the Answer to Paralyzing Fear
The Answer to Paralyzing Fear.
“You are not to say, It is a conspiracy!” In regard to all this, people call a conspiracy, and you are not to fear what they fear or be in dread of it. It is the Lord of hosts whom you should regard as holy. And He shall be your fear, and He shall be your dread.”
Israel was facing uncertain times. Because of their sin and rejection of God’s law, they faced the upheaval of invasion and the uncertainty of the impending threat of an Assyrian attack on the land. This threat was more than just a political threat; it was God’s judgment upon a nation that had abandoned God and his word. At first glance, it seemed that the threat against Israel was destroyed. The people feared Samaria and Damascus, so when God pronounced judgment upon them and the Assyrians conquered them, the people of Israel regarded Assyria as their military savior. Thus the people trusted Assyria for their protection. However, the people rejected God. As a result, their confidence and trust in Assyria would soon turn to terror as the Assyrians invaded Judah (5-8).
But the invasion of Judah was not a sign that God had completely abandoned them. Even as God pronounces judgment upon Judah, he also appeals to the people to turn back to him and trust him. With the uncertainty of the day, the people were allowing the world's social, religious, and political pressures to dictate their view of God. Thus God challenges Isaiah and the righteous remnant of Israel “not to walk in the way of these people” (vs. 11). They were not to get caught up in talk of conspiracies and fear. They were not to be governed by the fear of the culture, for God is the one in control, and he is the only one they are to fear (vs. 12-13).
This is true of our culture today. Today people are paralyzed by fear. The left believes that the right has hidden agendas. The right thinks the left is developing hidden conspiracies. Both sides accuse the other of hidden political plots to carry out some harmful or illegal act to further their agenda. As a result, we have become a culture of fear. We fear the hidden political agendas of the other side of the political spectrum. We fear economic collapse. We fear global warming. We fear the onslaught of hidden viruses. We fear the potential for international conflict---and the list goes on. But Isaiah reminds us that there is only one thing we should fear, and that is the Lord of Hosts. As Vance Havner once stated, “We love everything but righteousness and fear everything but God.” To fear God is not to stand in terror before God but to stand in awe and wonder of his supremacy, holiness, and power. In response to God, we are to reshape all our thinking so that the focus is no longer upon the circumstances that cause us fear but on the God who controls all circumstances. He directs the nations and the activities on the earth. He is the one who sustains the universe and moves all events to achieve his predesigned purpose. Therefore, he becomes our sanctuary, a place of refuge and security. Instead of fearing the schemes of men, we are to rest in the shelter of God. He is the place of comfort in times of world uncertainty.
Do we get caught up in the culture of fear that grips our world? Do we fear the hidden conspiracies of manipulative politicians? Or do we trust in the all-powerful God who governs history, controls the movements of nations, and provides refuge for those who trust in him?