Don’t be afraid
When you go out to war against your enemies, and see horses and chariots and an army larger than your own, you shall not be afraid of them, for the LORD your God is with you, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt.
When the Israelites invaded Canaan they faced enemies who were stronger than they were. They won only because God helped them.
Israel was a nation and like any other nation it sometimes waged wars with other nations. The church isn’t a nation but is a body of people from all nations who have put their faith in Jesus Christ. Because we aren’t a nation we don’t have an army and we don’t engage in physical wars but we are involved in warfare of a different kind.
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
We don’t practice the same kind of warfare Israel did but we do have one thing in common. We can become afraid if we let our mind dwell on how strong our enemies are. And the enemies we face are very strong.
We live in a society which no longer acknowledges that human life is valuable because we are made in God’s image. Mothers are allowed to kill their unborn babies and suicide is considered by many to be a basic human right.
The belief that marriage is a God-given institution has been abandoned. Most people see nothing wrong with engaging in sexual acts outside of marriage or of a “marriage” between two people of the same sex.
God is no longer regarded as the Creator. The belief that the earth and all the life in it developed gradually over millions of years is taught in our schools as if it were a fact and scientific evidence that contradicts it is ignored. This belief is so pervasive that even some Bible believers accept it and try to reconcile it with the Bible by saying that the first chapter of Genesis is not to be interpreted literally.
There are false cults and religions that teach lies and there are even teachers who profess to be Christians but who teach doctrines that are contrary to the Bible.
There are many places in the world where it is illegal to teach the truth of the Bible and Christians can be imprisoned and even killed.
If we spend time thinking about these things it is easy to be afraid. God told the Israelites that the antidote to fear was to remember that he had delivered them from Egypt. When we are afraid we need to remember that God has delivered us from something worse than Egyptian slavery.
He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
An incident in the life of Peter shows the necessity of looking at God rather than at our circumstances.
And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”
And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus.
What Peter did was absolutely impossible but he was able to do it because he was obeying the command of Jesus. Then something happened to change things.
But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”
When Peter stopped looking at Jesus and begin looking at his circumstances he became afraid and the laws of nature asserted themselves and he began to sink. The same thing will happen to us if we pay more attention to our circumstances and to the strength of our enemies than we do to Jesus.