Posts Tagged ‘fear’

Ornan Who?

September 6, 2017

I want to be like Ornan.  If I were to take a poll, I doubt that there would be one in a thousand who would recognize the name of Ornan the Jebusite.  Nonetheless, he is the hero of our message today.

I need to introduce the context of today’s scripture.  David had commanded that the nation of Israel be counted.  This was something that he was not supposed to do, but he did it anyway.  God was displeased with his action and gave him a choice of punishments.  David choose to ‘fall into the hand of God”.  70,000 people were slain by an angel that God had sent to carry out the judgement.

I.  Ornan:  I Chronicles 21: 15-16, 20

And God sent an angel to Jerusalem to destroy it. As he was destroying, the Lord looked and relented of the disaster, and said to the angel who was destroying, “It is enough; now restrain your hand.” And the angel of the Lord stood by the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite.

16 Then David lifted his eyes and saw the angel of the Lord standing between earth and heaven, having in his hand a drawn sword stretched out over Jerusalem. So David and the elders, clothed in sackcloth, fell on their faces.

 Now Ornan turned and saw the angel; and his four sons who were with him hid themselves, but Ornan continued threshing wheat.

This angel had already slain 70,000 people.  It was an angel of death and destruction.  I can only imagine how terrifying the sight must have been for those who were present.

David and the elders with him fell on their faces.

Ornan’s sons hid themselves.

Ornan saw the angel and went back to his threshing of wheat.

Apparently Ornan was not afraid.  I suspect that he recognized that God was with him.  Psalms 118:6 says:

The Lord is on my side;
I will not fear.
What can man do to me?

I want to be like Ornan.  I want to have a walk with God that gives me the confidence to look at the angel of death and go about the business that is at hand.

II.  Soloman:  I Chronicles 22:12-13

 Only may the Lord give you wisdom and understanding, and give you charge concerning Israel, that you may keep the law of the Lord your God. 13 Then you will prosper, if you take care to fulfill the statutes and judgments with which the Lord charged Moses concerning Israel. Be strong and of good courage; do not fear nor be dismayed.

We need God to give us wisdom.  Wisdom allows us to know what to do in any given situation.  We do not want to depend solely on human wisdom.  We want the wisdom that comes from God.

Of course, God has already given us much instruction in His Word.  When God gives us direction, it is clearly in our best interest to follow it.  We should live our lives in obedience to God’s Word and His Spirit.

If we are walking with God in obedience we should expect that we can be strong and of good courage.  God is with us.

I want to be like Ornan.

III.  Daniel 11:32-33

Those who do wickedly against the covenant he shall corrupt with flattery; but the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits. 33 And those of the people who understand shall instruct many; yet for many days they shall fall by sword and flame, by captivity and plundering.

Daniel is speaking here about the end times, but really, it can apply to the people of God anytime.

Those who know God shall be strong and do great things.

May we come to know God.  May we know God more.  May we do great things in His service.  May we instruct others who see the difference that God makes in us.

Under the right circumstances the ordinary can be extraordinary.

Ornan was simply  threshing wheat…..in the presence of the angel of destruction.

I have never threshed wheat.  I have never seen the angel of destruction.

I want to know God in such a way that I will be courageous and faithful whatever I may face.

I want to be like Ornan.

Responding to a Threat

October 19, 2016

Have you ever been threatened?  Or perhaps, you feel threatened by what you see on the horizon.  The message today is for you.

I.  Threat:  Isaiah 37:10-11

 “Thus you shall speak to Hezekiah king of Judah, saying: ‘Do not let your God in whom you trust deceive you, saying, “Jerusalem shall not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria.” 11 Look! You have heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all lands by utterly destroying them; and shall you be delivered?

A.  Judah was threatened with conquest by the Assyrians.  The Assyrians were a powerful nation that had already conquered many nations.  They had given Judah the option of either surrendering and being deported or resisting and being destroyed.  They had been successful so far, and from the physical evaluation Judah had no chance at all.  The Assyrians did not believe that God would be able to do anything to stop them.

B.  Most of us are not in threat of physical danger.  There are, however, different types of threats.  The response of Hezekiah to this physical threat is a response that will work with any type of threat.

II.  Response:  Isaiah 37:14-20

And Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers, and read it; and Hezekiah went up to the house of the Lord, and spread it before the Lord. 15 Then Hezekiah prayed to the Lord, saying: 16 “O Lord of hosts, God of Israel, the One who dwells between the cherubim, You are God, You alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. 17 Incline Your ear, O Lord, and hear; open Your eyes, O Lord, and see; and hear all the words of Sennacherib, which he has sent to reproach the living God. 18 Truly, Lord, the kings of Assyria have laid waste all the nations and their lands, 19 and have cast their gods into the fire; for they were not gods, but the work of men’s hands—wood and stone. Therefore they destroyed them. 20 Now therefore, O Lord our God, save us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that You are the Lord, You alone.”

A.  Pray:  Hezekiah’s  response was to bring it to God.  Our first response also should be to turn to God.  He is not our last resort, but our first choice.  God, here is our problem.  What should we do?

B.  Trust:  Hezekiah trusted in God.  So can we.  If God is for us, who can be against us?  (Romans 8:31)

C.  Listen:  In the case of Hezekiah, God took care of the problem as we shall see shortly.  For us, it is important to ask God to guide us.  If we ask God for guidance He will direct our steps.

