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Living Under the Protection of God - Part 1
And the LORD, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed. (Deuteronomy 31:8)
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)
One of the first emotions experienced by mankind was fear. In Genesis 3:10 we read, “And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.” Things are still the same today. Sin causes fear. Fear can cause anxiety, unrest, a self-conscience attitude, and so much more. Fear’s opposite emotion is trust, or faith. We also know that without faith, it is impossible to please the Lord (Hebrews 11:6).
Within the sacred writings of the Bible, the word fear is found 400 times in 385 verses. In the verses listed above from Deuteronomy and Isaiah, the Hebrew word yârê' is translated as fear. Although not always the case, fear, or rather the lack of fear is linked to the protection of God. Curiously, the word protection is found only once in Scripture. However, the principal of not fearing equaling God’s protection is found time and time again throughout Scripture.
Fear Negates Faith
Can you imagine Adam storming Heaven’s gates in his fearful condition of Genesis 3:10? A lack of fear brings confidence to approach the only One capable of offering true protection. We are told to march boldly forward for the glory of the Lord; to take the land knowing all the while that God goes before us. We know that He will be with us. We know He will not fail us. We know He will not forsake us. So why do we do we fear?
May I be a bit blunt, and say it is because we do not really believe what the Bible says. Fear sets in place a separating wall between the Lord Jesus and us. As was mentioned above, without faith it is impossible to please God. Why? Because a lack of faith brings fear, and fear is sin. Sin places us outside of God’s umbrella of protection. Freedom from fear and the protection of God are inextricably linked together.
Isaiah tells us not to fear, and then lists the reasons. “. . . for I am with thee . . . 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.” What more could we possibly ask? Still, when it comes to a heart for revival, fear can deaden our desire, and place it in a cold, empty tomb. We can only hope for a resurrection; a resurrection that we must choose.
To fear or not to fear is not based on feelings or circumstances. It is a choice; a choice we each must make at any given time when fear raises its ugly head. As we choose trust and faith in the Word of God we will be safe and comforted. If we reject the clear promises of Scripture we will be thrown into a life of turmoil and confusion. God is not the author of confusion.
The Measure of Faith: And Other Cries for Revival
The Measure of Faith
In Romans 12:3 we learn the truth, “. . . God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.” In the King James Bible we see a tremendous lesson. God has given to everyone the measure of faith, not a measure of faith. God has given to us the same faith He gave Moses, David, Elijah, and other Bible heroes. The question is not how much faith do we have, but how much faith do we apply? God’s promises are secure. Claim them.
Consider the faith of Moses as he parted the Red Sea. Notice that God leads Moses and the Israelites to the Red Sea. They did not just happen to end up there. God placed them there. “Speak unto the children of Israel, that they turn and encamp . . . by the sea” (Exodus 14:2). This was God’s plan for His purpose, not just happenstance or misdirection on the part of Moses. His faith and lack of fear allowed him to boldly proclaim in verses 13 and 14, “. . . Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever. The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.”
The Israelites were in dire straits. The Egyptian army was at their heels. On either side there were high cliffs, and in front, the Red Sea. Even if some could swim the sea (which would have been pretty much an impossibility), they were left with little choice. What about the infants and children? There were no human answers in sight. The people were fearful. Moses was not. He knew the promise of the Lord. The protection of God was upon him, and in turn, upon the people of Israel. Why? Faith not fear.
The Fear of Moses
But it was not always that way for Moses. When we look at Moses at the burning bush, we see his fear. As God approaches Moses, fear sets in, and Moses rebels against the order of God to go to Pharaoh. In Exodus 3 and 4, Moses offers five excuses for not obeying God.
- He mentions in verse 11 he has no ability – The Word counters with
- He claims he has no message in verse 13 – The Word counters with I Corinthians 15:3, 4.
- He believes he has no authority (Exodus 4:1) – The Word counters with Matthew 28:18-20.
- He does not have eloquence (verse 10) – The Word counters with I Corinthians 2:1-5.
- Further, he has no desire(verse 13) – The Word counters with Philippians 2:13.
God has been where you are before you got there. He knows your address. He has a plan. Only trust Him.
The Faith and Protection of David
What about David? We read in I Samuel 17:11 Israel and Saul were dismayed and greatly afraid of Goliath. Fear had taken rule of the camp. Not one person had a positive outlook on the situation – that is, until David arrived. Fear breeds fear. From within the camp fear spread rapidly even to the king, or perhaps from the king, but David was from without the camp. He could see what the others could not.
David approaches the battle and his eldest brother Eliab chides him. He accuses David of being prideful and irresponsible. David simply answers in verse 29, “. . . Is there not a cause?”David knew his God, and was ready to defend Him. The lowly shepherd was raised to warrior status in a matter of minutes. It may look like that on the surface, but in reality that was not the case. We read in I Samuel 17:34-36, “And David said unto Saul, Thy servant kept his father's sheep, and there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock: And I went out after him, and smote him, and delivered it out of his mouth: and when he arose against me, I caught him by his beard, and smote him, and slew him. Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defied the armies of the living God.”
As David was learning the shepherd’s trade, he also was learning of God’s power and protection. By God’s power he would be protected in the face of battle. Fear was not an option, but a hindrance to accomplishing God’s will for David and for Israel.
Are You Facing Goliath?
What Goliaths are you facing? What troubling circumstances are in your life? How are you dealing with them? Fear or faith? David had past lessons to look back on. He saw the hand of God very clearly in the past, and knew God, who is the same and does not change, would be with him once again.
Examine your past. What past victories have you had? How did God protect and use you in days gone by? He is still the same God. He has not changed. He is willing to work on your behalf again. He declares, “For I am the LORD, I change not . . .” (Malachi 3:6). Again in Numbers 23:19 He says, “God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it?or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?” It is God’s Word we must look to, not the circumstances of life.
As we continue in the life of David, we see life’s circumstances weighing in. Twice we see (I Samuel 21:10; I Samuel 23:26) David running for fear of Saul. It is natural to run when our life is threatened. God has made a way of escape in those times. But it is not right to run because of fear. I am not David’s judge, but the Scripture plainly says he was fearful. Did he forget God’s promise? Run to stay out of harm’s way, but trust God to deliver. Did he forget his past victories for the Lord? Pressures can cause us to waiver, but faith empowers us to move ahead.
Even in the face of fear, God’s grace was sufficient. His protection was evident from start to finish. We are human just as David was. We struggle with the same emotions for they are known to each and every man, but through faith God gives the victory when we look sure defeat in the eye.
Just as God was with David, so will He be with you. In Part Two of this series we shall look at God's protection over the man Elijah so stay tuned.