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Terrifying your Fears

Words of Faith Final

Terrifying your Fears
Words of Faith 1-24-2023
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2023
Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL
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Exodus 23
[27] "I will send my terror ahead of you and throw into confusion every nation you encounter. I will make all your enemies turn their backs and run. [28] I will send the hornet ahead of you to drive the Hivites, Canaanites and Hittites out of your way. [29] But I will not drive them out in a single year, because the land would become desolate and the wild animals too numerous for you. [30] Little by little I will drive them out before you, until you have increased enough to take possession of the land.
[31] "I will establish your borders from the Red Sea to the Sea of the Philistines, and from the desert to the River. I will hand over to you the people who live in the land and you will drive them out before you. [32] Do not make a covenant with them or with their gods. [33] Do not let them live in your land, or they will cause you to sin against me, because the worship of their gods will certainly be a snare to you."

As the Israelites prepared to journey on to the land of Promise there must have been significant fear. They headed out into the desert with more than a million people to feed. Some enemies would want to kill and plunder them. These enemies were largely unknown to the former brickmakers called Hebrews. How do you deal with that kind of fear? The Lord gave them this reassurance. "I will send my terror ahead of you and throw into confusion every nation you encounter." In essence, the Lord says: If you trust me, I will terrify your enemies and send your fears running! He went on to say that He would establish the borders of the people called "Israel." This was His responsibility.
Terror is a scary word these days. It is in the news nearly every day. It seems a strange word to attribute to God. The Hebrew word means "a horrible dread." Terror is intended to paralyze and confuse. The Lord does not want His people paralyzed or confused, but the Lord says that His terror will "make all your enemies turn their backs and run."
We probably could draw a great deal of political comment from this text for our current world situation. The most important message is to learn something about the commitment of the Lord to His people when encountering enemies. The Lord God does not abandon His people. He will not abandon you.
Please don't misunderstand. This text does not advocate acts of terror against any people. It speaks absolutely against the terror that one person, group, or individual may attempt to impose upon another. Those who would try to strike terror in the hearts of God's people will have to deal with the Lord's terror, and that is not a place one ever wants to be. The Lord will make the enemies of God's people turn their backs and run. Those who attempt to paralyze the people of God with fear will discover that the terror of the Lord God is more than they bargained for.
We live in times that could be described as frightening. Our task today is the same as that of the ancient Israelites, to worship Him and follow Him. We should not turn our backs on what is right because of fear. The Lord will reckon with those who attempt to strike fear into the hearts of His people.
I remember clearly talking on the phone with my dear friend Steven Notley who lived in Israel for 18 years and moved to New York as a professor of New Testament in the summer of 2001. On September 11, Steven was in New Jersey waiting for the PATH train for his daily commute into Manhattan when the first plane hit. He said that after living in Israel so long, he immediately knew that it was a terrorist act even when others thought it could be an accident. I asked what he did with that realization. "I got on the train to go to work," he replied. I was stunned. He went on to say, "I learned in Israel that if you let the terrorist paralyze you, he wins. I refuse to let him win."
There is a great truth in what Steven shared. If we allow our fears to stop the work and plan of God in our lives, then the enemy wins.
This speaks powerfully to our daily living as well. We have genuine enemies who want us to turn and run from what is right or the call of God. But often, our biggest enemy is the one we have puffed up in our own minds. The fear of what might happen or what might not. The fear of failure or rejection often dominates us such that we never step out into the call that God has for us. The Lord is clear. He will strike terror in the enemies of God's people. He will confuse them, not us. He will terrify our fears and send them running. Halleluiah.
Have you been paralyzed by fear? Have you been confused because of trepidation? Have you had a consuming dread that is holding you back? The first casualty of fear is simple obedience. And hear this: the biggest weapon against fear is always obedience! When we walk in obedience, we have such victory. We gain confidence in the Lord. This was the joy that the Lord wanted for His people. He will take care of your enemies. Listen. Trust. Obey. Worship Him. Let Him fight the battles. He will go before you, even with His terror, if necessary, to turn your enemies. They will turn their backs and run.

Lord God, You are sovereign over all the earth and all creation. You are the Lord God, and You are mighty. I worship You. I focus upon You. I surrender my fears to You. Call me out to walk after You and the plan You have designed. Terrify my fears and send them running. In Jesus' name.

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© Jeffrey D. Hoy 2023
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy - Faith Fellowship Church (EFCA)
2820 Business Center Blvd.
Melbourne, Florida 32940 (321)-259-7200
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