Fear or Faith?

Numbers 14:8-9
If the LORD delight in us, then he will bring us into this land, and give it us; a land which floweth with milk and honey.  Only rebel not ye against the LORD, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are bread for us: their defence is departed from them, and the LORD is with us: fear them not.

This was the crux of it—the Lord was with them, but that didn’t mean anything to them.  Despite what they’d seen and experienced so far, despite their great deliverance, despite the provision and guidance of God, His presence made no difference to how they felt about what they were dealing with now.  Now all they could see were the giants in the land, the strongholds, the walled cities, and defeat at their hands.  Now instead of remembering the pillar of cloud and the pillar of fire that guided and protected them to this point, they are too focused on those seemingly insurmountable obstacles.

The truth is, fear can blind us.  Fear can convince us that God is no longer near.  Fear can produce all kinds of doubts in our hearts and minds.  So we can’t let our fear win.  It paralyzes us when we need to move ahead in obedience.  It weakens us when we need to be strong in our faith.  It robs us of these experiences of seeing God work and move in impossible ways.  And when we let our fear control us and dictate our choices, it only leads to defeat and disappointment, and we miss out on the blessings God has prepared for us.

The cure for this fear is simply to remember that God is with us.  We can’t live as if God’s presence doesn’t matter.  We can’t diminish Him or allow our fear to take away from who God is and what He can do.  We can’t allow anything to erode our faith in Him.  But when we keep our hearts and minds focused on Him, when we understand what it means that the Lord is with us, it won’t matter what’s awaiting us on the other side because we know we don’t face it alone.  It won’t matter how strong the enemy is because we know we don’t have to fight it in our strength.  It won’t matter who we are or who we are not, because we can trust in all that God is.

It is so easy to get distracted.  It is so easy to forget.  It is so easy to be overcome by our emotions or the circumstances around us to the point where we begin to panic.  But the truth is, God is near.  He is leading, and He will not forsake us.  He will help us.  He will provide.  He will fight for us.  So let us not allow those fears and doubts to lead us into rebellion and disobedience.  Let’s not allow ourselves to get so caught up in these fearful moments that God’s presence doesn’t even matter to us.  But let’s give those fears to Him and allow Him to help grow our faith so we can take those steps of obedience.

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