Saturday, March 05, 2011

What Do You Fear? What Should You Fear?

“Do not call conspiracy all that this people calls conspiracy, and do not fear what they fear, nor be in dread. But the Lord of hosts, Him you shall honor as holy. Let Him be your fear, and let Him be your dread.”  (Isaiah 8:12-13 ESV)

Oil prices are up.  Gas prices are up.  The housing market is still struggling.  Taxes are probably going up.  Jobs are uncertain.  Politicians are wrangling about one thing or another.  The news headlines bring one story after another of unrest and upheaval.  It would probably not be a far cry to say that our times are uncertain.  Many people are worried about the present.  Many people are worried about the future.  As the tumult swarms around you, what are you afraid of?  

Although Isaiah lived over 2700 years ago, the words he penned under inspiration by God still ring true for today.  The people of Isaiah's day were besieged by uncertainty.  Assyria was on the rise as a dominating power.  Kings came and went.  The times were uncertain.  In the midst of all this uncertainty, Isaiah's words ring out: “Do not fear what they fear.”  Don't be alarmed.  Don't ring your hands in agitation.  Don't look at the world around you and fall into worry.  

So also for us.  Do not fear what the world around you fears.  Do not fear the economic situation.  Do not fear the financial situation.  Do not fear the political situation.  Do not fear the global situation.  Do not fear the things that are around you!  

Now, to some of you, this might seem to be easily said and yet hard to act out.  So, Isaiah tells us how to keep from fearing our situations.  In contrast to his exhortation to “not fear what they fear” he says, “but the Lord of hosts . . . let Him be your fear.”  This is the only cure to fearing our situations.  We must let God be our fear.  
What does that look like in practice?  Isaiah spells it out: “Him you shall honor as holy.”  God is holy, set apart from all of the tumult on this planet.  In fact, nothing happens here that is beyond His control or outside of His control.  As we focus on who God is, as we focus on making our lives reflect who He is, our focus is turned away from our situations.  We no longer fear “what they fear.”  Our primary concern – even fear – becomes having a life that is God-centered and God-focused.  

What about about the economic situation?  God is in control.  My fear needs to be to remain focused on God.  What about the financial situation?  God is in control.  My focus needs to be on the God Who can provide all my needs.  What about the political situation?  God is in control.  My focus needs to be on the God Who sets up rulers and takes them down.  What about the global situation?  God is in control.  My focus needs to be on the God Who formed this world and Who is working out His plan for this world.  

If you are struggling with fearing “what they fear,” ask God to help you to regain a right focus upon Him.  He should be our fear.  Nothing else.  

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