Tag Archives: fear

1 Chronicles 13,14; James 1; Amos 8; Luke 3

One acted to protect. Another was stirred to anger and fear. And yet another was blessed. All were participants in a common circumstance.

The whole assembly agreed to this, for the people could see it was the right thing to do. So David summoned all Israel, from the Shihor Brook of Egypt in the south all the way to the town of Lebo-hamath in the north, to join in bringing the Ark of God from Kiriath-jearim. Then David and all Israel went to Baalah of Judah (also called Kiriath-jearim) to bring back the Ark of God, which bears the name of the Lord who is enthroned between the cherubim. They placed the Ark of God on a new cart and brought it from Abinadab’s house. Uzzah and Ahio were guiding the cart. David and all Israel were celebrating before God with all their might, singing songs and playing all kinds of musical instruments—lyres, harps, tambourines, cymbals, and trumpets. (1 Chronicles 13:4-8, NLT, emphasis added)

David was bringing back the Ark of God. He consulted his advisors and acted under the Lord’s consenting will. It was a joyful procession with an unexpected end.

But when they arrived at the threshing floor of Nacon, the oxen stumbled, and Uzzah reached out his hand to steady the Ark. 10 Then the Lord’s anger was aroused against Uzzah, and he struck him dead because he had laid his hand on the Ark. So Uzzah died there in the presence of God.

11 David was angry because the Lord’s anger had burst out against Uzzah. He named that place Perez-uzzah (which means “to burst out against Uzzah”), as it is still called today.

12 David was now afraid of God, and he asked, “How can I ever bring the Ark of God back into my care?” 13 So David did not move the Ark into the City of David. Instead, he took it to the house of Obed-edom of Gath. 14 The Ark of God remained there in Obed-edom’s house for three months, and the Lord blessed the household of Obed-edom and everything he owned. (1 Chronicles 13:9-14, NLT, emphasis added)

Some of my joyful starts have had unexpected ends. I have been powerless to protect things and people I treasure. I have been confused, wounded, disheartened by the unfolding of events–and some of these have taken years to recover from. I have been blessed beyond thought in seasons where I never expected it.

But I think on this–a common cause and three different perspectives, three different consequences–but one singular thing. Each man assigned his own narrative to it.

I don’t know what sparked Uzzah’s action: Certainly he was chosen to help carry the Ark because he was competent, responsible, and trustworthy. Were his actions instantaneous with no thought but to be helpful? Did he act because he thought David would be furious if the Ark fell? Was he protective of the impression of God, to save Him from a dishonor or embarrassment of a fallen Ark? All motivations seem reasonable. Whatever it was, Uzzah’s action was out of line, crossing a boundary of what the Lord required or expected of him, regardless of his intention or his credentials. It cost him a price. Lord, please be my guide. Give me wisdom and discernment. Keep me from butting into circumstances that are not my place to intervene. Your ways are higher than mine.

David was angry and afraid. The God he loved had acted in a way David didn’t expect, and he felt all the feelings. He didn’t understand. David was trying to do the right thing, and it went horribly wrong. This was not the happy ending of a joyful journey he had envisioned. His desire to honor God was marked by tragedy. Lord, when I struggle with expectation versus reality, help me to sort through all the feelings in a right way. Your ways are higher than mine.

An unexpected detour. When A to B takes a turn, the Ark is redirected to Obed-edom’s home for a time. In His presence, they are blessed. Lord, help me to be obedient when the unexpected happens. I pray to be aware of Your presence in all circumstances, confident in You and Your Will. You are my source of joy and peace, and I’m glad Your ways are higher than mine.

Courtney (66books365)

Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. (James 1:2-6a, NLT)

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2 Kings 18; Philemon; Hosea 11; Psalms 132-134

I wrote this quote down on a scrap paper yesterday, “It’s impossible to find out who you are while living in the best case scenario.” I love living in the best-case scenario. I love periods of calm and predictability–they feel safe. While I certainly enjoy periods of calm, I know I can’t put my faith or security in them: they don’t last.

I watch through the pages of 2 Kings as Hezekiah moves with confidence in his reign. I note: he was twenty-five when he first started reigning; he did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight; he removed shrines and idols; and,

Hezekiah trusted in the Lord, the God of Israel. There was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before or after his time. He remained faithful to the Lord in everything, and he carefully obeyed all the commands the Lord had given Moses. So the Lord was with him, and Hezekiah was successful in everything he did. He revolted against the king of Assyria and refused to pay him tribute. (2 Kings 18:5-7, NLT, emphasis added)

I think on Hezekiah’s refusal to pay tribute to Assyria. Years later, an army would arrive at border towns and threaten Hezekiah. That’s the thing about enemies, you can appease them by meeting their demands or choose not to, but either way, they are still an enemy.

“This is what the great king of Assyria says: What are you trusting in that makes you so confident? 20 Do you think that mere words can substitute for military skill and strength? Who are you counting on, that you have rebelled against me? (2 Kings 18:19b-20, NLT)

When an enemy threatens the doorstep, Lord, I want my trust in you to “make (me) so confident.”

I always thank my God when I pray for you, Philemon, because I keep hearing about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all of God’s people. And I am praying that you will put into action the generosity that comes from your faith as you understand and experience all the good things we have in Christ. Your love has given me much joy and comfort, my brother, for your kindness has often refreshed the hearts of God’s people. (Philemon 4-7, NLT)

Lord, help me to love in action and to live with an abundant perspective, to offer generously because of my faith in You and because I understand and experience all the good things I have in You. It is so very important that I focus on the Lord and know who I am in Him. This knowledge will affect my decisions and bring out who I am outside of the best case scenario.

