OK, so picking up on the third of our responsibilities in receiving our Promised Land:
Be courageous and do not fear (v29)
Seems simple enough, but we know it isn’t right! We are wired with a biological response - fight or flight. Our first and possibly most natural response to life is often fear! I think it is easiest to see in children. There are two kinds; the child who has too much fear and the child with no fear. Both can be disastrous. As we grow older we tend to settle in one of these camps as well. We either live our lives governed by the "what if's" in life; or we decided long ago that there were no rules and whatever feels good goes.
Today God is talking to those of us who settled somewhere in the camp of "what if". Now we may live on the outskirts of this camp; we let our kids walk to school (although often with knots in our stomach), we feel rebellious when we put plastic in the microwave, and we resist the urge to go to Web MD for every stubbed toe. But we have to fight to keep our spot; every decision is a pull against fear. And then there are those of us who truly have given into fear, we live our lives never really experiencing joy because we won't allow it. You know this type; children under lock and key, often saying no to travel because they wouldn't be able to control what was going on at home, plagued by fears of their health or that of their loved ones, sure that around each corner disaster is impending. Somehow we have convinced ourselves that we can control things, but really deep down the truth eats away at us.
Please know I am not making fun, I was one of these campers. In fact, I think for a while I lived in a tower in the middle of that camp waving a huge white flag! But God had to grab a hold of me and tell me that was NOT how He had created me to live. That was not my Promised Land and I was not serving him well in this camp!
In Isaiah alone we are told over 9 times not to fear. But God doesn't just say it, he backs it up. Each time he tells us not to fear He gives us the reason we don't have to: God is there, He is with us, He has redeemed us, He will respond to our enemies with vengeance, He will provide for his children. Basically He covers it all! The Bible repeatedly in old and new testaments alike tells us not to fear – and each time the reason given is God. It makes me sing again and again in my head the praise and worship song “If then our God is for us, what could ever stop us. If then our God is for us, what could stand against?” It is so true – sometimes I forget that the creator of the universe is my God, and He is for me. Wow – makes all my problems seem small. Of course, I still feel fear pulling at my feet, but I try each and every day to consciously choose to trust God.
I guess that is key – keeping all things in proper perspective – God perspective.
Here is a link to the song I was referencing – it is Our God is Greater by Chris Tomlin http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zlA5IDnpGhc