Isaiah 41:14 “Fear not, you worm Jacob, You men of Israel! I will help you,” says the LORD And your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.
Yesterday we looked at the watchwords of the Warriors of God; them being, “Strength and Courage.” Large shields are these magnificent words, sharp swords even strong steeds, iron gates, fearsome friends that are always marching onwards together, the valiant vanguard of any advance. Yet just as the largest and strongest of athletes can be felled by a mere microbe and left sweating and moaning in a gibbering heap, so these two great words, strength and courage, can in a New York minute, have their foundations eaten away by a small and little, wriggly worm. Such eating away, will double us up with unexpected pain and like the burst and dissipated waters from premature twins, our now cringing cowardice will first give birth to weakness and then to death. The worm I speak of is FEAR. Once fear takes root friends: kingdoms fall! Selah.
In my experience and observation, the introduction of this worm of fear is one of the chief weapons in the armoury of the enemy. Like most vile and viral agents, it needs to a have good breeding ground, it needs to have the right climate to multiply its madness. That climate is DOUBT. Doubting the faithfulness of God; doubting the good intentions of God; doubting the capacities of God, doubting especially the goodness of God. “He’s deserted me. Did I really hear Him? Maybe He won’t help me. Maybe He can’t help me? Maybe He’s against me? I wonder if He wants to harm me really?”
DOUBT IS ALWAYS the precursor to fear. So may I suggest that to remove and kill the worms of fear, we need first to remove the climate of doubt. How then does the damp despair of doubt begin to clothe the mountain tops of strong courageous hearts and envelope them like cold thick fog? May I suggest that three things give rise to this deadly climate.
The first is, Discouragement. Fighting of any kind has its setbacks. A ‘right hook’ from the enemy may violently turn your head and for a moment, rock your world. When this happens, suck it up, cover up, get your breath back, bob, weave, stick your left out, then get back in there, this time watching out for that which hurt you so much the last time. So first of all, DO NOT LET HARD BLOWS DISCOURAGE YOU.
Secondly, LACK OF LISTENING. God always gives instructions before the battle. Always! Listen to this and follow closely. Note as well that in conflict, God will always provide times of rest, so when you get back to your corner, listen. Receive the refreshing water, the cool wind of the flapping towel, the grease and the fixings, but whatever you do, listen and listen hard. If we think we are not hearing from our Master, our trainer, our coach, then we are in deep distress. The feeling of seeming desertion and being totally alone will shrink and shrivel our hearts to the size of old walnuts. Secondly then, be sure to listen to God.
Lastly, keep looking in the right place. Only one corner out of four holds the eyes of encouragement and the instruction for victory that you require. Look to that corner, again and again and again. Don’t get disorientated, don’t get misled, and above all, when in need of encouragement, direction and help, keep looking to God’s corner.
Discouragement, lack of listening and misdirected gazing, will all cloud your sky, will set your sun and will bring down the cold fog of doubt in double quick time. Such cold isolation will breed the worms of fear and those eaten by them, will wriggle like them, convulsing on the Devil’s dire and dirty hook, their strength and courage, stripped and strained away their face now all yellow with cowardice. Today then oh maggoty eaten friend, get off the hook, get up, get on, listen intently and this time, look in the right direction.
Listen: - …. “O man greatly beloved, fear not! Peace be to you; be strong, yes, be strong!” Daniel 10:18-19