Overcoming FEAR, DOUBT, and UNBELIEF…
Gideon was delivered from fear, as the Lord found him first cowering and hiding from the enemy, and then God made him into a mighty warrior. Note also that in Hebrew Gideon’s name means “Destroyer,” “Mighty warrior,” or “Feller (of trees)!”
7 When they cried out to the Lord because of Midian, 8 the Lord sent a prophet to the Israelites. He said, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: I brought you up out of slavery in Egypt. 9 I rescued you from the Egyptians and from all who oppressed you. I drove out your enemies and gave you their land. 10 I told you, ‘I am the Lord your God. You must not worship the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you now live.’ But you have not listened to me.”
11 Then the angel of the Lord came and sat beneath the great tree at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash of the clan of Abiezer. Gideon son of Joash was threshing wheat at the bottom of a winepress to hide the grain from the Midianites. 12 The angel of the Lord appeared to him and said, “Mighty hero, the Lord is with you!
As we examine the story of Gideon in the Bible, we can see that there is a part of human nature that we see evident in him that is common to all of us.
Fear is a natural part of life, and sometimes it is even very useful and necessary.
As an example, a man working on High Tension Power Lines (which typically carry anywhere from 110,000 volts and above) would do well to have a certain amount of fear, because a little carelessness and the slightest mistake on his part would fast turn him into a crispy critter.
Along this same line, there is a quote that I often use that comes from a line in an old John Wayne movie that says: “Wars are filled with brave men who are scared, and who would rather be somewhere us!”
The point is, in life when confronted with FEAR, DOUBT, and UNBELIEF; we must learn first to resist the urge to run away, and we mustn’t allow these emotions to paralyze us; but instead after having faced our trials and tribulations in the past, hopefully we have gained confidence in God, and have learned to hang our bodies and our circumstances upon the promises of His Word… which is what FAITH is!
When the Bible talks about the Fear of the Lord, for instance, it really is talking about our having reverential awe and respect for the One who is called “All Powerful,” in the Bible (and is infinitely more powerful than 110,000 volts), who also happens to be our Abba Father and our Creator!
To lose that awe and respect is a very dangerous place for any individual and even nation to be in.
And yet this is the primary problem we have today, as there are many in our nation today, even among some who would call themselves “Christian,” who have lost this reverential fear of God, and have relegated Him to the ranks of a mere mythological character; or the creation of man’s mind.
God today, at least for many people, is whatever they want him to be, in whatever particular philosophy or belief that tickles their fancy, that they feel drawn to; and I am sure if they look, especially here in California, they will eventually find something to their liking; but to follow such a path, according to what seems right to them in their mind, that has no foundation in the Holy Writ of Scripture, is pure folly; and unless they repent and change, it will ultimately lead them into an eternity of separation from the One true God… the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob!
For those who find themselves caught in this rut, worshipping something the Bible calls a false idol; it is mostly because they have yet to have an encounter with the “Living God!”
Then enters on the stage of history this man called Jesus Christ (Yeshua Ha’Mashiach—meaning Saviour, the Messiah or anointed One, in Hebrew), of whom the Bible says that He was sent by the Father to earth, in order to demonstrate God’s desire to be reconciled with His estranged Children; and to demonstrate the awesome love which He bears for all of His Children, who are created in His image and after His likeness, and who are the descendants of Adam; in order that He might show us the way of forgiveness and reconciliation back into God’s family, through FAITH; even as the Bible teaches us, and this has always been God’s plan, even from the Garden of Eden, that man should live by faith!
“The Just Shall Live By Faith”
There is something called “The Law of First Mention,” which is a hermeneutic method of determining what is meant by a particular word or phrase that is found in the Bible; in that as we study the circumstances and the history behind where that word or phrase is first mentioned, in the context of what was going on at the time, we then can glean some insight and learn the meaning of what God was trying to convey in the use of that particular word or phrase.
Here is the lesson and the message behind Habakkuk 2:4, which God was conveying for our benefit:
The situation which Habakkuk faced is the imminent invasion of the southern kingdom of Judah by the Chaldeans (who are the same as the Babylonians). This invasion eventually happened at the end of the sixth century B.C. and Jerusalem fell to Nebuchadnezzar in 586 B.C.