Lord, I cannot trust changing times. I cannot trust the impulsive whims of war or peace from a dissatisfied and greedy enemy. However, I can trust in You–Way, Truth, Life. You are my strength. You are my refuge. You are my hope. Oh, help me to understand and experience all I have in You.

Courtney (66books365)

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2 Sam. 18; 2 Cor. 11; Ezek. 25; Ps. 73

“I repeat, let no one think me foolish.  But even if you do, accept me as a fool, so that I too may boast a little.  What I am saying with this boastful confidence, I say not as the Lord would but as a fool.  Since many boast according to the flesh, I too will boast.  For you gladly bear with fools, being wise yourselves!  For you bear it if someone makes slaves of you, or devours you, or takes advantage of you, or puts on airs, or strikes you in the face.  Are they servants of Christ?  I am a better one-I am talking like a madman-with far greater labors, far greater imprisonments, with countless beatings, and often near death.  In toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure.  And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches.  Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to fall, and I am not indignant?  If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.”  2 Corinthians 11:16-31 ESV Continue reading

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Judges 14; Acts 18; Jeremiah 27; Mark 13

Have you ever noticed any throw away phrases or verses in the Bible? Now I know nothing is really throw away when it comes to the verbal plenary inspiration of Scripture, but at times it seems that way.

In Revelation when the Apostle John describes the New Jerusalem and that there are gates to it and God appoints angels watch over the comings and goings. That’s all it says… where are people going? Where are they coming from?

Another time in the Gospels it reads that Jesus walked along the beach and told the disciples many more stories. What stories? Will we ever hear those stories? Why weren’t they included in the Gospels?

Well in my opinion we come across one of those throw away phrases in today’s reading. In Acts 18:9 we read, “And the Lord said to Paul in the night by a vision, ‘Do not be afraid any longer, but go on speaking and do not be silent.'” That sort of seems like a throw away verse, but hey wait a minute. The Apostle Paul was afraid? He must have been if God was telling him not to be afraid any longer. I can safely say that each one of us reading this blog post has been afraid at one time of their lives or another. And for many of us there is a real fear in sharing how much our salvation means to us. We are afraid of rejection, ridicule or isolation. And yet we have great company. Paul was afraid too. Perhaps afraid of much more. He had been beaten and flogged. That hasn’t happened to any of us for the sake of the gospel. If so let me know. I hold you in the highest regard.

But fear is fear. And to know that the Apostle Paul was afraid brings some measure of hope and calm to my spirit. The person we all look up to as spreading the gospel throughout the then known world was afraid. What a blessing — in sort of an odd way — that we are all in this together and fear is just part of the process. I have this feeling that God is telling us today not to fear, not to duck and run, but to share our faith with others in a winsome manner that draws people to Jesus.

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Joshua 2; Psalms 123-125; Isaiah 62; Matthew 10

“Then, since Rahab’s house was built into the town wall, she let them down by a rope through the window.  “Escape to the hill country,” she told them.  “Hide there for three days from the men searching for you.  Then, when they have returned, you can go on your way.”  Before they left, the men told her, “We will be bound by the oath we have taken only if you follow these instructions.  When we come into the land, you must leave the scarlet rope hanging from the window through which you let us down.  “I accept your terms,” she replied.  And she sent them on their way, leaving the scarlet rope hanging from the window…Then the two spies came down from the hill country, crossed the Jordan River, and reported to Joshua all that had happened to them.  “The Lord has given us the whole land,” they said, “for all the people in the land are terrified of us.” Joshua 2:15-23 NLT

The Lord positioned Rahab right where she needed to be for his purpose.  Rahab had the kind of courage that I want to have. She didn’t question, but accepted the plan.  And great things were accomplished because of it. It might have seemed like a small task to her at the time.  Did she even know all the lives she would affect through her obedience?

“O Jerusalem, I have posted watchmen on your walls; they will pray day and night, continually.  Take no rest, all who pray to the Lord.  Give the Lord no rest until he completes his work, until he makes Jerusalem the pride of the earth.  The Lord has sworn to Jerusalem by his own strength: “I will never again hand you over to your enemies.  The Lord has sent this message to every land: “Tell the people of Israel, ‘Look, your Savior is coming.  See, he brings his reward with him as he comes.”  They will be called, “The Holy People” and “The People Redeemed by the Lord.” And Jerusalem will be known as “The Desirable Place” and “The City No Longer Forsaken.” Isaiah 62:6-12 NLT

Am I a ‘Watchman on the Wall’ interceding for my family and friends daily?

“Look, I am sending you out as sheep among wolves.  So be as shrewd as snakes and harmless as doves.  When you are arrested, don’t worry how to respond or what to say.  God will give you the right words at the right time.  For it is not you who will be speaking-it will be the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.”  Matthew 10:16-19 NLT

I need to stay in prayer, so that I am not deceived.  I need to stay close to Him, so I can and be ready to answer anyone.

“I lift my eyes to you, O God, enthroned in heaven.  We keep looking to the Lord our God for his mercy, just as servants keep their eyes on their master, as a slave girl watches her mistress for the slightest signal.” Psalms 123:1-2 NLT

Dear Father, Thank you for so generously giving wisdom when I ask.  Help me to stay hopeful. Only you can break bonds. Amen.

Amy(amyctanner)

 

 

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