Whom to Fear
Today’s reading: Joshua 1-3; Luke 1:57-80
8 Before the men lay down, she came up to them on the roof 9 and said to the men, “I know that the Lord has given you the land, and that the fear of you has fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land melt away before you. Joshua 2:8-9
74 “that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies,
might serve him without fear,” Luke 1:74
The theme of fear runs through today’s readings.
Rahab, the prostitute of Jericho, makes a most eloquent statement about the Lord, the God of Israel, whom the people of her land have come to fear. They know how God has led the people for forty years out of Egypt and through the wilderness. The Israelites have had successful military confrontations. In vivid terms she describes the inhabitants of the land as “melting away” before Israel and their God.
When Zechariah and Elizabeth’s baby boy was born, Elizabeth announced that his name was John contrary to custom which stipulated that babies were always named for family members. Zechariah, still mute, wrote his agreement to the name on a tablet. Immediately, he was able to speak, but the people were overcome by fear. The hand of God was in this.
Zechariah, with his regained ability to talk, began giving praise to God. He prophesied about the ministry of his son in glowing but not exaggerated terms. God’s purposes were to deliver His people from their enemies so that they might serve Him without fear, that is, without fear of their enemies.
What place does fear have in your life? There is a proper fear of God which is, as the psalmist said, “clean, enduring forever” (Psalm 19:9). God’s people fear Him in a reverent, healthy way, but they are not to fear their enemies whom He has defeated. After all, God has already decreed victory for those who are His. The places where the sole of Joshua’s foot was going to tread had already been given to him (Joshua 1:3). Fear God. Do not fear your and His enemies. The land is already yours. Serve Him today without fear.