Monthly Archives: May 2010

Judges 6:10

“I said to you, ‘I am the Lord your God; do not worship the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you live.’  But you have not listened to me.” NIV

Wow.

So, I’m still working through the list of “fear nots” in my King James concordance.  The NIV doesn’t actually say “fear not” very often, but, I’ve found that almost everywhere the KJV says “fear not,” the NIV says something about fear or panic or stress, and the Message says something about worry.

This morning, the listing in my concordance for Judges 6:10 said, “fear not the Gods of the Amorites.”  I thought to myself, “that would be an interesting thing to look at — because other gods don’t come close to the power and glory of the one true God, so, I’ll take a look at that.  Maybe someone was worried about a threat from someone else.”  Threats are almost always worrisome.

Turns out, this verse is at the beginning of the story of Gideon.  The Israelites have again done evil in the sight of the Lord, and He has turned them over to the Midianites for seven years, which have been just awful.  The people have cried out to God in their misery, and God sends a prophet to them who reminds them of the salvation that the Lord provided from Egypt, and that the land of Canaan had been handed over to them, and he ends his speech with this verse.  When I first read the NIV translation, I thought, “this really isn’t talking about worry at all.”

But, then I looked at the Message, which translates it, “And I said to you, ‘I am God, your God.  Don’t for a minute be afraid of the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living.’  But you didn’t listen to me.”

That’s such a powerful verse, and so applicable to me right now.  This is a message that I really need to hear and assimilate.  I have nothing to fear … God, my God, is with me.  I need to stay focused on that and not to worry about the things that are going on here in the land where I am living.  I am going to be one who listens to God.

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Judges 4:18

Jael went out to meet Sisera and said to him, “Come, my lord, come right in.  Don’t be afraid.”  So he entered her tent, and she put a covering over him.  NIV

I’m working my way through the “fear not” listings in my King James concordance.  I’m finding that more times than not, when people are told to “fear not,” they are worried about something.

When I read through the story of Jael and Sisera this morning, I thought to myself, “This can’t possibly be a reminder not to worry!”  Here, Sisera is fleeing for his life, and Jael pretends that she will help him.  She offers him shelter, puts him to bed with a glass of milk and then, once he is asleep, she stabs him through the temple with tent stake.  Bleh!

But, as I thought more about it, I think that this is a reminder … we must trust God.  We cannot trust the assurances of others, only God is trustworthy.

In Sisera’s case, God was not on his side.  Deborah had prophesied that Sisera would die at the hand of a woman, and, Jael fulfilled that prophesy.

But, even in cases where we are in the right, we are wrong to trust in the things of this world.  This is a reminder to me to keep my faith and my trust aligned on the one sure thing — Jesus Christ my savior.

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Joshua 10:25

Joshua said to them, “Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.  Be strong and courageous.  This is what the Lord will do to all the enemies you are going to fight.” NIV

I’ve heard it said that if you are trying to teach something, listen for your own words coming back to you from the learner.  When you start to hear back from them the things that you’ve been saying to them, you can have some level of confidence that the lesson has been assimilated.

That’s what I think is interesting about these verses that I’ve been looking at over the last week or so.

God repetitively gives this message to the Israelites.  Moses assimilates it, and repeats it to Joshua, but, Moses dies before Joshua leads the people into the promised land.

God then gives this message to Joshua, and now, Joshua is delivering the message to the people, “Don’t hold back.  Don’t be timid.  Be strong!  Be confident!” MSG

What a great message for today!

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Joshua 10:8

The Lord said to Joshua, “Do not be afraid of them; I have given them into your hand.  Not one of them will be able to withstand you.” NIV

Wow.  I just read the story that surrounds these verses.

Joshua had completely defeated Ai, which wholly stressed out the other kings in the area, including the king of Jerusalem.  Joshua and the Israelites had made a treaty of peace with the people of Gibeon, who were living near them.  The king of Jerusalem gets four other kings to join him with their armies, and they all set off to attack Gibeon, which was, apparently, a pretty important city.  The king of Jerusalem was mad that Joshua had made peace with a city of such import.

So, they all march off to attack Gibeon, and, the Gibeonites appeal to their neighbor Joshua for help.

This is where the verse comes in.  God tells Joshua not to worry about all these armies, because not one of them will withstand the attack of the Israelites.  Sure enough, they don’t, and along the way, Joshua suggests to God that he will need more daylight to accomplish the task, and God stops the sun for him.  Verse 13 says, “The sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day.”  The power of God!

Joshua boldly took hold of the promises made to him by God, and look how successful he was!

I will think about that today.

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Joshua 8:1

Then the Lord said to Joshua, “Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.  Take the whole army with you and go up and attack Ai.  For I have delivered into your hands the king of Ai, his people, his city and his land.” NIV

This is a powerful reminder not to worry.  God tells Joshua to take hold of the promises that were made to Moses and to Abraham, and to recognize that God is on the side of the Israelites and that the battle, which has not yet begun, has already been won.

The Message translates the first part of this verse, “Don’t be timid and don’t so much as hesitate.”

That’s powerful, too.

I don’t want to be a timid, hesitant believer.  I want to be one who takes hold of God’s promises and walks boldly into the future that He has planned for me.

I will think about that today.