The Lord revealed to Habakkuk beforehand that Judah was going to be punished for her sin by the Chaldeans. Unlike Joel and Zephaniah and Amos, Habakkuk does not even mention the possibility that destruction could be averted.
He does not call for national repentance. It is too late. Instead, he predicts the destruction of Judah and beyond that the doom of the Chaldeans themselves. And he promises that the only way to preserve your life through the judgment is by faith.
So even though destruction is decreed for the nation, there is hope for individuals who hold fast their confidence in God.
The full-blown doctrine of justification by faith as Paul taught it in Romans and Galatians is not yet here. But the seed is here. So as we survey the content of this prophetic book, and as we focus on its main point, in how the story unfolds, we are taught a great gospel truth of how justification comes by faith.
(John Piper, Pastor)
This quality was found also in Father Abraham, of whom the Bible calls the father of faith, in that he illustrated this quality in his life, by his relationship and his absolute reliance and trust in God.
This quality was made obvious in Genesis 22:1-14, which is a story in the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible) where God asks Abraham to sacrifice his son, Isaac, on Mount Moriah.
According to the Biblical account, Abraham sets out to obey God’s command without questioning; and then after Isaac is bound to an altar, the angel of God stops Abraham at the last minute, at which point Abraham discovers a ram caught in some nearby bushes.
Abraham then sacrifices the ram in Isaac’s stead.
As a side note, while it is often imagined that Isaac was a small child upon their arrival at the setting of the altar, some traditional sources claim he was an adult, even as Jews are actually considered adults at age 13.
Even though the Book of Genesis does not tell the age of Isaac at the time; the Talmudic sages teach that Isaac was thirty-seven, which is likely based on the next biblical story, which is of Sarah’s death at 127 (she was ninety when Isaac was born).
Another example of Abraham’s faith is mentioned in Romans 4, when Abraham believed God’s promise that his aged wife, Sarah, would bear him a son in her old age, in spite of the physical impossibility of such a thing happening, in the natural… and thus may we also learn from Abraham’s example, illustrated here, in the things that we are facing today:
Abraham Justified by Faith
13 Clearly, God’s promise to give the whole earth to Abraham and his descendants was based not on his obedience to God’s law, but on a right relationship with God that comes by faith. 14 If God’s promise is only for those who obey the law, then faith is not necessary and the promise is pointless. 15 For the law always brings punishment on those who try to obey it. (The only way to avoid breaking the law is to have no law to break!)
16 So the promise is received by faith. It is given as a free gift. And we are all certain to receive it, whether or not we live according to the law of Moses, if we have faith like Abraham’s.
For Abraham is the father of all who believe. 17 That is what the Scriptures mean when God told him, “I have made you the father of many nations.” This happened because Abraham believed in the God who brings the dead back to life and who creates new things out of nothing.
18 Even when there was no reason for hope, Abraham kept hoping—believing that he would become the father of many nations. For God had said to him, “That’s how many descendants you will have!” 19 And Abraham’s faith did not weaken, even though, at about 100 years of age, he figured his body was as good as dead—and so was Sarah’s womb.
20 Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God. 21 He was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever he promises.
22 And because of Abraham’s faith, God counted him as righteous. 23 And when God counted him as righteous, it wasn’t just for Abraham’s benefit. It was recorded 24 for our benefit, too, assuring us that God will also count us as righteous if we believe in him, the one who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. 25
He was handed over to die because of our sins, and he was raised to life to make us right with God. Selah
So then we can learn from these lessons of Scripture, that are written for our example, that the way to overcome fear, unbelief, and doubt, is through FAITH, which the Bible says without which we CANNOT please God (Heb 11:6)!
This said FAITH is only evident in the life of a Believer as he or she begins to hang their bodies, their trials, and the total of their circumstances, upon the promises of God’s Word; which by the way, necessitates us having taken the time to meditate upon His Word first, in order that we may learn what those promises are… for as the Bible says, “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God“ (Romans 10:17).
Also there is another important scripture that we must also make note of as well, because this battle cannot be won in the flesh, solely by our abilities and strengths:
2 Corinthians 10:4-6
4The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 6And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete.
