Tuesday, April 21, 2015
Have you ever faced a trial which scared you to death before or during the event? Did you feel a little bit embarrassed or angry with yourself afterwards because you let something shake you up this way? I was thinking about this matter last week when I was studying the story of Gideon for an upcoming bible study. In our class, we didn’t get to this point but there is a part in the story that has always intrigued me. Gideon had managed to gather an army of 32,000 men to go battle against their enemies, the Midianites. Before the fighting began, However, the Lord told him that he had too many men saying that when they won the war, Israel would boast that her own strength had saved her. The Lord said: “Announce to the people that anyone who trembles with fear may turn back and leave Mount Gilead. So 22,000 men left, while 10,000 remained.” (Judges 7:3)
I wondered what the reasons were or what went through the minds of those who accepted the offer to go back home that day. Did they feel shame after they took the offer? How many of them did it because they were afraid to die and how many because they were afraid to kill somebody? The truth is that war is not for everybody. I recently heard someone give the opinion that an aspiring young boxer they know does not have the “killer instinct” to ever be successful in that sport. Those of us who are ring aficionados can think back upon some exceptional boxers throughout the years that never attained a championship for that very reason. Another truth is that everyone is afraid of something. War heroes may be afraid of mice, roaches, and spiders while sweet little old ladies may unmercifully hunt these varmints down. I personally believe that if I had ever been called to a battlefront I probably would have died of fear, yet the thought of confronting spiritual foes or situations is something I know I can handle because up to now, the Lord has always been with me and has never failed me.
Speaking of Gideon, those who know his story know that at the onset he was very much afraid of going into battle. In his first letter to them, Paul also confessed to the Corinthians that when he came to them, he came in weakness and with much fear and trembling. (See 1 Cor. 2:1-3) He came to them anyway. And David wrote in Psalm 56:3: When I am afraid, I will trust in you. (God) Notice he did not say “if”, but “when” I am afraid.
This is the conclusion to the matter: It is not a sin to be afraid; it is only a sin when we permit that fear to keep us from doing God’s will. Please keep this in mind the next time you are afraid of an impending situation or event you can’t avoid. When it arrives, trust in the Lord; He will see you through and you will see that your natural fear did not keep you from obeying Him. If God said you’re more than a conqueror, then that is what you are.
Memory verse for the week: (Proverbs 22:4) “By humility and the fear of the Lord come riches, honor, and life.”