Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach. For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.
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by George C. Clark and John D. Clark, Sr.
“The Lord is my light, and my salvation; whom shall I fear?”
There is more fear in the world today than ever. Political leaders here and abroad, indeed, people everywhere are uneasy about the very survival of civilization. Fear now permeates virtually every society on earth. The reasons for this fear abound: cataclysmic weapons, pollution, terrorism, wars and rebellions, incurable diseases, economic stress, natural disasters, and more. Billions are tormented by a fear of death, as if death is the most horrible of things. While it is true that death is an enemy (1Cor. 15:26), it is a defeated enemy for the believer, a mere gateway to home with our Lord Jesus, who came to “destroy the one who held the power of death, that is, the Devil, and set those free who through fear of death were subject to bondage their whole life.”
No child of God need be found among the unbelieving and terror-stricken people of this world. “For you did not receive a spirit of slavery leading back to fear,” wrote Paul, “but you received the Spirit of adoption, by which we cry out, ‘Abba!’ (That is, ‘Father!’)”
Brother, sister, the answer to your fear lies in your return to the faith. Multitudes of truly converted people have grown weak in faith and are searching frantically for peace in the face of fear. Many are fleeing to doctors, only to be told, “I can do nothing more for you. I’ve done all that I can do.” Others are attempting through political action to establish a social stability and security which nothing but Jesus’ return will accomplish. How sad to see the saints forsake their “mighty weapons” and turn to the weak methods of man for help!
If there ever was a time when we needed to rediscover the Source of our strength, it is now. Outside of Christ, there is nothing but fear and more fear. This troubled world needs examples of fearless, consecrated believers, so that men may know that Christ Jesus is God’s eternal remedy for the affliction of fear.
You remember the story of David, the young shepherd, and Goliath, the giant warrior (1Sam. 17). David had brought some food from home for his three oldest brothers who were serving in King Saul’s army. When he looked across the valley that separated Israel’s forces from the Philistines, David spied a terrifying sight: Goliath had come out of the camp of the Philistines and was arrogantly defying the armies of Israel, saying, “Why are you coming out in battle order? Am I not a Philistine, and you, servants of Saul? Choose a man for yourselves, and have him come down to me! If he is able to fight with me and kill me, then we will be your servants, but if I prevail against him and kill him, then you shall be our servants and serve us. And the Philistine said, I defy the armies of Israel this day! Give me a man that we may fight one another! And when Saul and all Israel heard these words of the Philistine, they were dismayed and very afraid. And every man of Israel, when they saw the man, fled from him and were very afraid.”
When David saw the fear of Saul and his soldiers, he said to Saul, “Do not let any man’s heart fail because of him. Your servant will go and fight with this Philistine. Then he took his staff in his hand, and he chose for himself five smooth stones out of the brook and put them in the shepherd’s bag which he had. And his sling was in his hand, and he approached the Philistine. And the Philistine said to David, ‘Come to me and I will give your flesh to the birds of the sky and to the beasts of the field.’ But David said to the Philistine, ‘You come to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of Hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.’ And it came to pass that when the Philistine arose and came and drew near to meet David, that David hurried and ran toward the battle-line to meet the Philistine. And David put his hand in his bag and took a stone out of it, and he slung it, and he struck the Philistine in his forehead, that the stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the earth. So, David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone, and struck the Philistine and killed him, and no sword was in David’s hand. Then David ran, and stood over the Philistine, and took his sword and drew it from the sheath, and killed him, and cut off his head with it. And the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, and fled.”
I like that story, don’t you? A giant defying the armies of God, with no one able to stop him until he met someone who had no fear. Later, David would explain his courage in a song: “In God have I put my trust. I will not fear what flesh can do to me” (Ps. 56:4).
Reader, if you do not have faith in your heart to overcome your fears, you simply haven’t accepted the Word of God at face value. God has promised, “to bring salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us, that we, being delivered out of the hand of our enemies, might serve Him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before Him all the days of our life.”
Those whose lives are wrapped up in themselves, who depend on their own powers, have cause to fear, for they must, in time, realize their weaknesses and limitations. On the other hand, those who trust in God to be their strength and wisdom find that He is sufficient, and they need not be afraid. “For he has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ So, we may boldly say, ‘The Lord is my helper, and I will not be afraid of what man will do to me’” (Heb. 13:5–6).
Fear is the result of unbelief, a work of the Devil. John tells us “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear, because fear has to do with punishment, and he who fears has not been perfected in love” (1Jn. 4:18). It was David’s love perfected in fellowship with God that enabled him to say, “Yea, though I walk in the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me. Your rod and your staff, they comfort me” (Ps. 23:4). Doubtless, at the time David uttered this Psalm, he was thinking of the valley of Elah, where he fought Goliath.
The feeling that we are alone will also cause fear. That is why God tells us, “Do not be afraid, for I am with you” (Gen. 26:24). Oh, how God has commanded us ministers to “say to those with an anxious heart, ‘Be strong, do not be afraid’” (Isa. 35:4). Weakness also produces fear, and strength destroys it. Consequently, the Psalmist exulted, “The Lord is my light, and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the refuge of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? Though an army should encamp against me, my heart will not fear. Though war should rise against me, even then will I trust” (Ps. 27:1, 3).
Fear is contagious. When officers in the Israelite army found a soldier who was afraid of battle, they “let him go and return to his house, so that his brother’s heart be not melted like his heart” (Dt. 20:8). Gideon, you remember, lost 22,000 men on such a cleanup. Yet the 300 men who eventually went to battle with him were sufficient, for they trusted in God to be their Helper. Fearful men are worthless to God and to men.
God gave us a great promise, but a timely warning, when He said, “He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God, and he will be my son. As for the FEARFUL, and faithless, and sinful, and filthy, and murderers, and immoral, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake which burns with fire and sulfur, which is the Second Death” (Rev. 21:7–8). After reading this, we are not surprised at Isaiah (33:14) saying, “The sinners in Zion are afraid. Trembling has seized the ungodly. Who will sojourn in the consuming fire for us? Who will sojourn in the eternal mass for us?”
May God help us prayerfully consider the advice to Zophar, one of Job’s friends, who counseled Job, “If there is iniquity in your hand, put it far away, and do not allow injustice to dwell in your tents. For then, you will lift up your face without blemish, and you will be established and have no fear” (Job 11:14–15).
by George C. Clark
The waters were calm. No storm could be seen
When we started our voyage with the meek Nazarene.
But fearful we grew, afraid of the trip,
While soundly he slept on the stern of the ship.
His sleep we disturbed with cries of distress.
He calmed every fear and gave us sweet rest.
Our rest is now fearless as onward we sail,
And why should we fear, whatever assails?
The Lord is our life; salvation is near.
Our faith is in Jesus, so what should we fear?
With Christ as our Pilot, our Skipper, and King,
We sail any ocean and not fear a thing.
He promised to land us. The promise is made.
Then, stay in the vessel and be not afraid.