The book of Proverbs tells us that “In the fear of the Lord is strong confidence: and His children shall have a place of refuge.” Beloved, do you want to have strong confidence today? Fear God. The Hebrew word for confidence also speaks of assurance; but it is an assurance that is based upon a trust in The Lord. Once again we see, loved ones, that there are really only two choices for us to make in life. We can live our lives according to our own wisdom or God’s wisdom. If you are wavering between the two today, let the prophet Jeremiah help you sort things out, okay? Ready? “Thus saith the Lord; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord. For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited. Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.”
Hmmm, if I live according to what I think is right or according to how I feel regardless of what God says, I can count on being cursed, feel like I’m in the middle of a desert with no water and look “forward” to living in a wilderness, a barren kind of existence. Nobody in their right mind wants to live that way. Enter the Prince of the power of the air. Also known as the dragon, the tempter, the devil. How did he overthrow Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden? By planting a seed of doubt upon the truth of God. Did God say…? There you have it. Nothing has changed in the devil’s method of operation since then. When the devil tempts us, he is actually telling us that God cannot be trusted. He is saying that God is holding good back from you. He is actually telling us that what we think or how we feel is the basis of making decisions in life. This is nothing more than making the flesh or the ways of the world the source of our confidence. But is it possible to live a truly confident life apart from faith in God? I mean even if you are (by the grace of God) the most successful surgeon, or lawyer, or athlete or investor, but die without salvation, what good is that when you spending a Christ-less eternity in torment? “What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world, but lose his own soul?”
Beloved, this world system is constantly at odds with and at war against the truth of God as it is revealed in Holy Scripture. The sinful values or thrills of the world’s way of doing things or this world system is not meant to build you up in Christ or draw you closer to Him. Just the opposite. Just ask poor old Demas, who forsook serving a God, because he loved this present world. As followers of Jesus, we are exhorted to walk by faith, and not by sight. Many of us are confronted with “unmet” desires or needs, be they financial, physical, sexual, emotional; you get the drill. God’s word tells us one way to address those needs, and the world gives us it’s quick fix option. Jeremiah tells us before we make the choice what the outcome will be.
When God tells us to fear Him, He is actually telling us to trust Him. By trusting God, we can be confident. Need a bit more persuasion, beloved? It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in princes. Still not convinced? “If I have made gold my hope, or have said to the fine gold, Thou art my confidence; If I rejoiced because my wealth was great, and because mine hand had gotten much; If I beheld the sun when it shined, or the moon walking in brightness; And my heart hath been secretly enticed, or my mouth hath kissed my hand: This also were an iniquity to be punished by the judge: for I should have denied the God that is above.”
Let me close with this promise from God’s Word to those who chose to walk by faith in His wisdom, His love, His truth and His perfect timing. “Then shalt thou walk in thy way safely, and thy foot shall not stumble.When thou liest down, thou shalt not be afraid: yea, thou shalt lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet.Be not afraid of sudden fear,neither of the desolation of the wicked, when it cometh. My son, let not them depart from thine eyes: keep sound wisdom and discretion: So shall they be life unto thy soul,and grace to thy neck. Then shalt thou walk in thy way safely, and thy foot shall not stumble. When thou liest down, thou shalt not be afraid: yea, thou shalt lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet.Be not afraid of sudden fear, neither of the desolation of the wicked, when it cometh. For the Lord shall be thy confidence,and shall keep thy foot from being taken.”
“For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh. Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.”
Only in the fear of The Lord is there strong confidence and assurance forever, beloved.