Before I close, here is a prophetic word of encouragement that I think will help:
It is Not the Season of Stripping – But Equipping
The Station of Waiting is a Holy Time
The following corporate prophetic word was given by Eileen Fisher on August 31, 2010 during her weekly Prophetic School of the Holy Spirit meeting in Colorado Springs, Colorado:
As we were singing “Holy, holy,” the Lord kept giving me this word over and over again. And He said, “I have a people who have been in waiting. They have watched trains, buses, airplanes come in and take off and they find themselves still in that station of waiting.”
He said, “That station of waiting is a holy time. It’s a time of downloading. It’s a time of receiving. It’s a time of being still and knowing that He is God. It is a time of knowing that when everything else is changing, God does not change.
“For I am about to do new things – new things in a multitude of ways. You will hear repeatedly over and over again, ‘I have never heard of that before.’ That will become a phrase that will be repeated throughout your nation. Over and over and over, they will say it once again and shake their heads in dismay and in confusion. And they will say once again, ‘I have never heard of that before.’
It is Not the Season of Stripping But Equipping
“You will know that it is Me Who has downloaded. For I am about to download over your nation, I am about to download within your homes, I am about to download over My people.” And He said, “I have called people aside, and yet they have found themselves lonely. They have found themselves in a lone spot; they have found themselves in isolation. And the enemy comes in to make them feel forgotten and forsaken.
“No!” He said, “It is not that season. It is not the season of abandonment. It is not the season of stripping My people. It is a season of equipping and pouring out and imparting to My people, so I can pull out of them what I have placed in them.
“For,” He said, “I say unto you. Be still to be downloaded into. Be still and allow Me to whisper to you. Be still and allow Me to give you visions and dreams and purpose. For in stillness not only will you come to know that I am God, but you will come to know Me in a way you have never been able to know Me before,” says the Lord your God.
Also in the devotion below, David Wilkerson develops this thought a little further.
Let us use these lessons to help us chart our paths, and fight our battles that we are having to face today; which are becoming more and more intense as we near the time of our Lord’s return!
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 22, 2010
Israel had fallen into idolatry. But their root sin was still unbelief, resulting in all kinds of fears! And God sent them a prophet to expose their root sin.
The prophet told them in so many words, “Look at you—a bunch of wimps, hiding out, afraid to stand up and fight.
You’ve already given up. But you have a history of God’s deliverance!
He gave your fathers great victories when they trusted him. And he has promised to deliver you too—yet you don’t believe him!” (See Judges 6:7–10)
Many Christians are terrified the devil is going to destroy them. They’re afraid they’ll make a mistake or go back to their sin, and the devil will have his way. But that’s a lie from the pit of hell!
The Bible says you don’t have to be terrified as you walk through this life!
When you hold on to fear, it becomes contagious. Everybody around you catches it!
When Gideon gathered his army, God told him to send home every fearful soldier: “Whoever is fearful and afraid, let him return and depart…. And there returned of the people twenty and two thousand” (Judges 7:3).
God is speaking the same word to his church today. He is asking, “Why do you fear? Why do you sin by not trusting me to bring victory to your life?
I have promised to defeat every demonic power that comes against you!”
Gideon’s father, Joash, had erected statues of Baal and the goddess Asherah, made from huge stones. His reasoning was, “Baal has given Midian power over us, so maybe if we worship their god, he’ll give us power.”
People came from miles around to worship there, including Midianites and Moabites; it was a powerful, demonic stronghold in Israel!
God told Gideon, “I’m not going to deliver Israel until you get rid of this idol that stands between us.
Lay it aside—cut it down!” So in the middle of the night Gideon “took ten men of his servants, and did as the Lord had said unto him” (Judges 6:27). He took an ox and used ropes to pull down Baal and Asherah!
God is giving his church today the same message he gave Gideon: “I want to help you—but I can’t when you don’t trust me.
You’re full of fear. And before I bring deliverance, you’re going to have to pull down this stronghold, this besetting sin!” “Lay aside every weight and the sin which doth so easily beset [you]” (Hebrews 12:1).
We are to pull down all strongholds of fear and sin!
Gideon pulled down demonic strongholds using a strong ox. But we have been given weapons far more powerful than Gideon’s (see 2 Corinthians 10:4–5).
Victory comes by praying in faith. This doesn’t mean cold, empty prayer but prayer in the Spirit, prayer that believes God to answer: “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit” (Ephesians 6:18).