Do not be Afraid

August 14, 2018

Nehemiah 5:14-7:73a

1 Corinthians 8:1-13

Psalm 33:1-11

Proverbs 21:8-10

 

Life is full of really crappy stuff. It's daily, it's heartbreaking, it's exhausting, it's scary, it's awful. It's awful! When you have it good it could all fall apart. When you don't have it good it could get worse. Life is awful. As human beings we have to face so many obstacles, so many challenges, so many wrecking things. 

 

And yet, how many times does the Bible say "do not be afraid"? 

 

So many times in the Bible when people of God are looking life, fear, and heartbreak in the face God says "do not be afraid."

 

And maybe if we're reading the Bible story we can say, "Yeah, stop being afraid." We can be detached, an outsider who thinks rationally and doesn't feel what the characters are feeling. But we've all had moments in our lives when it's falling apart and fear, dread, and grief is all-consuming and "do not be afraid" does not penetrate. It doesn't make sense, it's a foreign language. "This life event" plus "that life event" equals fear and doubt just as simply as 2 plus 2 equals 4... "Do not be afraid?" Yeah right! 

 

But that is what we are told. We are told "do not be afraid." We are told "trust ME." And it probably doesn't feel good, it probably doesn't look like it fixes anything but we have to choose to obey and trust and that's called faith. 

 

Nehemiah is praised for his faith and courage.

"I will build the wall!"

"I will stand before the king and ask to build the wall!"

"I will build the wall!" 

 

He prays, he weeps, he leads, humbly, courageously and he's running on nothing but faith. 

And everything he's worked for is threatened. All the people and small baby children he has been responsible for are threatened. It seems, maybe, everything is falling apart. It seems, maybe, they will all die. Life...takes another bleak turn. War. 

 

And Nehemiah says, "Do not be afraid." 

 

"Don't be afraid of them. Remember the LORD, who is GREAT and AWESOME, and fight for your families." 

Nehemiah 4:14

 

In the face of one of life's hardest moments Nehemiah is the one saying it: "Do not be afraid." 

 

And I don't like glorifying Bible characters. People do it too much, "oh I don't have faith like that." "Wow, I wouldn't react like that, Paul, Nehemiah, Moses...they are so amazing."

They aren't!

 

I want to look at this story and tell myself and tell the people who will listen to me that faith like this can be ours! Because the great and awesome God Nehemiah is talking about is ours too! We don't have to fear either, no matter what life is throwing our way. 

 

I hope to be a person standing up and telling myself or telling my friends or telling my fellow soldiers "do not be afraid, remember the LORD." Maybe it doesn't make sense...to not be afraid...maybe not right away...but God is bigger than anything life might throw my direction. He wins. Life may be awful but God is awesome and good and real. And He's on my side! 

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