Grow, Live

Fear is Faith

There are a couple of things that I’m afraid of: Heights, snakes, failure and hot plates and pans (that’s because I burned my hands on a hot pan as a kid). The reason I’m afraid of these things is because I know what they can do to me.

Heights can flatten me like a pancake with one wrong step. Snakes can sink their fangs in me and they are just … ughh. Failure can destroy my ego (I know shallow, but hey, the first step to recovery is admittance). And hot pans can turn my hands really, really red.

What are you afraid of?

Some fears are healthy, like my fear of heights. That fear allows me to continue to live when I’m on top of a roof (that is when my wife is not available to get up there for me). Healthy fear can create strong boundaries that protect us.

These boundaries guide our decisions. These decisions put us on a path that ends up at a destination determined by our fear.

To Fear is to have faith in what we fear.

And what we fear determines what we do.

Elijah was a great prophet in the Old Testament who had an amazing story where he faced off with 450 prophets. It was better than the walk off in Zoolander.

Each side (Lord vs Baal) were to prepare a sacrifice and place it on the altar and the sacrifice who was consumed by fire would prove the true God.

Baal’s prophets began to cut themselves. Appealing, begging and doing anything they could to compel their god to answer with fire.

After taunting the prophets of Baal, telling them they needed to pray harder, Elijah says “Ok, my turn.”

Elijah prepares his sacrifice, then tells the people to dig a ditch around the sacrifice and to bring him buckets of water so he can pour it on the sacrifice. Now this is real faith! He believed that the Lord would answer. His faith was in God so much that he made it scientifically impossible for this sacrifice to burn.

After praying a simple pray, God consumes the sacrifice and not only burns up the sacrifice but consumes the water and scorches the ground around the altar.

Now that is faith.  But what happens next is mind boggling to me.

1 Kings 19:1-3

1 Ahab told his wife Jezebel what Elijah had done and that he had killed the prophets. 2 She sent a message to Elijah: “You killed my prophets. Now I’m going to kill you! I pray that the gods will punish me even more severely if I don’t do it by this time tomorrow.”

3 Elijah was afraid when he got her message, and he ran to the town of Beersheba in Judah.

Read verse 3 again, I’ll wait…

Do you see the irony? Not along ago, Elijah was on the opposing side of 450 prophets of a false god who were mad enough to cut themselves and he was the only person representing the Lord. Surely, if anyone had a right to be afraid, Elijah did. But no, he stands up heroically and stands up for the Lord .

And he “was afraid when he got her message”???????

This hero shifted his faith from the Lord to the threat of a woman. His focus went from the God who answered with fire, to the queen whose god failed her.

Elijah had more faith in the queen than he did in the his own God, who just did a miraculous feet. And because he feared the queen, he put is faith in her. And this led to his end as the Lord’s prophet.

I believe that God was testing Elijah and seeing who he really feared.

When our fear is in God everything else falls into perspective. To please God becomes a higher priority than compromising our morals for a business deal or making the choice that leads to sin.

How would your life look if you lived in true fear of God?

The Psalmist wrote:

Psalm 27:1
The Lord is my light and my salvation— 
whom shall I fear? 
The Lord is the stronghold of my life— 
of whom shall I be afraid?

So, what/whom are you putting your faith in? What/Whom do you fear?

Proverbs 1:7
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, 
but fools despise wisdom and discipline.

Psalm 111:10
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; 
all who follow his precepts have good understanding. 
To him belongs eternal praise.

Proverbs 14:26
He who fears the Lord has a secure fortress, 
and for his children it will be a refuge.