Fear!!! grips the heart, prevents dreams, paralyzes actions, imprisons the soul. When God’s people fear anything, they embrace a downward spiral of death. Death of life–for living in fear is no life at all.
The Hebrews were on a roll. Their tormenters, the Egyptians, were decimated for resisting God’s people, ten terrible disasters capped off with the death of every family’s firstborn. No one resists God lightly!
In his song of deliverance, Moses and the people effuse with praise and rejoicing, their freedom had been a long time coming–430 years to be exact. They were invincible now, for God was on their side. The exodus had begun and they were victoriously on their way to the promised land! What lay ahead was nothing but positive, nothing could stop them. Their march was reported on ahead of them:
“The peoples have heard, they tremble; anguish has gripped the inhabitants of Philistia. Then the chiefs of Edom were dismayed; the leaders of Moab, trembling grips them; all the inhabitants of Canaan have melted away. Terror and dread fall upon them; by the greatness of Your arm they are motionless as stone…” (Ex 15:14–16).
As Christian, we too can sing, “… for He is highly exalted; the horse and its rider He has hurled into the sea. The Lord is my strength and song, and He has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise Him … and I will extol Him.” (Ex 15:1–2).
Yet, like the faithless Israelites who a very short time later, being in terror of the habitants of the land, and seeing themselves like “grasshoppers” in their eyes, shrunk back from going boldly into what was promised to them (Numbers 13:33)–we too sometimes let fear block our path from embracing the promises of God.
For Israel, Kadesh-Barnea was the place where they let fear control them, where they turned their backs to the land God had promised them. What are you fearing today? What is your Kadesh-Barnea? What has gripped your heart in terror or anxiety or worry? What are you shrinking back from? What is paralyzing you?
Remember what God has saved you from. He is still highly exalted, he is your strength. Let him be your song. By faith, I challenge you, to extol God in the face of your fear. Stare it down in the strength of the Lord. Don’t let your life die the death of fear. Remember, what Jesus said, “I have overcome the world!” (John 16:33)