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Archive for the ‘Faithful Companion’ Category

The LORD promises that with His love He will quiet us.  In Zephaniah 3:17, the prophet tells us, “The LORD your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.”

The picture is perhaps of the child who buries her face in the bosom of a parent; the small body shaking with sobs.  The parent speaks soft words, sings gentle songs of reassurance until the sobbing subsides.

This is a picture of our Heavenly Father.  He will hold you to His bosom as you pour out your sorrow, your fear, your loss, your frustration, or whatever is stealing your “quiet.”  In that moment, He whispers to you of His great love for you.  Knowing of His love, being reminded again of how much He loves you, all His promises to you, you become quiet.  He has quieted you with His love.

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Given the pervasive nature of fear, it seems wise for us to consider more of what the Bible would teach us about fear and fighting fear.

On the nature of fear . . . 

  • There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.  1John 4:18
  • The love of God for us is perfect love.  When we walk in the love of God, in fellowship with Him, abiding in His word and living by His Spirit, we can experience a life free of fear.  In fellowship with God, the torment must flee and the Spirit of God brings peace, the peace that passes understanding.
On why we shouldn’t fear . . .
  • Therefore do not fear them. For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known.  Matthew 10:26
  • Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”  Luke 12:32 (Jesus speaking)
Without fear, it is possible to have peace
  • You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You.  Isaiah 26:3
With God, we have a remedy for our fear.  Look to Jesus, author and finisher of our faith.  Focus on what God has done, is doing and will do.
Turn your eyes upon Jesus . . . look full in His wonder face and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.

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What does the future hold? . . .  How will I keep my house without a job? . . . What will I do if my spouse gets ill and can’t work? . . .  What if my spouse leaves me? . . . What if no one loves me? . . . Who will help me when I get older? . . .  How will my child make it in the world? . . . What’s that noise upstairs? . . . Who’s at the door at this time of night?

Big and small, fears are our constant companions.  Fear is one of the universals of the human condition.  We all have fears.  Perhaps that is why the Bible mentions fear and commands us not to fear so many times.

We can learn some important things from the Bible about fear.
There is only One to fear . . . 
  • Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.  Matthew 10:28
Fear not because God is with you . . .
  • Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.  Behold, all those who were incensed against you Shall be ashamed and disgraced; They shall be as nothing, And those who strive with you shall perish.  You shall seek them and not find them-Those who contended with you. Those who war against you Shall be as nothing, As a nonexistent thing. For I, the LORD your God, will hold your right hand, Saying to you, ‘Fear not, I will help you.’  Isaiah 41:10-13
Don’t fear because God will not leave you . . . 
  • Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.”  Deuteronomy 31:6
Fight fear with the Word of God.  When you are afraid, remember what God has said and remember that God cannot lie.  What He promises, He will do.

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As with everything worth conquering, fear is a worthy adversary.  Fear can be rational like when you fear for your life when driving in a snow storm and your car makes a 180 degrees turn, so you are facing oncoming traffic with just as little traction as you.

Or fear can be irrational, totally disproportionate to age, experience, or actual conditions.  Irrational fear is more crippling.  It keeps one from starting or finishing, from forgiving or leaving, from loving or risking, from living or dying (to self).

Joshua gives great encouragement,  “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”

Whew . . . the LORD your God is with you wherever you go?!!  Problem solved.  Fear banished . . . for now.

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Continuing in this series of posts on Knowing God and specifically knowing of His great love for us, we look today at another picture from the Old Testament that give us further insight into the great love of God.

In Exodus 13:21-22, we’re told, ” the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so as to go by day and night and  He did not take away the pillar of cloud by day or the pillar of fire by night from before the people.”

