and the Pharaoh and his armies were destroyed in the waves.
The LORD wants to teach His people not to fear or be intimidated by our opponents! Phil. 1:28 tells us, "And do not [for a moment] be frightened or intimidated in anything by your opponents and adversaries for such [constancy and fearlessness] will be a clear sign [proof and seal] to them of their impending destruction, but a sure token and evidence of your deliverance and salvation, and that from God." He wants us to have His Word in our hearts, so we can speak words of encouragement and strength to those whose hearts are failing them through fear, worry and anxiety.
The Lord has been speaking to me that I need to be diligent to guard my heart from all fear, anxiety and worry. He has made provision for us! Knowing He would soon be departing, He fortified the disciples, saying, "Do not let your hearts be troubled (distressed, agitated). You believe in and adhere to and trust in and rely on God; believe in, adhere to and trust and rely also on Me.... Peace I leave with you; My [own] peace I now give and bequeath to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. [Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated disturbed; and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled," John 14:1, 27 (AMP)
We need to stand firm against receiving a "bad report" and allowing our hearts to be overcome with fear. This happened when the twelve spies came back from a journey into the promised land. Ten came back having seen only the giants in the land while Joshua and Caleb had a different heart. Caleb proclaimed, "We should by all means go up and take possession of it, for we shall surely overcome it." (Num. 13:30) Ps. 112:6,7 tells us the righteous will never be shaken. "He will not fear evil tidings (a bad report); his heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD. His heart is upheld and he will not fear...."
Many years ago, I had a dream that has remained with me because I felt the power of God upon me in a way I have never truly experienced in my life. In the dream, it was a time when Christians were being rounded up and put to death for their faith. I was in a school where the Christians were being held and one by one we were taken into the nurses's office and given a lethal injection. I was standing in line when the Word of the LORD came to me that these injections had no power to kill us. I opened my mouth and began to speak, saying, "Do not be afraid, the Word of the Lord says, 'They will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them...." I was not speaking these words from presumption but from an incredible certainty of their truth and the authority of God to speak His Truth. I don't know what happened to the other Christians, but in my dream I simply walked away. I walked out the doors and across a green field filled with sunshine and light. When I awoke from the dream, I was so aware of the feeling of being free from all fear that I had experienced in this dream. The biggest fear was not the fear of man or the fear of death, but the fear of speaking God's Word boldly with the full awareness that He was backing up my words 1000%! I realized how incapacitated I am when I do not have that assurance that I am in His will and that I am standing on His side. There was such a powerful realization that the enemy had NO POWER over me! I was able to walk out of the detention center without any opposition. I was reminded of how when the Pharisees came to get Jesus and deliver Him up, He simply walked through the crowds and left because it was not His time. Jesus knew His times and only laid down His life on the Father's direction. No one was able to take it from Him!
We do not need to fear or be dismayed by the times we live in. The enemy shouts and mocks believers. Jesus heals and delivers and saves, but He does not shout in the street. He speaks with a gentle, quiet voice and stands patiently waiting for us to open the door to Him. The Lord tells us to be of good courage and know that He has overcome the world. We desperately need to set time apart to KNOW the LORD our God, to be able to see our lives from His perspective and not allow the clamor of the world to strike fear in our hearts.
God calls us to seek Him with our whole hearts. As believers, we need to learn to walk by faith and not by sight. It is vital that we spend time with the LORD in meditation, prayer and worship so when we face the world, we do so with the knowledge of the power of our Mighty Champion God on our side! When others are overwhelmed we need to have the words of life to encourage them to set their faith on the One who is Faithful! Mark 16:14-20 tells us the last words Jesus spoke before He ascended into heaven after the resurrection. He said that these signs would accompany those who have believed in His name:
They will cast out demons
They will speak in other tongues
If they drink deadly poison it will not hurt them
They will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover
This is not a matter of flashy spectacle, but a response of love and need. The beautiful aspect of this passage is that it is said, "they went out and preached everywhere, while the LORD worked with them, and confirmed the word by the signs that followed." We need to keep our eyes on the LORD is is seated in the heavenly places at the right hand of God! He is the One who desires to work with us!
Three studies have given me great comfort as I meditated on His Word, these are "The Battle Belongs to the LORD," "Freedom from Dread of Evil"and "Open my Eyes, LORD, I want to see Jesus." Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. Meditating on His Word will give us that firm root that will keep our feet upon the Rock when storms come against us.
In His Love and Encouragement!