1 Samuel 29 & 30: oVERCOMING FEAR

 Most of the time, I probably don’t tell you something new which you didn’t know, I remind yousomething you have forgotten.  And intoday’s lesson, David gets reminded of something he had forgotten.  God is in control.  We have heard the urgency in David’s prayers.We have heard the fear and the impatience. The stress of protecting not onlyhis two wives, but his 6oo hundred men and their families. He pushes the panicbutton and launches out on a 16 month scheme to provide for his people whatonly God can provide: peace which passes understanding.

Often a winter storm or a tornado can knock out our power. People in the Northeast where winter storms can leave them without power for days and even weeks, have invested in generator.  When the storms of life knock out the power of our faith, we need a generator to restore our faith.  Here it is: “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.”  (Romans 10: 17)  The word of God is alive and POWERFUL.

After seven years of running and hiding from King Saul and his army, David escaped to Gath where he found favor with King Achish through a scheme of deception. David and his army and all their households set up in Ziklag.  It was from here David launched raids into the territories of Israel’s enemies, taking their lives, their livestock and possessions.  He convinced King Achish, he was raiding Israel.  This web of deception was ongoing for 16 months. He had convinced King Achish he was a loyal servant and Achish makes David his bodyguard. David and his men then face a dilemma:  they are going to war against King Saul and the army of Israel.  God intervenes and causes the princes of Philistine to object to David and his men fighting with them and David and his men are sent back to Ziklag.

Now in these 16 months, David has not been sought by King Saul. He and his men have become comfortable and gained much in the way of livestock and possessions from their successful raids. They have prospered in material wealth. Spiritually they have grown poor. I cannot criticize David, for I have done the same things. What we all need to do is learn the lesson which God has given us here that all such departure from God will not solve our problems, only make them worse.

Remember the words of Thomas Aquinas:  “The object of fear is future evil that is imminent, of great magnitude and threatens the things we rightly love.”  David is about to experience a fear of great magnitude.  When they return to Ziklag, their village is burned, all possessions and flocks are taken. And the Amalekites have taken captive the women and children. David and his men weep until they had no power to weep anymore.  These hardened men are distraught. They realize David has put them in this situation. In their grief and fear they want to stone David to death. So great is their fear and anguish. David comes to his senses. He is strengthened in the Lord. He calls the Priest. He prays and seeks God’s will. And a plan is devised and a successful attack allows David and his men to recover all that was lost.

FEAR, ANXIETY AND WORRY

Don’t you hate those three words?  Don’t you wish you were not fearful, worried and anxious? You realize David was a brave warrior, but being constantly on the run was wearing him down. All he wanted was peace. Rest. Security. Safety. And yet each day and night he was looking over his shoulder to see if King Saul and his army were closing in on him. David got tired of waiting on the Lord and took on the responsibility of providing those things – which only God can provide. Fear is a strong force. It creates worry, anxiety and stress.

FEAR

Just 77 years ago this week, Japan attacked Pearl Harbor and America was to suffer great loss and a spirit of fear gripped our country.  FDR addressed the nation and said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” 

President Roosevelt realized fear may be our greatest enemy. Fear can steal your joy, rob your peace and paralyze your faith.  What we want to do is to remember what time we are afraid we will trust the Lord. We want to look at His perfect love, because this love casts out fear. The enemy goes about like a roaring lion. He strikes fear in our hearts and minds. This is why we must place a guard on our hearts and minds.  We will see how to do that. Fear is a spiritual force which can negatively affect our lives. It can create confusion and cause us to make foolish decisions.  David’s scheme to escape King Saul in order to save his people made the situation even more dangerous

Fear is a powerful emotion which can be constructive or destructive. In the Bible, the word fear can mean several different things. It can refer to terror one feels in a frightening, threatening situation. It can be constructive in providing much needed adrenaline to take action. Fear can mean “respect” as a servant fears his master and serves him faithfully, not wanting to displease him. (Joseph and Potiphar are an example) Fear can also denote the reverence or awe a person feels in the presence of greatness. The fear of the Lord is a combination of all three.  Proverbs tells us much about this fear and connects it to wisdom, knowledge and understanding. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” (Proverbs 1:7)  Proverbs 9: 10 puts it this way: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”  This tells us the fear of the Lord is the foundation to true wisdom.  In order to develop this fear (respect, awe, and desire to please not displease) we must recognize God is Who He says He is and can do what He says He can do.