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Deuteronomy 31:8

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you;  he will never leave you nor forsake you.  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.  NIV

This verse is part of what Moses told Joshua as the two of them were preparing for Joshua to lead the Israelites into the promised land.

Since Moses knew that he would not be accompanying the people into Canaan, he must have taken extra care to ensure that Joshua remained focused on the assurance of God’s divine power and provision for His chosen people.

I love that the promises given to Abraham’s own are extended to me through the miracle of Christ Jesus.  I am completely comforted to know that the Lord goes before me and that He will be with me, and that I don’t have be afraid or discouraged, because God will never leave me or forsake me.

The Message translates the last bit of this verse, “Don’t be intimidated.  Don’t worry.”

When I think back to the purposes of this project, which are not only to attempt to find the 365 reminders not to worry that may be included in the Bible, but also to strengthen my walk with God and to seek His peace for my life, I know that one of the key benefits of the project is that I am learning more scripture.  This is a verse that I want to commit to memory.

I want to keep this beautiful promise uppermost in my mind as I face the things that are to come.

I will focus on that today.

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Deuteronomy 20:2-4

When you are about to go into battle, the priest shall come forward and address the army.  He shall say: “Hear, O Israel, today you are going into battle against your enemies.  Do not be faint-hearted or afraid; do not be terrified or give way to panic before them.  For the Lord your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory. NIV

This passage immediately follows the one I looked at yesterday.

I love that the instructions here are so clear and precise:  the priest is to come forward and address the army when Israel is about to go into battle, and to remind them that God is the one who goes with them.

Sometimes, when I’m worried about an impending battle or problem, I remember that it is all in God’s hands.  At those times, I am gifted with the “peace that passes understanding.”

Other times when I am worried, I forget that the power of God is on my side.  I place my trust in myself or my circumstances.  It is at those times that I continue to worry and fear and become fainthearted, as the verse says.

What I love about this is — God knows his children.  He knows that we will have a tendency to trust things that we can see and touch, things that seem permanent and trustworthy.  So, He plans ahead.  At the most important times, the people will be verbally reminded that the Lord their God goes with them, and that it is His divine power that will prevail.

I don’t have a priest to provide that reminder as I go out to do battle in my day.  But, I have this verse and dozens of other reminders not to worry.  Today, I will rest in the peace that God has for me and turn my worries over to Him.

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Deuteronomy 20:1

When you go to war against your enemies and see horses and chariots and an army greater than yours, do not be afraid of them, because the Lord your God, who brought you up out of Egypt, will be with you.  NIV

I realized this morning that I really don’t know that much about Deuteronomy, and yet, it contains several of the “fear not” reminders that I’ve found so far.  My NIV Bible has an introduction to each chapter of the Bible, so I went there and discovered that “the word ‘deuteronomy’ means repetition of the law. After forty years the Israelites were about to enter Canaan.  But before they did, Moses wanted to remind them of their history, all that God had done for them, and the laws they had to continue to obey as God’s chosen people.”  The introduction also says that it Moses wrote the book shortly before his death.

I think that is beautiful.  Moses would not be going with the people into the promised land, but he took the time to write down the things that he had experienced with them and to give them reminders of what to do and how much God loved them.

I love this verse.  It speaks directly to one of my favorite stories — David and Goliath.  David had taken this reminder to heart.

And, it speaks to me.  When I face obstacles that seem impossible to overcome, I don’t have to be worried or afraid.  The Lord, my God, is with me!

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Philippians 4:8-9

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things.  Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me — put into practice.  And the God of peace will be with you.  NIV

What a beautiful prescription for peace.

If I am meditating on the truth and on all the good things that come from God, there is no room in my mind for the distraction of worry.

I love the way The Message translates these verses.  “Summing it all up friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious — the best, not the worst;  the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not to curse.  Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized.  Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.” MSG

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1 Timothy 6:17

Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.  NIV

It strikes me that uncertainty is often a cause for worry, so this morning, I looked up “uncertainty” in my concordance.

It isn’t listed.

There is one listing for “uncertain,” and this verse contains that word.

I could spend some time thinking about why uncertainty is only thinly addressed in God’s word, but, not today.  My initial thinking is that the Bible is all about things that are CERTAIN … really the opposite of uncertainty.  And, when you can fully define something as the Bible so beautifully does, you don’t need antonyms to make your point.

What strikes me about this verse is Paul’s admonishment about where to put our trust, our hope.  We cannot put our trust in wealth or in any of the things of this world.  Things that we think are absolute certainties often turn out not to be.  Planes, which are supposed to fly, get grounded due to volcanic ash; people’s houses, which are supposedly built on firm foundations, topple over in tornadoes; oil that is supposed to go nicely and neatly into a tanker and off to a refinery ends up in the ocean; and the ocean, which is supposed to stay put, roils up in tsunamis and wipe out villages and cities and people’s lives.

My hope must be in God alone.  He alone holds the future.  He alone is absolute certainty.

But, I love that the verse goes beyond that thought.  Paul ends with “God, who richly provides us with everything with our enjoyment.”  While there is no certainty here and nothing to trust, God has provided amazing earthly wonders to behold.  Peacocks, and roses, and sunsets, and families, and friendships and coffee.

So, today, I will waste no time worrying over the uncertainty of my future or the future of this world.  I will follow the instructions of this verse as translated in The Message.  I will “go after God, who piles on all the riches we could ever manage.” MSG

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