Panic!!

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Numbers 14:1 Then all the congregation (having heard the report of many giant people occupying the Promised Land, and their fortified cities protecting them) raised a loud cry, and the people wept that night. And all the Israelites complained against Moses and Aaron; the whole congregation said to them, “Would that we had died in the land of Egypt! Or would that we had died in this wilderness! Why is the Lord bringing us into this land to fall by the sword? Our wives and our little ones will become booty; would it not be better for us to go back to Egypt?” So they said to one another, “Let us choose a captain, and go back to Egypt.” Then Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before all the assembly of the congregation of the Israelites. And Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had spied out the land, tore their clothes and said to all the congregation of the Israelites, “The land that we went through as spies is an exceedingly good land. If the Lord is pleased with us, he will bring us into this land and give it to us, a land that flows with milk and honey. Only, do not rebel against the Lord; and do not fear the people of the land, for they are no more than bread for us; their protection is removed from them, and the Lord is with us; do not fear them.” 10 But the whole congregation threatened to stone them.

I’ve never personally counted, but I’m told there are 365 instances in scripture that read “fear not” or “be not afraid” or some variation thereof – one for every day of the year. Even if there aren’t quite that many, there’s no denying the repeated biblical message for people to… relaaaaaax. Why is this the case? Because people are prone to fear and panic.

We tend to believe our eyes and ears more than our spirits. We see difficult challenges and quickly become convinced there is no hope – this despite the fact that the Lord has delivered us from trouble over and over again. How quickly people forget the goodness and faithfulness of God. Including me.

Yet when people around you are freaking out, you don’t have to join in. You can be like Joshua and Caleb who spoke to calm fearful people, reminding them who was on their side despite the formidable forces that opposed them. Our God is greater than any earthly obstacle you face brothers and sisters. It’s true.

And even if you’re not one to speak publicly to confront fear, you can pray. Prayer is a powerful weapon to oppose a spirit of fear. When you see fear and panic take hold in others, or even when you sense it rising up in yourself, ask the Lord to give you peace that passes understanding. I can assure you that is a prayer the Lord wants to answer.

Gracious God, we all tend to get skittish once in a while. We get intimidated by the obstacles we see because we tend to ignore that which we cannot see – chiefly you, heavenly Father. Give us grace to remember who you are, and whose we are. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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