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UCGia Bible Insights Thursday, November 19 2020

Fear and faith

The riding instructor could see the young rider was so convinced her horse might run away with her, she was unable to step out in faith and trust the instructor knew what she was doing.

by Angie Wilson

Similarly, as Christians, how many times have we allowed fear to stand in the way of reaching the spiritual goals? Negative thinking, such as worry, fear and doubt are killers of confidence and lead to a lack of courage and faith.

In Numbers 13 and 14, we read what happened to a group of people who allowed fear to prevail. Their fears kept them—and most of their fellow countrymen—from inheriting the land promised to them by God Himself!

After being rescued by God from a lifetime of slavery, the Israelites were standing at the threshold of the Promised Land. Although they had just been eyewitnesses of God's power, when the leaders returned from their 40-day mission to scout the land, only two reported their findings with courageous enthusiasm and faith that God was with them. The other 10 saw only the obstacles, and spread fear throughout the entire camp of Israel. As a result, Israel was sentenced to wander in the wilderness for 40 years until all the adults over age 19—with the exceptions of Joshua and Caleb—died!

Sometimes there are valid reasons for fear, but it's how we deal with the fear that matters to God. "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind" (2 Timothy 1:7). Worry and fear do not reflect this "sound mind," whereas faith and reliance on God does.

The prophet, Elijah, fled from Queen Jezebel after he had killed the prophets of Baal although, like the children of Israel, Elijah had just witnessed a great miracle from God. Fire had descended from heaven and consumed the drenched sacrifice as well as all the water surrounding the altar! Elijah eventually overcame his fear with God's encouragement and he went on to complete the mission God had given him.

King David also had reason to fear as he fled from first Saul and then later his own son Absalom, but he says of God in Psalms 23:4, "Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me." David knew that by putting full confidence in God, he could overcome fear and go on to reach the goals God had for him.

God promises His people throughout the Bible He will never leave them nor forsake them. In Deuteronomy 31:6, God encourages: "Be strong and of good courage, do not fear…the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you." And He repeats this assurance in Joshua 1:5-7, 9 and 10:25 and again in Hebrews 13:5.