‘Do not call conspiracy everything that these people call conspiracy; do not fear what they fear, and do not dread it. The Lord Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy, he is the one you are to fear, he is the one you are to dread’ (Isaiah 8:12,13)
We find the prophet, Isaiah here at his admonishing best, chiding the people of God for seeking fear in every circumstance. Surrounded by hostile nations with ambitious intent, Israel had come to interpret every movement by their neighbors as a conspiracy. Fear was a constant accompaniment of their life-exactly what was not meant to be for a people of God!
With his limitations, as man lives out his temporary life here on earth, he is faced with several fears and insecurities. Can I sustain my job? Will my savings last? Will my home be safe? Will my nation be secure? Every situation is interpreted as a threat to what we cherish and value. Fear becomes part of our lives, so much so that a majority of decisions in our day to lives are made purely out of fear. In today’s world, there is insurance handed out by companies for practically everything in life. In the medical world which is paralyzed by litigations, a number of doctors end up practicing ‘defensive medicine’ where extra investigations and additional medical treatment is handed out not necessarily because the patient might need it, but because they want to make sure ‘everything’ is done. Why blame them, because the patient would not have it any other way either? The frenzy of selling stock when the market crashes, the ‘wonder preventive pills’ that are gulped down by the gullible, hoarding money because ‘you never know’, trying hard to please the boss rather than get the job done right, are all examples from day-to-day life where fear becomes the basis for decision making.
But we might counter, “Is fear not a good thing, helping us to make wise decisions for life?” “ Is it not a good thing to interpret circumstances, see danger and take precautions?” Yes, but unless we see the larger picture of a sovereign God who controls all things and our limitations in ensuring that we have a smooth ride during our journey on earth, making fear the motive for our life and taking precautions is a futile exercise. It is true that fear of God is inversely proportional to the fear that man has for circumstances and people around him. Isaiah in the above passage while admonishing the people not to see conspiracies in everything, provides them with the alternative of worshipping and fearing God.
‘The wicked man flees though no one pursues, but the righteous are as bold as a lion’ (Proverbs 28:1).
There is humor in this verse as we are called to imagine a situation where the wicked man is running away from imaginary adversaries. His wickedness or the lack of a relationship with God leads to a paucity of discernment and an abnormal submission to fear. In contrast, we see the righteous who put their trust in God, being unfazed by threatening circumstances, roaming through life like a lion in wild that refuses to give up ground no matter what the threat. The greater a Christian’s faith, the more bold he will be in life. He takes on circumstances that are challenging and like a David forging ahead to meet Goliath, goes forward decisively and takes them down. He refuses to be intimidated by the authority of people and philosophies around him and carves out a life-course that reflects his fear of God and submission to Him. And when he has perfected the art of seeking God, he sees no reason at any time to seek fear.
- THE SHADOW OF THE ALMIGHTY
- REJOICING IN THE ROUTINES