Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“For You have been my help, and in the shadow of Your wings will I rejoice. My whole being follows hard after You and clings closely to You. Your right hand upholds me.”
“On our way rejoicing gladly let us go:
Conquered hath our Leader,
Vanquished is our foe!
Christ without, our safety!
Christ within, our joy!
Who, if we be faithful,
can our hope destroy?
On our way rejoicing
as we homeward move,
Hearken to our praises,
O thou God of love!”
J. B. S. Monsell
Today’s Study Text:
“And (Elisha’s) servant said unto him, ‘Alas, my master! How shall we manage (do)?’ And (Elisha) answered, ‘Fear not, for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.’”
II Kings 6:16
The God of Dothan – Part 4
“There’s A Reason Not To Be Afraid!”
“All fear is bondage.”
What event in my life has caused me to be afraid?
How has fear limited me or held me back in life from doing what God wants me to do?
“I know not the way He leads me, but well do I know my Guide. What have I to fear?”
“Fear knocked at the door. Faith answered and no one was there.”
Standing outside and seeing a host of Syrians surrounding the city where you lived and then finding out that all this show of force was directed at the master you served must have been a terrific shock for the young man who was the “man of God’s” assistant. I think any of us would have been frightened to death.
We find that after assessing the perilous situation they were in, Elisha’s helper rushed inside their residence and cried out, “Master what are we going to do?” Without missing a beat, the Bible states that Elisha replied, “‘Don’t be afraid, those who are with us are more than those who are with them’” (II Kings 6: 16, NIV).
In the more current translations of Scripture, the words, “Fear not,” have been translated into “afraid” and “worry.” I decided to gain more clarification regarding this phrase “Fear not” so I went to the Hebrew where I learned that in the original language, this particular grouping of words means something that you and I would relate to an intensely scary experience for it comes from the word which means “fright or frightening.”
I think we can all recall some experience that left us with a feeling of “fright.” For me it was when I was on an airplane in such wild turbulence that everything that was not hooked down and everyone that was not belted in were flying around the plane – literally I had never seen so many people using air sick bags either. All I could do was bend my body over my lap, put my face in my knees and say, “Dear Lord, please bring us through this mess.” When our plane arrived in Denver, Colorado, and we were allowed to get off, I’ll never forget, as I started walking down the ramp into the airport terminal, that my wobbly legs seemed to almost give way and then the strangest thing occurred, my knees began to knock together. I had thought that when people used the term “knocking knees” to portray a frightening experience that it was just a figure of speech. Wrong! It’s an actual physical reaction. I know. And whenever I think of a moment in time when I was “scared to death,” that was it.
For Elisha’s helper, I can only imagine how he felt as he assessed a situation that he thought could bring death to himself and Elisha.
It is Elisha’s immediate and emphatic response, “Don’t be frightened” that I want to look at for today because the two-word phrase “Fear not” is such a powerful statement.
First, let’s remember that we found in our recent study, 31 times, from II Kings 1-8, Elisha is called “man of God.” I asked myself, “What would a man of God do in a frightening situation?” The answer is: they would trust in God. God would be their refuge, as the Psalmist David tells us. Indeed, in times of crisis, any individual who is walking with God would have a response that sent them running to their heavenly Father, immediately.
Second, the phrase “Fear not” is what I call “God talk.” I’d never recognized this fact before until I received an email from my precious Garden friend who is a teacher, prayer partner, and God-inspired daughter of our King, dearest Myrt Grimm in Finland. Having just spent a week holding meetings for a church in Finland, Myrt opened my eyes early this morning to a very interesting fact she uncovered preparing teaching lessons on Joshua. Here is part of Myrt’s email: “Last week I taught a little about overcoming fear and I was drawn to Joshua 1…If Joshua had NO fear, then God would not have told him so MANY times, ’Take courage! Have courage! Be strong and courageous!’ He must have been trembling with fear, otherwise His heavenly Father would not have encouraged him so often.” Now you have to know that a note like Myrt’s, with such heavenly insight, made me grab the Bible on my bedside table and I quickly turned to Joshua 1. SPECIAL INSERT: We must not forget that in the history of time recorded in Scripture, I think we would be hard-pressed to find someone who stood up on behalf of God like Joshua. Just think back to the story of the twelve spies who were chosen by Moses to scout-out the Promised Land. Of that entire group, only two men came back with an encouraging report – Caleb and Joshua. So now, as God’s chosen to take up the leadership position occupied by Moses, this warrior and stalwart for God was faced with an unknown future. So let’s go back to Joshua 1 and see what God has to say to this proven leader who was frightened by the task ahead.
In Joshua 1 we find these words from God, spoken to Joshua;
1. “I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. Be strong and of a good courage.” Joshua 1: 5, 6, KJV
2. “Only be thou strong and very courageous.” Joshua 1: 7, KJV
3. “Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage: be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee, whithersoever thou goest.” Joshua 1: 9, KJV
As I read these passages, it was as if I could hear Joshua saying, “But Lord, the task is so great, the challenge so huge and I am so small.” However, we read that God would have none of Joshua’s fear – just as Elisha had none of his servant’s fear. Yes, God recognized that the task Joshua faced was huge, but that was no cause for fear. And yes, Elisha knew the Syrians were attacking him with hosts and chariots and horses, but that was no cause for fear. None at all.
I encourage you today, what you face may cause your knees to knock together and your legs to wobble like wet noodles. But hear your Father say to you, “That’s no cause to fear.” For as God spoke these words to Joshua thousands of years ago, he is speaking them to you today: “Strength! Courage! Don’t be timid; don’t get discouraged. God, your God, is with you every step you take” (Joshua 1: 9, The Message Bible).
Just as Elisha could with confidence say to his young aide, “Don’t be afraid,” so we can trust our Father today whose word is the same – always. As Pastor Charles Spurgeon so beautifully penned:
“Say not my soul, ‘From whence can God relieve my fear?’ Remember that Omnipotence has servants everywhere.”
Charles H. Spurgeon
Do Not Fear, My Dear One
“Do not fear, My dear one, My child.
I know you
I knew you when you were still in the womb.
I have held your hopes and dreams in My hands.
I have laughed with you in the good times, the glad times.
I have smiled with delight when life is abundant.
I will never leave you.
I have wrapped My arms around you
when your hopes have been dashed and your dreams shattered.
I have held you close when fear and uncertainty
have filled your horizons.
I have wept when your tears flowed freely for what you had lost.
I will never leave you.
I will be there, in good times and bad.
I will refresh you with water in times of drought.
I will pour streams of love and hope and
promise in times of emptiness and need.
I will help your new shoots to grow, like willows
growing beside flowing streams.”
Based on Isaiah 44:1-5
The Message Bible
“But for now, dear (child), listen-
yes, you, my personal choice.
God who made you has something to say to you,
He who made you, who formed you in the womb, and who
will help you. Do not be afraid, O my child.”
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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