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Ever since I was a you boy at home, I enjoy watching scary movies. John Carpenter’s 1982 movie “The Thing” is at the top of my “favorites” list. It is a movie about scientist’s trapped with an alien in an Arctic research station. The catch is this… the alien can assume the shape and identity of any scientist at the station. You can imagine the basic idea of the movie, the scientists are constantly in fear, not knowing who is human and who is the alien. It is my ideal type of horror movie… not so gross and bloody, but scary.
You might think that I enjoy being afraid. Well, yes and no. Yes, I enjoy being afraid when I know my fear stems from a movie that is simply entertainment. I know in just a few hours, at the close of the movie, everything will be ok. However, when I face fears that exist in reality, I have an opposite reaction to them… I HATE THEM.
One of the most difficult things in life, for me, is to be forced to face my worst fears. The longer I live, the more I am noticing one important truth… my fears are at their worst when I am not thinking about my Lord. Where faith is, fear shrinks away.
Within the confines of Scripture, we can find many principles about how a Christian can get through the fearful times in their life…
And all the people said unto Samuel, Pray for thy servants unto the LORD thy God, that we die not: for we have added unto all our sins this evil, to ask us a king. And Samuel said unto the people, Fear not: ye have done all this wickedness: yet turn not aside from following the LORD, but serve the LORD with all your heart; And turn ye not aside: for then should ye go after vain things, which cannot profit nor deliver; for they are vain. For the LORD will not forsake his people for his great name’s sake: because it hath pleased the LORD to make you his people. Moreover as for me, God forbid that I should sin against the LORD in ceasing to pray for you: but I will teach you the good and the right way: Only fear the LORD, and serve him in truth with all your heart: for consider how great things he hath done for you. (1Sa 12:19-24)
In our text, the Lord had given the nation of Israel judges to rule over them. A judge had been given the authority from God to enforce the laws of the Lord, but they could not make any new laws. Israel saw that the other nations were ruled by kings. These kings had both the authority to uphold existing laws and to write new laws. Out of jealousy, the Israelites demanded that Samuel place into office a king, so they would be like all other nations. (1 Sam 8:)
It is easy to miss the horrible sin they were committing… by asking for a King, Israel was saying, the laws of God were not sufficient meet their needs, they needed a King who could add to the laws of God. What a horrible attitude to have! No wonder, when they realized what they had done great fear fell upon them.
In our Scripture, we find the basic principles Christians are to follow when faced with fears of any type:
“And all the people said unto Samuel, Pray for thy servants unto the LORD thy God, that we die not: for we have added unto all our sins this evil, to ask us a king.”
Principle #1 – At times, we bring fearful times upon ourselves due to the sinful choices we make. By living lives of obedience to Christ we can avoid some of our fearful times. (Exo 20:19-20)
“And Samuel said unto the people, Fear not: ye have done all this wickedness:… For the LORD will not forsake his people for his great name’s sake: because it hath pleased the LORD to make you his people.”
Principle #2 – Despite our past failures, by placing the Lord first in our lives (through repentance), we can rest assured the Lord will be with us… He is a great, faithful, forgiving Lord. (Psa 130:4)
“Moreover as for me, God forbid that I should sin against the LORD in ceasing to pray for you:”
Principle #3 – During fearful times we should be thinking of others and not just ourselves. We should be prayerfully seeking to meet the spiritual and physical needs of those around us. By concentrating on others, the Lord helps take our mind off our fears and trials we are facing. (1 Thess 5:23-25)
“but I will teach you the good and the right way:”
Principle #4 – The fearful times of our life are great opportunites to present the truths of God to others. This can be done through our words as we tell others about Him goodness to us during fearful times. But also, it can be done through our lives as they watch us handle the fearful times with grace and peace. (James 5:10)
“Only fear the LORD”
Principle #5 – During our fearful times, as we concentrate on the Lord’s greatness in authority, power, faithfulness, and wisdom. This develops a reverence or “fear” of Him in our hearts and minds. In His greatness we can find comfort, and assurance, knowing He is in control and accompanying us in our daily walk. (Gen 15:1, Deut 20:3-4, Deut 31:6-8, 1 Chron 28:20, 2 King 6:16-17)
“and serve him in truth with all your heart”
Principle #6 – Fearful times in the life of a Christian should bring us closer to Him. Our service should be greater, our relationship to Him more intimate. This will lead to greater strength and peace during the troublesome times. (Zech 8:13)
“for consider how great things he hath done for you.”
Principle #7 – We are to be remembering His past gracious acts on our behalf, saying as King David did, “David said moreover, The LORD that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine. And Saul said unto David, Go, and the LORD be with thee.”(1Sa 17:37, Isa 43:1, Joel 2:21)
THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION
For the Christian….
In these times of economic and political uncertainty, fear is beginning to enter the lives of even the strongest of Christians. During these fearful times, please remember…
Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Php 4:6-7)
(see also Matt 6:25-34)
For those who have never trusted in Christ…
Your main concern should be on your eternal destiny…
And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. (Mat 10:28)
Above all else, please keep in mind, if you are eternally secure in Christ all the events of this world fade in comparison. Just knowing that you are going home to be with the Lord for an eternity, takes the sting out of even the greatest life threatening trials we may face in life….
O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1Co 15:55-57)
Look to Jesus Christ and turn to Him in faith. He will forgive you of your sins and be with you throughout the trials this world may throw your way….
Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. (Isa 55:6-7)
May the Lord bless your study of His Word. Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”