Suddenly the fingers of a human hand appeared and wrote on the plaster of the wall, near the lampstand in the royal palace. The king watched the hand as it wrote. His face turned pale and he was so frightened that his knees knocked together and his legs gave way. Daniel 5:5-6
King Belshazzar was terrified at the sight of this hand and, no doubt, just as afraid when Daniel explained that the writing predicted King Belshazzar’s imminent death.
Fear is a frequent theme of today’s passages. Imagine being the third captain sent by King Ahaziah to meet Elijah after what happened to the first two captains:
“Man of God,” (the third captain) begged, “please have respect for my life and the lives of these fifty men, your servants! See, fire has fallen from heaven and consumed the first two captains and all their men. But now have respect for my life!” The angel of the LORD said to Elijah, “Go down with him; do not be afraid of him.” 2 Kings 1:13-15
The angel of the LORD allayed Elijah’s fears? If I were the third captain, I’d be wondering, “What about me? Where’s my angel of the LORD?”
Pondering these passages over the last couple of weeks, I have been struck by how often fear dominates my consciousness through the circumstances in my life:
- Commitments in my job become overwhelming and I FEAR letting down my clients
- My bank account dips below a certain threshold and I FEAR being unable to take care of my family.
- A man in my community is senselessly shot and killed in his driveway while coming home from work. I FEAR for my life and those around me.
- I am scheduled to post on the “66 Books” blog tomorrow and I FEAR having nothing insightful to say.
I am told that fear is supposed to be an effective warning system. It is supposed to alert us of danger and compel us to act. But too often, fear seems to distract and immobilize me.
I spin wheels.
I find mindless activities to temporarily escape from the objects of my fear.
God’s Word teaches us to only fear him:
“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom…” Psalm 111:10a
I have found that when I fear Him, when I elevate Him to his proper place and give his precepts priority in my life, my other fears don’t seem as scary anymore. I need to get back to that place.
It is my earnest desire to fear only you. Give me the strength and wisdom to follow your word so that the peace of God which transcends all understanding guards my heart and mind. Amen.