Summary: For the Christian, the old saying; "there’s nothing to fear but fear itself" is not just a saying...it is a way of life.
Have you ever seen that decal on someone’s shirt or in the back of a lot of car and truck windows that says “no fear”? Exactly what does that does it mean? Are they claiming that they are not afraid of anything? Do they think that they are somehow invincible and have never experienced nor ever will experience fear? Well the truth is that all of us have fears of some kind or another; some people are afraid of spiders, some of snakes, thunderstorms, small spaces, and most people fear death--the list goes on and on...there are countless things that we are afraid of.
Take little Johnny Wilkins for instance, one day he was in the kitchen helping his grandma with supper. She was busy stirring a big pot of soup and asked Johnny to go into the pantry and get her a jar of canned tomatoes for the soup. Well, it was one of those big walk-in pantries and when Johnny went to turn on the light switch, he discovered that the bulb must have blown. So, he stood there with the door open, peering into the dark pantry. His grandmother saw him standing there and asked again for the tomatoes. Johnny said; the light’s blown and it’s too dark in there. His grandmother said, don’t worry sweetie, Jesus is in there, now go and get the tomatoes for grandma. Johnny really wanted to be brave but he just couldn’t summon the courage to go in and was about to walk away from the pantry when he suddenly had a great idea. He slowly opened the pantry
door once more and whispered into the darkness; “Jesus...? if you’re really in there, will you hand me a jar of tomatoes for my grandma?”
A great man once said; “there is nothing to fear but fear itself.” This morning, we will attempt to prove that, spiritually speaking, this is a one hundred percent accurate statement--for the Christian that is.
The scriptures have a lot to say about fear and what role it has in the lives of the God’s people. Going into this study, we need to realize that the bible talks about two kinds of fear.......the fear of the Lord and the fear of all else. When it talks about the “fear of the Lord” of course we realize that this word translated more accurately in our language is not “fear” as we know it, but “reverence.” And since I’ve delivered to you several sermons about the fear of the Lord, the Spirit has moved me to share with you a little bit about the other kind of fear.
We’ll begin this morning in the often times neglected book of Numbers. Chapter 13:26-33
26 They came back to Moses and Aaron and the whole Israelite community at Kadesh in the Desert of Paran. There they reported to them and to the whole assembly and showed them the fruit of the land. 27 They gave Moses this account: “We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey! Here is its fruit. 28 But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large. We even saw descendants of Anak there. 29 The Amalekites live in the Negev; the Hittites, Jebusites and Amorites live in the hill country; and the Canaanites live near the sea and along the Jordan.”
30 Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.” 31 But the men who had gone up with him said, “We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are.” 32 And they spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored. They said, “The land we
explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size. 33 We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked
the same to them.” (NIV)
Now, let’s put ourselves in the places of these 12 spies that were sent to explore the land; would your report have been like Caleb and Joshua’s or like the other ten who brought back not only the fruit of the land but also a full load of doubt and fear as well ? How would you have reacted if you were among the rest of the Israelites who heard these reports? Would you have trusted the Lord and followed Moses and Joshua into battle without giving it a second thought? Or would you have backed up and given your support to the ones who were talking about packing it all up and going back to Egypt to become slaves again?