I understand David’s actions. He was under continuous assault. He feared for the lives of those he loved and was responsible for. The objective of fear is future evil which is imminent, of great magnitude, and threatening to all we rightly love. This fear if not dealt with, if not cast out will produce anxiety, worry and stress. Poor decisions will be made, which will only make things worse. We are in the same battle David was. The battlefield is our minds where the enemy and its allies make continuous war on our minds, our hearts, our very souls.

Jesus said I came that you might have life, and life more abundantly. Right before that he told us the thief comes to kill and steal and destroy.  The enemy of your soul wants to steal your confidence in God and replace it with worry. He wants to steal your faith in the One Who is faithful and replace it with fear. He wants to steal your peace and replace it with anxiety.

Fear, worry and anxiety can produce no good thing. It will make you sick physically. It will cause you to launch out on your own David-like scheme to solve your problems only to find you have made it worse.

HOW TO DEAL WITH FEAR

Obviously the enemy wants you fearful and the Lord continually tells us: Fear Not, I am with you.  Please listen to this: GOD WANTS YOU TO LIVE A FEAR-FREE, FAITH-FILLED LIFE EVERY DAY! We fight fear with faith. And we activate faith with WORDS. THE WORDS AND PROMISES OF GOD.  When fear strikes I want you to say these words out loud:  “Jesus, You have not given me a spirit of fear, but of power and love and a sound mind. I will not be afraid, because you have commanded me not to be afraid. I will remain calm and trust You, Lord.

Pray a prayer like this:  “Lord helps me not to be afraid, because you are with me. Show me how to think on good things and not on things that will produce fear. Fear is an enemy of my heart and mind, and I refuse to let it steal the peace and joy of my life. Give me courage and strength to face the fears in my life which try to hold me captive. It is for freedom that You set me free. Let me have your peace and wisdom and when I am tempted to fear, I will look to you. You have made me secure, capable and free from fear in my life. I am fearless.” (Keep Calm and Trust God.)

ANXIETY.

George Mueller said, “The beginning of anxiety is the end of faith, and the beginning of true faith is the end of anxiety.” Lots of anxiety going around.  Even Christmas brings anxiety and stress. Anxiety can cause high blood pressure, ulcers, panic attacks and nervous breakdowns. We are commanded not to worry or be anxious for anything. Anxiety is brought on by worry and fear of future evil which is imminent. If God gives you a command not to do something, He will empower you with His power to do it. I Thess. 5: 24 says: “Faithful is He who calls you, who will also do it.” We must follow Him, and He promises to make us all we were created to be. Here is your action to replace anxiety:  “Be anxious for NOTHING, but in EVERYTHING by prayer and supplication, with THANKSGIVING, let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which passes understanding will guard your HEARTS AND MINDS through Jesus Christ.”    Psalm 84 says God will withhold NO GOOD THING from those who walk uprightly.

Here is a simple prayer to pray along with this verse upon which we will quote to God to remind ourselves God has promised to do exactly this.  “Lord help me not to be anxious. I know that whatever I am facing, you are right there with me and have promised never to leave me or forsake me. Help me to trust you despite the circumstances that surround me, Lord. When I am tempted to be anxious, help me to speak your promises to overcome the attacks on my mind with answers from your Word. Let me be quick to respond to wrong thoughts and replace them with good thoughts.” (“Keep Calm and Trust God.”)  Notice these simple requests and that each are God’s will. His will is for us to not be anxious. We must remember His promise He will never leave us. His promises help us overcome the attacks on our minds with the Word of God which is alive and powerful and sharper than a two-edged sword.

WORRY

Worry implies we do not trust God is big enough, powerful enough or loving and caring enough to take care of what’s happening in our lives.   Jesus said, “Therefore, I say to you, do not worry about your life,…” Matthew 6: 25.   When you look at God through the lens of your problem, it is like looking through the wrong end of the binoculars. He looks far away, distant and small. We must look at our problem through God’s eyes.  Remember his first command to Andrew and Peter in John 1> “Come and SEE.”  And Paul prayed the eyes of our hearts would be opened that we see the hope of glory.

If you dwell on your problem, you give strength to your problem. But if we believe God has commanded us to not worry about life, it means God wants us to live worry- free lives. Is that really possible? I believe it is an ongoing battle.  Now here is the secret to not worrying. You cannot tell yourself to not worry about something. You must REPLACE WORRIED THOUGHTS WITH GOD’S THOUGHTS.  As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.

