When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, ’If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.’ So God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea. Exodus 13:17-18a
At last the Israelites were free and God was leading them from Egypt! These people had a visible reminder of God’s presence… the cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night; and even then God knew how fear could creep in, cause doubt and cloud their vision. He knew that in the face of fear His beloved people might choose to return to the horrid state of slavery and captivity rather than trust His guidance and direction. Thus, He lead them a longer way to minimize their fear and its possible consequence.
God knows His creation inside and out. He knows how fear can grip us to control and stymie our every action. I’ve had many a battle with fear in my lifetime and I am sure you will too.
The Bible has much to say to us regarding fear. Fear can be both healthy and unhealthy:
Fear the Lord your God, serve him only and take your oaths in His name. Deuteronomy 6:13
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow His precepts have good understanding. Psalm 111:10
Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who finds delight in His commands. Psalm 112:1
Wow! Healthy fear can bring blessing! Guess it depends on what we choose to fear. The fear of the Lord is a state of being in great awe of God’s power, sovereignty, strength, and unfailing love. It is recognizing, believing, and trusting in the truth of who He is. It gives us a true picture of who we are in regard to him.
This Holy fear frees us. It brings us out of captivity. It allows us to be truly who we were meant to be and to experience the joy in life God intended for mankind.
Today let’s ponder these words from David as he was being pursued by enemies seeking his life.
The Lord is my light and salvation – Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life – of whom shall I be afraid? Psalm 27:1
Forgive us Lord when we take our eyes off You. Teach us to carry Your Word in our hearts and to live daily in Your presence. Keep us focused and in awe of You. There Lord, is where we find delight. In Christ’s Name, Amen.