D.  Act:  Don’t bother asking for directions if you are not going to follow them.  It would be better not to ask, than to ask and then disobey.  Throughout the history of Israel, individuals had occasionally been been given unusual directions.  Trust and obedience are rewarded.

III.  Deliverance:  Isaiah 37:33-37

“Therefore thus says the Lord concerning the king of Assyria:

‘He shall not come into this city,
Nor shoot an arrow there,
Nor come before it with shield,
Nor build a siege mound against it.
34 By the way that he came,
By the same shall he return;
And he shall not come into this city,’
Says the Lord.
35 ‘For I will defend this city, to save it
For My own sake and for My servant David’s sake.’”

36 Then the angel of the Lord went out, and killed in the camp of the Assyrians one hundred and eighty-five thousand; and when people arose early in the morning, there were the corpses—all dead. 37 So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed and went away, returned home, and remained at Nineveh.

God is able to deliver us.

Whatever we face, whatever our problem may be, nothing is too big for God.

Sometimes, we do need to remember that God is working from an eternal perspective.  From our point of view, we do not always see things working out for us.  We can trust that God knows what He is doing and that in the end, everything will work out for good.  (Romans 8:28)

These are the sermon notes from 10/16/16.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them. 

A Powerful Verse

March 26, 2015

There are many wonderful scripture verses that Christians have memorized over the years.  These verses can be very helpful in times of discouragement.  One of those verses is II Timothy 1:7.  Here I am quoting both 6 &  7.

 Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

I.  The Gift of God:  Romans 12:6-8

 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

Each of us has received a gift from God that He expects us to use for the building of His kingdom.  These gifts are not the same.  Each of us needs to do our part.  At all stages of our life God has a purpose for us.  We are supposed to be involved in the work of the kingdom.

II.  No Fear

Romans 8:31

 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

If God is with us, what would make us afraid?  The problem is that we cannot see God with our physical eyes.  We need to believe that He is with us.  We need to have faith.  We should do what God calls us to do and not be afraid.

John 16:33

These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

We can be at peace knowing that even in the midst of tribulation, or trial, that God will see us through the days of darkness.  Jesus has overcome the world and He is with us.

III.  Power:  I John 4:4

You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.

We do not operate in our own power, but by the power of the Spirit that dwells within us.  We have more power than we realize.  It is not our power, but the power of God to do what He has called us to do.

IV.  Love:  I John 4:7

 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.

God loves us.  We love God.  God loves all people.  We should love all people.  Our actions should be motivated by our love for God and for people.  God has not given us the power of hate, but the power of love.

V.  Sound Mind/Disclipline

We are able to think clearly.  God is able to give us insight into problems.  Some translations use the word discipline instead of sound mind.  That is also good.  God is able to give us the discipline that we need to carry through on what should be done.

This one verse is a wonderfully reassuring verse that we should all use to encourage ourselves, or others as needed.

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

These are the sermon notes from 3/8/15.  Any advertisements that might appear have been placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them. 

From Fear to Love

February 26, 2015

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”  Proverbs 9:10

I have this verse on a poster on the wall in my office at the college.  As a philosophy instructor I consider it to be particularly appropriate since philosophy is made up of two Greek words that together mean ‘the love of wisdom’.  I consider faith in God to be the starting point of my philosophy of life.  Traditionally,when discussing this verse, I emphasize the need to believe in, be in awe of, and to have respect for, the person of God, resulting in obedience to His commands.

The other day I was in a Chi Alpha meeting at the college where I teach.  Chi Alpha is a student club for Christian growth and outreach.  At our campus, it primarily is a weekly meeting for prayer and Bible study.  It is open to all students, faculty, staff, and guests.  One of our regular guests is a retired gentleman who comes to the college library to read.  At this particular meeting one of the students brought up the question of the fear of the Lord.  We discussed it for a while and had agreed upon basically the definition that is stated above.

As we were concluding our discussion, the retired gentleman offered a different perspective.  He pointed out that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.  He commented that we start with that attitude, and grow in our love for God.  I have been periodically reflecting on that thought for the last two days.  I John 4:18 says ”  There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. ”  We still believe in, are in awe of, and have respect for God, but it is to be rooted in love, not fear.

One of my concerns is that people will over-emphasis the love of God to the point that they presume upon his mercy.  I have had people tell me that they know that what they are doing is wrong, but that God will forgive them.  That line of thinking is very dangerous.  We are not to “continue in sin that grace might abound.” (Romans 6:1)

However, as I thought about it, I was reminded of I John 5:3 “ For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. ” A healthy maturation of faith will be an increase in love resulting in obedience.  If we truly love God, we will live in obedience to His commandments.

Our obedience to God may begin out of fear, but it is matured in love.

Faith Factor

June 10, 2010

The world is filled with a variety of problems.  Pollution, wars, the economy, natural disasters, various assorted personal issues; there are lots of things to cause concern.  Some people are afraid of the future.

Faith eliminates fear.

I believe that God can give us wisdom to know what to do in any circumstance.  I further believe that God can give us the strength to do what we need to do.  Beyond that,  I believe that God is able, and willing, to intervene on our behalf.  Besides, there is the recognition that our true and greatest joy does not originate in the things of this world anyway, and that we have a hope that goes beyond the grave.

Christians have no reason to fear the future.