Paul tells us: “Finally, brethren, whatever THINGS are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and it there is anything praiseworthy- meditate on these things. These things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.”  A promise you can stand on!!!

Worry prayer:

“Lord help me not to worry about anything. I am looking to you to see me through this situation. In obedience to your Word, I cast all my care upon You. Grant me your peace to remain steady and calm. Help me to let your peace rule and reign in my heart. I put my trust and confidence in you. I know you love me and care for as a loving father. I know You will not let me down. I believe you are working all things together for my good. Let me keep looking to you and not let my heart be troubled or fearful. Help me to be spiritually strong and courageous and not to let my emotions or feelings dictate my actions.” (Keep Calm and Trust the Lord.”)

FIGHTING THE BATTLE

“ For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty  in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience I fulfilled. (2Corinthians 10: 4-6)  Also be familiar with each piece of armor, the whole armor of God as described in Ephesians 6. These are our weapons which are mighty and divine.  

Know that you will face storms in your life. I know you know that. Know they can come suddenly or appear on the horizon as a small cloud which slowly builds into a life threatening storm.  You need hope which does not disappoint.  The sure hope we have is in the promises of God and His faithfulness to keep His promises.  “The hope we have set before us. This hope as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enter the Presence behind the veil.”(Hebrews 6: 18&19)

Listen to Jesus’s logic :  if you earthly parents desire to give good gifts to your children and sacrifice to do so- He says how much more will your Heavenly Father, the Father of lights in whom there is no shadow of turning and from Whom all good gifts come, not give you even more- REALIZE GOD HAS GIVEN YOU HIMSELF! Build your life on the Rock and you will survive the storms of life.

BLESSED ASSURANCE

Romans 8 is one of my favorite chapters in the Bible for blessed assurance.  It starts out by telling us there is now no more condemnation to those of us who are in Christ Jesus. It ends by telling us in the most powerful language there is nothing which can separate us from the Love of God which in Christ Jesus our Lord.

But in- between that are some of the verses of the most blessed assurance. I have emphasized the word ‘things’ in this lesson. Interest noun- thing. We use it to describe something which not named specifically but in general. Even God uses it as a catchall word. During creation, he looks at creation in general and say as He looked at His work and said it was good. When He created man as the last act of creation. He looked and said everything was good.   Notice the word things in these verses:

“And we know that all THINGS work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For Whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first born among many brethren. Moreover, Whom He predestined these He also called; Whom He called, these He also justified, these He also glorified. What then shall we say to these THINGS? If God is for us, who can be against us. He (God the Father) who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all THINGS.” (Romans 8: 27-32)

Listen to what God is saying to you personally. He is saying if you want to know how much I care about you. How much I love you. Then look at Calvary. We did this for you. I let them spit in My Son’s face. I let them scourge him with a cat of nine-tails, ripping the skin on His back to the bone. He was striped for you iniquities.  I watched them place a crown of thorns on His lovely head and mash it down. I watched them nail Him to a cross. I heard His plea which broke my heart, when He cried out to me and said ‘My God, my God why hast thou forsaken me? I forsook Him that I might forgive you.  We did this for you.

Now do you understand how much I love you? How can you possibly believe I will not give you every good thing you need for life and godliness.

“How shall He not with Him (Jesus) freely give us all THINGS.

Renew your mind with the Word of God or the world will conform you.

IF WE BELIEVE THIS- WE ARE TO BE ANXIOUS FOR NO THING. BUT IN EVERY THING BY PRAYER AND THANKSGIVING LET YOUR REQUESTS BE MADE KNOWN TO GOD; AND THE PEACE OF GOD WHICH PASSES UNDERSTANDING WILL GUARD YOUR HEARS AND MINDS THROUGH JESUS CHRIST.

Pray not to be anxious, worried and fearful

God has not given you a spirit of fear, but of love, power and a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1)

God is love.

The Holy Spirit is the power within us. 

Our minds are transformed by the Word of God. Jesus is the Word of God.

What do we say to all these THINGS?   If God is for us who can be against us? No one or no thing.

Key verses for Fear:  Psalm 23; Psalm 27: 1&2; Psalm 56: 3; I John 4: 18; 2 Timothy 1:7

Key verses for Anxiety:  Phil.4: 6-8.

Key verses for Worry:   Matthew 6: 25, Matthew 6:19-34, I Peter 5: 67&

Blessed Assurance:  Romans 8: 1; 27-39 20b1 ba74

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