“When you go out to war against your enemies, and see horses and chariots and an army larger than your own, you shall not be afraid of them, for the Lord your God is with you, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt” (Deuteronomy 20:1, ESV).
The Israelites looked like they were surrounded. To their eyes, they were facing many more horses, chariots, and people than they had. But he who was with them beyond that and he who’s within us (that the world can’t see) was far greater than that which surrounded them. Selah.
In the middle of fear, anxiety, and panic attacks from COVID-19, it’s easy to be bombarded by all we see with the human eye.
With our eyes, we see loved ones dying; our minds visualize the worst-case scenario. In our schools, we work hard to keep kids safe only to begin to see case after case and quarantine after quarantine that classes keep shrinking, and the students start fading.
In our hearts, we worry and grow fearful of the future. The news blares deaths like hard and fast cold case murders, facts, and figures without faces and names of stories.
Before we know it and in a matter of seconds scrolled on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, or Twitter, we’re overcome with emotion and chaos, and if you’re not, you’re blessed because I sure am for the both of us!
From radio to TV stations, shopping, school, restaurants, food, church, you name it, our world is living in a new state of ordinary that none of us like, but all of us are forced to live in. Instead, we’d call it mass hysteria because that’s the closest definition of its reality rather than its perceived truth.
In Genesis 20, the Israelites are facing a similar predicament. Though no illness of COVID-19 was prevalent, a similar infection of fear was spreading rapidly. With their eyes, they were told they’d see more horses, more chariots, more people, and more enemies than they could handle. And to our eyes, we’re facing “too many,” too.But the same God with Israel who brought them out of Egypt is the same God with us in the here and now, here to comfort you and me. Click To Tweet So what did God tell the Israelites not to do (because we all know we’re fantastic at doing what we’re not supposed to do)?
He told them to trust God but not to fear. And why? Because fear is a foothold for Satan to control your body, mind, spirit, and soul. Let me repeat that; fear is a foothold for Satan to control your body, mind, heart, and soul, ultimately destroying every fiber and ounce of your being until you feel like you’re no longer living.
As someone who suffers from immense anxiety daily, I cannot express enough how much this rings true.
In 2 Timothy 1:7, the root word of fear translates as deilía, meaning timidity, anxiety, or cowardice. It is then noted that God did not give us a spirit of fear but of power, love, and self-discipline. Therefore, fear is not of God, but perfect love (and trusting in God) casts out all fear (1 John 4:18, ESV).
When we fear, we must do our best to replace it with power, love, and self-discipline, but those are not natural habits for us!
It’s natural to be scared and fearful of COVID-19 as a Christian or not. It’s not natural to believe God’s power is sovereign over all amidst it, yet we must.
It’s natural to be fearful when schools close, cases rise, and levels get more serious. It’s not typical for us to believe love conquers all (even our fear of death) amid it, yet Jesus reminds us that he will always be with us.
It’s natural to cry, be anxious, and have a torn-up stomach day after day after living in this state of confusion since March of 2020 and to be exhausted from eight months of utter disturbance to our daily living. It’s not normal to exercise self-discipline, trusting God through the process, but it’s something we’re called to do.
When Jesus died on the cross for us, the Scriptures tell us that he prayed three times for the cup of wrath to be taken from Him beforehand, but for the Father’s will to be done no matter what (Luke 22:42, ESV). I wonder if he was fearful but still confident in the Lord’s perfect plan.
Hanging on that cross shortly after praying to the Father, perhaps he faced the biggest fear you and I could ever imagine, not just immense pain, but ultimately death. But when Christ breathed his last breath, that cross didn’t bring fear of shame or embarrassment; it brought a story of redemption and strength (Revelation 6:5, TPT). His death was never defeated, but always a victory (Revelation 6:9-10,12, TPT), and by His wounds, by his face-off with fear, we are healed.
Today, as you go to battle, rather it is in soul, mind, body, or spirit, remember that while it’s normal and okay to be afraid, the one who conquered it all, even fear itself, lives within you so that through him, you too can conquer your greatest fears.
Going to war is not easy, especially against a global pandemic. Trust me; I’ve already freaked out probably as much if not more than you, but what I do know is that God is with me in this battle, and he’s far more significant than all the things I can see with my eyes.
Beyond my vision, there is a spiritual battle at war, a war not against flesh and blood, but rulers and principalities of the evil one (Ephesians 6:12, ESV). This virus is real, this fear is evident, the precautions to stay safe are necessary (and I pray we find a cure), but so is our God and our dependence needed on Him during this time.Don’t stop praying just because He seems quiet. Don’t grow fearful when plans change, and the news grows in the headlines. Click To Tweet Remember the faithful God of our ancestors who led the Israelites by fire (Exodus 13, ESV), a fire that was “always with them” day and night.
Trust in His promises and don’t depend on your knowledge of a situation (Proverbs 3:5-6, TPT). Your mind will tell you it’s scary and that you are/ we are surrounded, and the truth is, folks, we are. But we’re also surrounded by a great crowd of witnesses fighting, praying, and advocating against these evils, and the greatest one resides within us.
Hebrews 12:1 states, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,” and friends, we are running, but run to Jesus (Hebrews 12:1, ESV).
“Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test” (2 Corinthians 13:5, ESV).
Holy Spirit, come, we’re at war, but the weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world (2 Corinthians 10:4). With Jesus Christ, we have the power to destroy and demolish strongholds, even fears gripping the world as a whole.
“When you go out to war against your enemies, and see horses and chariots and an army larger than your own, you shall not be afraid of them, for the Lord your God is with you, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. And when you draw near to the battle, the priest shall come forward and speak to the people and shall say to them, ‘Hear, O Israel, today you are drawing near for battle against your enemies: let not your heart faint. Do not fear or panic or be in dread of them, for the Lord your God is he who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies, to give you the victory’” (Deuteronomy 20:1-4, ESV).