First Fear, Then Peace.
Well, it is easier now. As I grow older, my good old days talks, when I was younger, come more often. I grew up in Omaha, NE. I ran around in a small community called Dundee. It is right in the middle of Omaha. Big houses, big old houses. Warren Buffet lived not too far from us. Not that we were big shots, more like Warren was humble in certain ways. I grew up in a time when parents had little reluctance about me and my friends, running wild and free within a mile of our block. After school we would play all around the neighborhood, till we heard the 6:00 PM church bells go off. Telling us it is time to eat. Strange, we all ate about the same time. When we eat earlier then 6, I could hear my dad yelling ‘time to eat” blocks away. My dad was the loudest yeller on the block. My dad is a yodeler; he could yell.
Back then I did not have a lot to fear, except one thing: getting into cross hairs with my mother. When I did get into something with mom, that she did not like, then the fear of waiting for my dad to come home came down on me like a ton of bricks. Time to face the music.
I remember one instance; I got the fear factor. Mom told me not to ride my bike down to the drugstore, under no circumstances. There was this great drug store called Baum's, about 1 mile away in uptown Dundee. That day I decided in defiance to Mom, to go down and get one of those gigantic cinnamon Jawbreaker's, boom! That was some wrong decision. So, despite what my mom said, me and my friends took off! I thought maybe just maybe, I could get away with my jaw breaker bike ride, but nope. I got found out. My sister told on me. The rest of the day I spent in fear, waiting for the discipline that was going to come down from Dad.
That fear was real. And once, I got through the “this is going to hurt me, way more than you talk” there was peace on the other side of that fear. However, first the fear, then the peace. That is where I learned a healthy fear of God. That is where I began to understand that; you got to have a Biblical fear of God before you can have peace with God. I am sure there is more than one usage or meaning of fear that I will find in the Bible. I will look them up. However, I want to talk about some of the fear that we as The Church have lost for God. That we need to get back.
I work as a director for a short-term mission's agency. We have seen dwindling numbers over the years. I think, if we take a hard look at it, it is the messaging that is coming out of our local churches that pose some of the problems. Missions is just not as prominently talked about and taught as it has in the past. Also, there are leaders who think they know missions better than God and have forgotten the phrase “ALL MISSIONS IS LOCAL”
Well, let’s look at what we can find about, First Fear, Then Peace. Stay with me here. Let us look at some examples, as always from the Bible.
He said, “I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so, I hid myself.”
Here we have the well-known story of Eve and Adam hiding in fear from God in the garden of Eden. After the serpent had tempted Eve and Adam, the sound of God was heard coming through the garden. God asked, “where are you?” God knows the answer to all the questions he is asking. Where are you? Who told you that you are naked? Have you eaten of the fruit of tree I told you not to eat?
Why the questions? God knew. God was asking “where are you” for what reason? I do not think this was a pronounced judgement. I believe by the questions; God was leading Eve and Adam to confession and glad tidings. It was the Gospel! As for the serpent, well, we all know where that was heading. Even in the punishment of Eve and Adam, they could hear about a future in God’s words, they knew when God spoke, they would not die, they would live! In way Adam was the first believer of God's grace.
Again, Adam sewed fig leaves for clothing. God made skins of lamb for clothing. The symbolism is fantastic. First Fear, Then Peace. FFTP!
Genesis 15: 12
Now when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and behold, terror and great darkness fell upon him.
Check this out! Abraham or Abram here, has great darkness and terror as he fell into a deep sleep. But after he meets the fear, God offers him peace, a safe passage and a promise of his seed or a son. God would indeed keep His promise to Abraham, that your sons I give you, will inherit the land from the river of Egypt to the river of Euphrates. Some of the land promised to Abraham was the land of a race of giants. Fear yes! Then peace.
