This coming Summer Chosen Books (A Division of Baker Publishing Group) will publish Fearless by Faith, a 60-day devotional by Brother Andrew and me designed to help us fight today’s spiritual battles. The following devotion was originally intended to be the opening of the book but didn’t make the cut. It sets up the confrontation of David against the Philistine giant Goliath and provides insight into some of the reasons why we face so many spiritual battles today. Be sure to view Brother Andrew’s definition of Fear at the conclusion of this devotion.
“Now the Philistines gathered their armies . . . at Socoh, which belongs to Judah” (1 Samuel 17:1).
What were the Philistines doing in Socoh? They had no business being just nine miles from Jerusalem. This was Israel’s land. God gave it to them.
So why were the Philistines where they didn’t belong? Very simply: because Israel was weak. It was their own fault. God had given them everything they needed to live securely within their borders yet they continually ignored God and His resources.
God promised blessings on the people if they faithfully followed God’s ways—many children, abundant harvests, multiplying flocks. Further, “The Lord will cause your enemies who rise against you to be defeated before you” (Deuteronomy 28:7). In contrast, if they didn’t obey God’s commands, the consequences were harsh, including this: “The Lord will cause you to be defeated before your enemies” (Deuteronomy 28:25). So it’s clear why Israel faced the problem of an invading and occupying foreign army.
Well, by now we Christians have surely learned our lessons. Now we are prepared. We would never let our enemies occupy our places of worship or our homes. That may be what we think, but the church doesn’t seem to be aware of all the devil may throw at us.
We are confused and anemic. The world has invaded our churches and most of us don’t even know it. We have been invaded with a tsunami of information and entertainment pouring into our minds from television and movies and games and Internet and social media. Do we even recognize how feeble we really are?
When I think of the situation today, I recall simpler times when television first came to the Netherlands. It was in the mid-1950s when my Uncle Hoppy (you can read about Uncle Hoppy in my book God’s Smuggler) ordered one of those black-and-white consoles. The delivery van arrived at his house and two men carried the box into his living room. In large letters on the cardboard packaging was printed this invitation: “Bring the world into your home!” Hoppy read that and yelled, “No! Take it back!” Uncle Hoppy refused to allow the world to invade his home.
This sounds a little harsh, doesn’t it? Most of us would protest: “You can’t isolate yourself.” Today’s connected world requires everyone to have a computer, Internet, the latest smart phone, and a Kindle or an iPad (or both!). If you agree with that statement, you may have a serious problem.
Now, don’t quit on me here. I’m not naïve and suggesting we completely cut ourselves off from the world. (Indeed I have a television in my office—but no computer or smart phone!) The situation isn’t hopeless. We can form a resistance movement. As a teenager, I sabotaged several German vehicles during Nazi occupation. Big deal! I know that my pranks made very little difference. They were a futile effort, unless . . . unless others also resisted, thousands of others.
That’s why we need the example of David. He will show us how to start a real resistance movement, even against hopeless odds. But remember, the situation today is not hopeless—if we understand what David knew.
For Reflection: How have the information and entertainment industries infiltrated our churches and our homes? What effect has this had on your church? Your family?
Brother Andrew shares a brief definition of fear in this short video:
Where would I like to be when the enemy comes with assaults? Psalm 27 is Scripture that the Lord brings to mind often.: “The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?”
The psalmist then list those things that might come against us: the wicked, enemies, armies and war, but then states that his confidence in the midst of these assaults, is being in God’s presence. (Read the entire Psalm)
I would say that included in the above mentioned “enemies of our souls” is the distraction of being bombarded with modern technology — or at least the misuse of technology.
Where would I like to be? In God’s Presence; at the feet of Jesus! How do I do this, I ask, in the midst of all the distractions the world offers? I confess that I too often allow these distractions., and I’m led to the last verse of the Psalm: “Wait on the LORD; Be of good courage; And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say on the LORD.”
To share my wee bit of Hebrew knowledge — the word “wait” here means in the Hebrew “to wait in faith; to be bound together with, as twisted together with cords.
He will give us the strength neede when we seek Him!
Thank you Betty. Very wise counsel for dealing with the assaults of modern technology.