Our society today is trapped in a very chaotic cycle. Global conflicts, nuclear confrontations, corrupt leaders, and terrorism crowd the daily news channels. Closer to home, we must cope with joblessness, healthcare availability, tax burdens, random violence, and other social dilemmas. All of these things could easily lead us into a state of fear and anxiety. We could reach a point in our lives where hope and security are seemingly beyond our grasp.
Truth be told, our contemporary fears are no different than those experienced by our ancestors. In Ecclesiastes 1:9, King Solomon said, “What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.” King Solomon points out that our experiences are not as unique as we think. Mankind repeats the same sins leading to the same problems decade after decade and century after century.
God’s people Israel lived in a constant state of fear and anxiety. They lived in a land where life was extremely difficult and filled with vengeful enemies. The Old Testament is filled with messages from God to his people, to fear not. From slavery to punishment, from wilderness wandering to rebuilding cities, God guided the Israelites and never left their side.
In Joshua 1:9, God says this to Joshua: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” God tasked Joshua to lead Israel into the Promised Land, even though it was filled with enemies. A long list of battles were in Joshua’s future, and he had to lead the charge. Joshua’s fears and anxieties should have been off-the-chart. But God told him simply, “Do not Fear, I am with you.”
And God is telling us the same thing today. This truth should reduce our fears and motivate us to continue moving forward. Why? Because unlike us, God is not limited by the boundaries of space and time or circumstance – and that includes his love. In Hebrew 13:6, the writer says, “So we can confidently say, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?'” He’s echoing King David’s sentiment recorded in Psalm 11:6, ““The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?”
These words should be a great comfort to us. God is on your side. In other words, when God has adopted you as his child, then you can be confident that no circumstance or person can ever separate you from him and his love for you. God is always with us and his love never diminishes.
This is a simple and yet profound prescription for handling our daily fears. No matter the problem, the person, the challenge, the issue, God is our helper and we need not fear. What can man do to us, when God is on our side?
The same is true in our moments of sin. In our spiritual wanderings and challenges, we have a tendency to blame our failures on other people. But even when we are not following God, He has not left our side. He is still there. He has promised that He will never leave us. That doesn’t mean that we have a license to sin. It means that when we sin, we can approach God as our loving Father. And we can be sure that when we confess and repent of our sin, ” he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
The reason we know all this is true is because of the gospel. The gospel is the ultimate fear-destroyer. In our natural, sinful condition, we are separated from God and in danger of his wrath. But His Son Jesus Christ crushed sin and death with His atoning work on the cross. The gift of God’s salvation, when received by grace through faith, rescues us from the judgment and death that we deserve. We, as Christians, can stand confidently every day because of our intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. There is no room for fear, when we are walking close with God. Amen.