Wednesday, August 5, 2020 -
Today I took three tests that I believe, thanks to the Lord, will enable me to get credit for three classes I won’t need to take, preparing me to be ready for a job when leaving prison. I found them pretty straightforward and really didn’t have any problems with them.
I was also contemplating the world as we see it today. I’m convinced part of the problem of why it is in such a mess, in utter rebellion against God, is because most Christians live in fear. The recent COVID-19 “pandemic” provides one expression of what has been the spirit of fear that is growing within the body of Christ. For too long we forgot what the writer of Hebrews said in Hebrews 13:6: “. . . that we can confidently say, ‘The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?’” People hideaway in their homes rather than reaching out in love to the masses of humanity who surround them lost without hope – without Christ. Yet we have the answer! Even when the opportunity arises to share what He has done for us we shrink away in cowardice and fear! The prophet Ezekiel is very explicit in this regard in Ezekiel 33:8, that if we “do not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require from your hand.”
The Bible provides many examples of men who acted valiantly in the face of great odds, knowing God was on their side. Daniel, Gideon, David, John the Baptist, Paul, and many more are examples. One amazing example is found in I Samuel 13-14, at a time when all Israel was at the mercy of the Philistines. There were only two swords among the army of Israel, one in Saul’s possession and the other in Jonathan’s. Saul was cowering in fear under a tree, but his son, Jonathan, snuck out from the midst of the camp with his armor-bearer, his intention being to singlehandedly attack the Philistine army with God’s help. He told his armor-bearer, “Perhaps, the Lord will work for us, for the Lord is not restrained to save by many or few” (I Samuel 14:6). He knew that God was with him. His armor-bearer who did not even carry a weapon chose to enter Jonathan’s single-handed battle with him anyway and together they slew 20 men within an acre area. Jonathan gives full credit to the Lord (I Samuel 14:12). Then God steps in and causes a great earthquake, putting fear in the enemy’s camp, and Saul realizes his son, Jonathan, had gone into battle without them. When Saul and his men got to the battle, they found the Philistines battling themselves. Not only that, there were apparently a number of Hebrew traitors who were with the Philistine army, who saw that Jonathan, Saul, and the Hebrews were rallying against the enemy, and they, too, took up arms against the Philistines.
But there were also those Israelites who so feared the Philistines that they fled to the hills and hid, and they, too, took up the pursuit of the fleeing Philistine army.
Just think about this. One man’s bravery, willing to stand up against an entire nation and its army, refusing to bend to the fear of man knowing God was on his side, rallied all Israel to stand up to their enemy as God expected them to be doing all along!
So, too, could one Christian who determines not to fear man, but step out in faith against a seemingly insurmountable enemy, change the course of a community, a town, a city, or even a nation! We must not cower in fear of what man might say or do when we take a stand for Christ, call sin evil, and proclaim that Christ is the only way. This must be done in love, according to Jesus Himself, for love conquers all. But we must be brave and use every opportunity. We need to stop hiding in our homes and getting out talking to people, engaging them in conversation. The time is perfect to point people to the hopelessness of life without Christ. He is the only answer!