July 31 – Today’s Readings – Jeremiah 10-12 and Psalms 31

Chapter 10 of Jeremiah paints a great picture of what God thinks (and what we should think) about the “gods” of this world – “For the customs of the peoples are worthless; they cut a tree out of the forest, and a craftsman shapes it with his chisel. They adorn it with silver and gold; they fasten it with hammer and nails so it will not totter. Like a scarecrow in a melon patch, their idols cannot speak; they must be carried because they cannot walk. Do not fear them; they can do no harm nor can they do any good.” (Jeremiah 10:3-5)

To this day, millions of people are enslaved in the worship of these “gods”. They cook for them, carry them, kiss them, rub their bellies, set them up in “shrine” rooms in their homes or restaurants, burn incense to them, dress them up, talk to them and in all other ways imaginable make fools of themselves. Why? Because they believe that there is power in the man-made god or a man-made religious philosophy. Indeed there are evil spirits behind the idolatrous images that people set up and worship, but CHRISTIANS SHOULD NEVER FEAR OR BE ALARMED by the so-called power of these gods for there is no life in them and we ought never to fear spirits because we have THE HOLY SPIRIT. Many Christians concern themselves with these things – some even fearing evil spirits or the people who would “curse” them. Do not fear these things – and never expose yourselves to things that would stir fear up in you (horror movies or sci-fi books that are designed to make you feel powerless and insignificant). Greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world. You are not powerless! You are not insignificant! You have been given power now that the Holy Spirit has come upon you. (Acts 1:8) As Winston Churchill once said during the Second World War – “the only thing to fear is fear itself”. Let me add my bit to this. Have great respect for what God thinks and what God’s opinion is. Never fear anything else – ever again. Think, for a moment of the young man, David, who faced the outrageously fearsome Goliath. Within himself, he was not a warrior, but he had confidence in a big, big God. Remember Zerubbabel in Zechariah 4:6-10 – “So he said to me, ‘This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty. ‘What are you, O mighty mountain? Before Zerubbabel you will become level ground. Then he will bring out the capstone to shouts of ‘God bless it! God bless it!’ Then the word of the LORD came to me: ‘The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this temple; his hands will also complete it. Then you will know that the LORD Almighty has sent me to you. Who despises the day of small things? Men will rejoice when they see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel.” Here was a man facing tremendous obstacles and yet having the confidence that he was more than able because of the power of the Lord. There is no place for fear when facing the gods or philosophies of this world – we need to foster confidence in God Almighty.

Questions:

1. Give an example from Scripture of people who feared and therefore failed.
2. Give an example from your own life where you needed to remind yourself to not fear in the face of difficulty.