December 18, 2013
“Then said Absalom, ‘Call now Hushai the Archite also, and let us hear likewise what he saith.’ And when Hushai was come to Absalom, Absalom spake unto him, saying, ‘Ahithophel hath spoken after this manner: shall we do after this manner: shall we do after his saying? If not; speak thou.’ And Hushai said unto Absalom, ‘the counsel that Ahithophel hath given is not good at this time. For,’ said Hushai, ‘thou knowest thy father and his men, that they be mighty men, and they be chafed in their minds, as a bear robbed of her whelps in the field: and thy father is a man of war, and will not lodge with the people…for all Israel knoweth that thy father is a mighty man, and they which be with him are valiant men.”
II Samuel 17: 5-10, King James Version
“Living The ‘Good Life” – Part 6
“Living a Fearless Life”
“Courage faces fear and thereby masters it. Cowardice represses fear and is thereby mastered by it.”
Martin Luther King, Jr.
What event, situation or person in my life has caused me to be fearful and afraid?
What do I believe the Apostle John meant when he wrote, “There is no fear in love (dread does not exist), but full-grown (complete, perfect) love turns fear out of doors and expels every trace of terror?”
I John 4: 18
“What makes us so afraid is the thing we half see, or half hear, as in a wood at dusk, when a tree stump becomes an animal and a sound becomes a siren. And most of that fear is the fear of not knowing, of not actually seeing correctly.”
“Whenever I hear about Christ as Savior it appears that He saves us from sin – and I don’t wish to deny that – but in my experience He does more than that: He releases us from fear, and I think fear is the great killer.”
Today we finish our series on “Living The ‘Good Life.’” These studies have been inspired by the continuing revelations we have uncovered in the life of David.
I find it providentially perfect that our final lesson is founded on the fact that the “good life” God desires and intends for us is a life lived without fear. At this time in history, when fear creeps into our lives, invading every aspect of our being, a life without fear sounds impossible. It may be because we are constantly bombarded with information that tells us we have something to be afraid of, nearly all of the time.
Yet, I believe a life which isn’t plagued by the threat and reality of fear is possible. I base my belief on several facts. Our text today is just one of many times in the Bible when we find that one of God’s children was backed up against a wall. David was being “back-stabbed” by his own son Absalom. In this quest to dethrone his father, Absalom got advice from Ahithophel, who wanted to put a “hit” on David when he was tired and worn to a frazzle. This seemed to be the plan of attack which was going to be employed. But Absalom evidently wasn’t totally convinced Ahithophel was pointing him in the right direction. It was at this point that, unbeknown to Absalom, his own father, David, tried to protect the deceitful young man from his own mistakes. What Absalom didn’t realize was that Hushai, the Archite, who came to give Absalom more advice, was really a close friend of David. Hushai knew and understood David’s heart. He pointed out to Absalom that David was a brave and valiant man. David’s bravery had been “field” tested with time and when David had thought he would fail miserably, God repeatedly came to his rescue. The fact that David had seen what God could and would do, gave David a courage that could confront the most disastrous situations and the most fearful events. It was Hushai who reminded Absalom, in order to protect him, that David’s valiant heart, his valiant soldiers, and his fearlessness in the face of foes was a rallying cry that would bring the people of Israel to their feet.
Let’s not forget, David’s fearless heart wasn’t something he inherited or just happened to pick up by accident. Not at all! Instead, we find that throughout his life, as David desired to be closer to his Father’s heart, his fear began to depart. It was the connection with his Father in heaven which released the bonds of fear that sought to wrap and confine David. It is David’s own words in Psalm 108 that remind us how David became “valiant” or as the Hebrew translation illuminates, “strong.” David’s song was this: “O God, my heart is fixed (Hebrew: faithful and stabilized and established); I will sing and praise…for Thy mercy is great above all the heavens: and Thy truth reacheth unto the clouds…Give us help from trouble: for vain is the help of man. Through God we shall do valiantly” (Psalm 108: 1, 4, 12, 13, K.J.V.). Again, in Psalm 56: 4, David sang “In God I will praise His word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh (Hebrew: human man or persons) can do unto me” (Psalm 56: 4, K.J.V.). Because of his trust in God, David recognized he had nothing to fear, for a power greater than any on earth, was in control of his life.
In the first book of the New Testament in Matthew 14: 27, there is a wonderfully comforting story about Jesus crossing the lake in a boat. But it is the context of this story which is critical to our better understanding of the relevance of Jesus’ words which resonate with you and me today. Matthew 14 begins with the terrible news that the wicked Herod had murdered John the Baptist. Just think how you would have felt if you were John’s disciples or Jesus’ disciples or even Jesus, Himself. Wouldn’t the thought have crossed your mind, “Am I going to be next?” It is with this frightening background that we find in Matthew 14: 17-21, that Jesus took care of the hungry by feeding at least 5,000 people who came to Him. And then we are told that, not only was Jesus concerned about the needs of the people for food, but in Matthew 14: 27, when a terrible storm came up on the lake, what Jesus’ fearful disciples thought they saw, these men were put at ease when they heard Jesus’ compassionate voice speaking, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
And this, dearest one, is the essence of the “good life” God wants us to enjoy – a life with no fear.
I was profoundly moved by the words written by Ann Lewin in Candles and Kingfishers: Reflections on the Journey, which gave me insight into how God’s release of fear in my own heart can open the way for Him to work in new ways in my life each day:
“Uncomfortable places, deserts
Most of the time we’re tempted to
Avoid them, finding good reason to
Live lives of ease; cushioned by
Noise from self-discovery,
Clutching at world’s success
To stave off fear.
But if we dare to trust the silence
To strip away our false security,
God can begin to grow His wholeness in us,
Fill up our emptiness, destroy our fears.
Give us new vision, courage for the journey,
And make our desert blossom like a rose.”
This is the “good life” God gives us today…and everyday!
“Ascension;” To grow and move upwardly toward.
“Ascension means a
God-like view of things,
Rising above our usual
Rise, then, and know
The glory of life
Set free from fear.”
Flashes of Brightness
“Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
Matthew 14: 27
“Fear not, I am with thee, O be not dismayed;
For I am thy God, and will still give thee aid;
I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand,
Upheld by My righteous, omnipotent hand.
The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose,
I will not, I will not desert to His foes;
That soul, though all hell
Should endeavor to shake,
I’ll never, no never, no never forsake.”
A Selection of Hymns
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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