Isaiah 7:9b (ESV)
If you are not firm in faith,
you will not be firm at all.
Judah was being threatened by neighboring Syria and Israel. God’s message to Ahaz, King of Judah, and to the people of Judah was, “Trust me.” That’s hard to do when multiple enemies are threatening an attack. That’s hard to do when you can’t see any way out. The natural tendency is to either panic, or make preparations to protect yourself. Preparation is not wrong, but when not mixed with faith it becomes idolatry. When we act, and think as though our hope is in our ability to defend ourselves we are putting our trust in something other than God.
The Psalmist wrote, “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God” (Ps 20:7). When Jeremiah prophesied that Judah would fall to Babylon, Judah was warned not to fight or try to avoid it. This was God’s judgment. It could not be avoided. When Isaiah promised Ahaz, years earlier, not to fear Syria and Israel, that was God’s promised protection. It would happen as promised. Sovereign God is ultimately in control of our world. The real question is whether we trust him.
The early church took great risks to serve others. When Rome threatened to kill anyone who was a Christian, Christians faithfully admitted their faith and died as a result. When Romans abandoned their babies because they were unwanted, it was Christians who rescued and raised those little ones. When plagues hit Rome, it was the Christians who stayed behind to nurse the sick. The pagans abandoned the sick and fled. Christians trusted God and God honored their faith. Christians died for their faith, but the church grew. Christians took a risk by rescuing babies, but God honored their choice. Christians nursed the sick back to health and God protected them. A smaller percentage of Christians died in the plagues than any other group in Rome. These things happened, not because the church chose to be safe, but because the church chose to do the right thing and trust God.
What are you facing today that brings you fear? Where has fear kept you from serving others? How has fear crippled your life, hindered your relationships, and robbed you of peace? God’s words to Ahaz still stand. “If you are not firm in faith, you will not be firm at all” (Is 7:9b). Trust Him.