A little later in Abaraham’s story. Sarah has a defense mechanism laugh when the Angel of the Lord tells her she will give birth to a son, at the age of 100. She laughs; however, she laughs in fear, that she cannot have a son at 100. When she births Issaac, Sarah becomes the mother of all nations. FFTP. Whenever and wherever we come into the presence of God, FEAR or enthusiastic respect comes into our being. Thinking rightly about God, brings peace.
He said also, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” Then Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.
So, the build up here to verse 6 is Christ showing up in His glory as a burning tree to call Moses and then send Moses to Egypt. This thorn tree or bush would be a show and tell for Moses. Here you have a tree that will not be consumed by fire, as the Spirit of God is doing the burning. Just as Moses will not be consumed by the presence of God or will not be harmed in God’s use of Moses to be the vehicle to bring redemption to Israel.
Moses innately was afraid when Christ shows up. However, in God’s presence, Christ begins to reassure that his fear will turn to peace. He tells Moses that He will deliver His people to land of milk and honey. This settles Moses’s mind to begun to engage with God in the how, "I am just a man” conversation. FFTP
Interesting though, if we go on and read the rest of the chapter and part of chapter 4, God shows real confidence in Moses to do this work and helps Moses over his doubt-fear: that God would not handle the business of recovering His people. So, God flexes His muscles by turning Moses staff into a snake, then turning Moses's hand to be a leper's hand then healing his hand. To help Moses have healthy fear of God and to remove Moses’s doubt, Gods says you will be my mouthpiece. When you speak, I will speak for you, and when that does not work for you, I will give you Aaron to speak. God coordinates confidence in mysterious ways, if we have a healthy fear of Him.
When Israel saw the great power which the Lord had used against the Egyptians, the people feared the Lord, and they believed in the Lord and in His servant Moses.
This example of FFTP is straightforward. You would think by now with all the plagues and miracles that Israel has witnessed, they would believe that Jehovah was on the side of the Jewish people. Over and over, God must show Israel how much He loves them and needs them to survive. This verse is right after God parted the waters of the Red Sea, killing the enemy.
A young prophetess named Mirium (the sister of Aaron) after the waters destroy Pharoah, grabs a tambourine and sang the song, telling how Great God has been. This song was the song that Rehab the inn keeper heard that brought her to know God and trust God with her life at Jericho.
There are some many more examples of God’s presence causing fear and then peace for His people. Praise God! the promised Messiah was coming and “God in Us” would become our new economy. No longer would we need God to show His hand on the outside. God’s presence would become an inside work, because of the final sacrifice of Jesus.
Like Israel though, at times we, The Church today have lost a healthy fear of God. We have become complacent and forget about telling the story of the God who saves. The song we sing, the story we are commanded to share, our story of the need to be saved, needs told.
Dawn Frederiksen shared with me. The American Church today understands the great commandment to love God with all your heart and soul, however we are forgetting the Great Commission. To go to the ends of the earth, baptizing in the name of Jesus and making disciples.
Well, we did not even make it out of the first two books of the pentateuch in the quest of First Fear, Then Peace. My hope is that you and I can find our healthy fear of God. A Godly fear that allows us to be at peace with God’s purposes. We should start by asking God for a renewed mind and for God to give us a thirst for the Kingdom work of Jesus. If we start by asking, Christ can put into us, to go boldly, and tell those in our neighborhoods, our regions, and the world about how God saves. FFTP!
As always TIME could use your help, by you and or your organization going on Short-term missions trip. Right now, if you go on a trip with TIME you support the field and the home office. If you give to the home office, you support the home office and the field. Our goal is to get the home office self –supported and stop splitting tour fees with the field. Here at the office, we run a tight ship with the finances you give. Our overhead cost is shared by a company TIME offices with here in Des Moines, that really helps.
We, The Church have been given the “Great Commandment,’ and Jesus commands us to be part of the “Great Commission” we must do both!
Know God and Advance Missions with TIME MISSIONS.
Please consider giving! https://www.timemissions.com/