January 5, 2018
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
Do not fear, or be afraid;
have I not told you from of old and declared it?
You are my witnesses!
Is there any god besides me?
There is no other rock; I know not one.
I have never appreciated being scared by someone. Some people love scary stories, horror movies or haunted houses. It doesn’t register with me why someone would find enjoyment out of being in terror on purpose – but, to each their own. For me, I guess, it goes back to childhood days and being told to go get something out of the basement. No place on earth was filled with more horror than our basement. I can recall each quiet step I took down the stairs and the slow, creeping walk across the room to retrieve what I was sent to get; and then the all-out-mad-dash back up the stairs with monsters in full chase! Can you recall similar childhood fears?
God admonishes us to “fear not” over and over again in the book of Isaiah. These “fear nots” are backed up by various reasons why God’s people should not be afraid.
1.God is with us no matter the circumstances, and He strengthens us no matter the task. “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” Isaiah 41:10
2. He holds us as He helps us.
“For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee. Fear not, thou worm Jacob, and ye men of Israel; I will help thee, saith the Lord, and thy redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.”
3. He will not forsake us because He made us and redeemed us, and we belong to Him.“But now thus saith the Lord that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.” Isaiah 43:1
4. How can we be afraid when God’s words are sure and He is the Rock of our salvation? “Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have not I told thee from that time, and have declared it? ye are even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any.” Isaiah 44:8
Black Bart has been a menace to our Vacation Bible School the last few years. In reality, Black Bart was a menace to the whole nation from 1875 to 1883. He robbed upwards of thirty Wells Fargo stagecoach lines, and made off with hundreds of thousands of dollars. He did all this without ever taking a hostage or firing a single shot. Black Bart put a hood over his face and made terrible threats to the stage drivers. Soon his legend began to spread. From New York to San Francisco, Black Bart was the most feared outlaw in the nation. Just the mention of his name brought terror to the hearts of stagecoach lines. He learned that if he could strike terror into people’s hearts, fear would do the rest.
Don’t let the ol’ devil strike your hearts with fear! He is powerless against our God!