“The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad;
the desert shall rejoice and blossom like the crocus;
it shall blossom abundantly
and rejoice with joy and singing.
The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it,
the majesty of Carmel and Sharon.
They shall see the glory of the LORD,
the majesty of our God.
Strengthen the weak hands,
and make firm the feeble knees.
Say to those who have an anxious heart,
‘Be strong; fear not!
Behold your God
will come with vengeance,
with the recompense of God.
He will come and save you.’
Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
and the ears of the deaf unstopped;
then shall the lame man leap like a deer,
and the tongue of the mute sing for joy.
For waters break forth in the wilderness,
and streams in the desert;
the burning sand shall become a pool,
and the thirsty ground springs of water;
in the haunt of jackals, where they lie down,
the grass shall become reeds and rushes.”
When everywhere we look is tainted with evil, it can be so easy to turn inward in fear. It can be so easy to let every thought walk underneath a shadow of despair. Whatever we like to think in our 21st century minds; we have not changed. We have not evolved. We have not moved past the desire for power, and the desire for destruction. We have not moved past a heinous capacity for evil. When we feel surrounded by acts of terror, its easy to become terrified. (That’s the point isn’t it?) But the scripture is chalk full of verses about not being afraid. Isaiah 35 being one of them.
“Say to those who have an anxious heart, ‘Be strong; fear not! Behold your God will come with vengeance with the recompense of God. He will come and save you.'”
Isn’t it interesting the the FEAR NOT is a result of God coming with vengeance? For most of my life, I never would have seen the wrath of God as a comforting thought. But as I grow in my walk and as I grow more and more disenchanted with the way things are going on planet earth, I long for God’s justice with an ever increasing fervor. EVIL WILL BE VANQUISHED! THE DESSERT PLACES WILL OVERFLOW WITH WATER! It is an overwhelmingly joyful thought, and when I dwell on there, it helps me not to be afraid.
But perhaps more terrifying than the evil we see outside of us, is when occasion chances to show us the evil inside of us.
We can sanitize ourselves as much as we want, but the reality is exactly as the Bible shows us. Sin entered the world through disobedience; and Cain, the firstborn son of Adam and Eve, killed his younger brother Able. It didn’t take long to go from perfection to the first murder, but we are continually surprised. And perhaps that is appropriate. I don’t believe we should lose our sensitivity to the destructive presence of evil, but one more thing must follow this: We must realize that the capacity to murder is in every single one of our hearts. That our sin has separated us from the presence of a Holy God. That we are not on the comforting side of the FEAR NOT, if we have not trusted in Jesus.
“And [we] were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
We can only be comforted by the FEAR NOT, if he have first FEARED HIM. If we know that God is bigger than all the distortions mankind has wrought on planet Earth. If we know that this isn’t our ultimate home, but just a shadow of the things to come. If we understand that his hatred of evil and his righteous pursuit of justice will not land heavy on us, because Jesus took the punishment in our place, and gave us his righteousness in return. If we believe that nothing can separate us from his love, because he is just so much bigger than all of it.
He is the God who raises the dead. He is the God who makes the blind see, the mute speak and the lame leap. He is the God who created everything, and upholds everything by the word of his power. He is the God who Redeems everything, and who loved us enough to do everything necessary to bring us back to him, even though we are the ones who wrecked everything.
Let us stand in the FEAR of the LORD, and let the fear of everything else just fall away.