In Numbers 9:17-22   we read the following more specific discussion of the pillar of cloud and the pillar of fire:   “Whenever the cloud was taken up from above the tabernacle, after that the children of Israel would journey; and in the place where the cloud settled, there the children of Israel would pitch their tents.  At the command of the LORD the children of Israel would journey, and at the command of the LORD they would camp; as long as the cloud stayed above the tabernacle they remained encamped.  Even when the cloud continued long, many days above the tabernacle, the children of Israel kept the charge of the LORD and did not journey.  So it was, when the cloud was above the tabernacle a few days: according to the command of the LORD they would remain encamped, and according to the command of the LORD they would journey.  So it was, when the cloud remained only from evening until morning: when the cloud was taken up in the morning, then they would journey; whether by day or by night, whenever the cloud was taken up, they would journey. 22 Whether it was two days, a month, or a year that the cloud remained above the tabernacle, the children of Israel would remain encamped and not journey; but when it was taken up, they would journey. “

The following can be see about the amazing love of God from these passages of scripture:

  • God is a light to dispel the darkness around us. The Israelites were in the middle of the wilderness.  No street lights cut through the darkness of night.  No lights from far off buildings or roads could be seen.  BUT GOD provided a light for His children, so they would not be left in the dark.  This light could be seen from all over the camp.  It was God’s presence with them, pushing back the darkness.
  • God is a cloud to protect us from the heat. The pillar of cloud provided relief from the scorching desert sun.  The Israelites were in the wilderness in Israel with desert terrain, rocks, few trees and limited relief from the relentless sun for 12-15 hours a day.  Under the cloud, close to God’s presence, the people would have been able to find some relief.  God was the protection from burning, a cool respite, a comfort.  He is that for us as well.
  • God is a guide for us on the path that He has chosen for us. The fool in his rebellion and self-reliance resists the guidance of an almighty and all-knowing God.  God by the picture of the pillar of fire/pillar of cloud shows that He is our guide.  If we will but look up and keep our eyes on Him, He will lead us in the way we should go.
  • God desires to teach us dependence on Him alone. The great love of God is that He desires close and living relationship with us.  The desire for relationship is what caused Jesus to go to the cross, “for the joy set before Him.”  That joy was us, the idea of relationship with us, something never possible without the perfect blood sacrifice to satisfy the law’s requirement for sin.  The pillar of cloud and fire is a picture of the dependence and relationship God is looking for with us, a daily relationship of dependence.  The Israelites didn’t know what they were doing or where they were going each day until they looked up to the presence of God in the camp.  Did the cloud move?  Were they traveling today?  So too with us.  We must have a daily dependence, daily relationship with God.  We must check with Him each day to know how to proceed.

Amazing love . . . that causes a God, who is totally sufficient in Himself, to seek to do for us  what we cannot do for ourselves.  Look to Him!  Rely on Him!  He is faithful.

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As we continue in our endeavor to know God more, consider Deuteronomy 31:8:  “[The LORD] is the one who goes before you.  He will be with you.  He will not leave or forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.”

I find the following attributes of God described in this verse:

  • God as Leader (“goes before you)
  • God as faithful companion (He will not leave or forsake you)

God goes before me to lead me.  He shows me the way not by pointing to it on some map or instruction manual.  He leads me Himself.  This speaks of His personal and intimate involvement in my life.

God asks the rhetorical question (the answer is obvious)  through the Prophet Jeremiah, “Am I a God near at hand, . . . And not a God afar off?”  Jer. 23:23

In addition to leading me and going before me, God is a faithful companion along the way.  He will not leave me or forsake (abandon, desert, or give up on) me.  Because He wants to make sure that I know He is near, He repeats the promise “I will never leave or forsake you”  many times in the Bible.  He knows that I am afraid of this.

  • Deuteronomy 31:6 “Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.”
  • Deuteronomy 31:8 “And the LORD, He is the one who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.”
  • Joshua 1:5 “No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life; as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you.
  • 1Chronicles 28:20 And David said to his son Solomon, “Be strong and of good courage, and do it; do not fear nor be dismayed, for the LORD God-my God-will be with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you, until you have finished all the work for the service of the house of the LORD.
  • Heb 13:5 Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.

No person can make this promise and ever hope to be able to keep it.  Having lost my father at age 3, I learned early that people leave and forsake us despite the best intentions.  Only God can make the promise to always be with me and really carry it out.  He alone is God.

To the only true God, my leader and ever faithful companion, be honor and glory forever!

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