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Oh What A Thing Fear Is!
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. If you want to see a few scenes from this movie take a look on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ouZkkIsLiNg 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… THE SCRIPTURE: 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) THE STUDY: 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) If you have any questions concerning this blog, or if you have a subject you would like discussed, please feel free to email me at email@example.com. I will answer all emails via my blog, email, or both. Follow my Squidoo Instructional Lens “Presenting God’s Grace” “The Solemn Obligation To Present the Doctrines of Grace to the Lost and Saved Alike” http://www.squidoo.com/presenting-gods-grace 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.”
Gloom, Despair, and Agony On Me…!
Back in the 60s and 70s a TV show called “Hee Haw” hit the airwaves. It was one of the funniest series I have ever seen. One of the funniest re-occurring features involved a group of “good old country boys” that were feeling sorry for themselves. They recounted their misfortunes in a song entitled…”Gloom Despair and Agony On Me”.
If you would like to relive the good ole Hee Haw days, you can watch it on the RFD-TV network, or you can see the skit on youtube… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FQ5ob9B9yD4
Many times, as Christians, we start to feel sorry for ourselves as we face the trials and difficulties this life has to offer. The Psalmist in Psalm 119: put a different type of “twist” on the trials he faced in during his lifetime… he looked beyond the pain he felt during the trying times and he concentrated on the end results of those trials. His conclusion about those trials can be found in Psa 119:65-72…
Thou hast dealt well with thy servant, O LORD, according unto thy word. Teach me good judgment and knowledge: for I have believed thy commandments. Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word. Thou art good, and doest good; teach me thy statutes. The proud have forged a lie against me: but I will keep thy precepts with my whole heart. Their heart is as fat as grease; but I delight in thy law. It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes. The law of thy mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver. (Psa 119:65-72)
Why does the Lord allow bad things to happen to good people? As pastor, this is one of the most common questions that hurting, faithful, Christians have asked me. Only the Lord will be able to give us a complete answer as to why we face trials in life, but one thing is certain… TRIALS BRING A CHRISTIAN CLOSER TO THE LORD. In every case, after the trial is over, a true Christian will readily admit, they are closer to the Lord after the trial than when the trial first began.
Trials in life will always bring the true Christian closer to the Lord. This is the point that King David, the author of Psalm 119: clearly proclaims. If you remember, David had faced many trials during his lifetime. His life had been threatened by King Saul following his defeat of Goliath (1 Sam 18:8-9); He had miserably failed the Lord in the incident with Bathsheba, which resulted in the loss of his child (2 Sam 11: and 12:); and later in his life His own son, Absalom, rebelled against his reign seeking to overthrow his kingdom by force. This led to Absalom’s early death. (2 Sam 17: and 18:). In spite of all these problems, and others, David was able to thank the Lord for the trials because they had brought him closer to the Lord.
THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION:
For those of us who are saved….
In Psalm 119:65-72, David clearly reveals to us how to deal with the trials we face in our lives…..
Principle #1 Count the blessings that the Lord gives to us…
“Thou hast dealt well with thy servant, O LORD, according unto thy word.”
“Thou art good, and doest good”
David starts by saying that the Lord had treated him well during his lifetime. In spite of the trials, David recognized the presence of God’s grace throughout his lifetime, and the forgiveness God had given to him.
Principle #2 – Recognize the value of His Word, especially during times of trials
“The law of thy mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver.”
“Their heart is as fat as grease; but I delight in thy law.
David compares the value of the Word to the value of precious metals. His conclusion? The Word is of far greater eternal, spiritual value than all the riches this world has to offer. David also compared the wealth and excess of his enemies with his possession of God’s Word. His conclusion? God’s Word brought him much greater joy than his enemies’ enjoyment of great excess and wealth.
Principle #3 – Always desire to grow in knowledge of Him and His Word; while retaining faith in His Word…
“Teach me good judgment and knowledge: for I have believed thy commandments.”
“teach me thy statutes.”
“The proud have forged a lie against me: but I will keep thy precepts with my whole heart.”
David knew the value of His Word and, therefore, craved to receive more knowledge of His Word. As David trusted in God’s Word, he realized great blessings and peace even in the midst of the trials he faced. Think about what our life would be like without God’s Word… no comfort, no peace, no direction for our life, no counsel, no wisdom…. No wonder David was craving a greater understanding of His Word as he faced the trials of his life!
Principle #4 – Concentrate on the end result of the trials we are facing….
“Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word.;”
“It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.”
This is the hardest principle indeed… to look beyond the pain and sorrow and to see the end result of the trials we are facing… a closer walk with Him based on a greater knowledge of His Word! What a privilege it is to face trials… Let’s thank Him for the trials we face, knowing they will result in a closer walk with Him.
For those of us who have never trusted in Christ as their Savior….
Please keep in mind, the many precious promises the Lord gives in His Word apply only to those who are saved. Until an individual places his trust in Christ, he cannot claim to be a recipient of God’s gracious intervention in His life during times of trials and heartaches.
Are you tired of facing your trials alone? Do you desire to know without a doubt, that the trials you face are for your good and your ultimate gain? (Roms 8:28) Do you need a friend that sticks closer to you than a brother, someone who will NEVER leave you nor forsake you? (Pro 18:24, Hebs 13:5)
If this is your greatest desire then look to The Lord Jesus Christ and submit your life, and your eternity to Him. Be willing to turn from your sin and begin to serve Jesus as Your Lord. (Ezek 33:14, Acts 17:29-32) He will abundantly pardon you. (Isa 55:7) He will save you form your sin and adopt you into His family. (Gals 4:4-6) You will never be alone again.
If you have any questions concerning this blog, or if you have a subject you would like discussed, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will answer all emails via my blog, email, or both.
Follow my Squidoo Instructional Lens “Presenting God’s Grace” “The Solemn Obligation To Present the Doctrines of Grace to the Lost and Saved Alike” http://www.squidoo.com/presenting-gods-grace
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.”