” For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons (and daughters), by whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father!” Rom. 8:15 ESV
According to Dictionary.com, fear “is a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil or pain, whether the threat is real or imagined”.
In many instances, fear distorts our perception and paralyzes us from what we should do, especially when our circumstances are uncertain. If we recall the story in Exodus 32 when Moses went up to the mountain and it was taking him long to come back, the Israelites went to Aaron and said: “Come, make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him”. The Israelites were afraid and felt were in a danger.
What lessons can we learn about fear in this story?
First, we can see in the story that they had fear of the unknown. They didn’t know why it was taking Moses so long to come back. Fear distorted their perception, they said, ” Moses who brought us out of Egypt”, when in reality it was God through many miracles who had brought them out. They lost the focus of their identity as the ‘people of God’. As soon as we forget our identity in God and forget what He has done for us in the past, we start focusing on the problem and not the power of God which provides shelter to us.
Second, they were paralyzed to do the only right thing they could do at that moment, to worship and trust God because of all He had done. They went back to their comfort zone, which led them to make an unhealthy and wrong decision: making and worshiping idols. When we are confronted with fear it’s easy to seek refuge in old habits, even when they are harmful.
Third, in the middle of their fear, they reached out to a leader who was as fearful as them. Aaron immediately yielded to their request about making idols for them. We need to be careful of the people we approach for advice when we are fearful. Due to Aaron’s weakness, the people of Israel faced a terrible discipline (vs.28): “(…) And the sons of Levi killed the people according to the word of Moses. And that day about three thousand men of the people fell”. We must prayerfully seek counsel from wise and godly leaders. (Prov. 24:6).
In our verse of the day, we’re reminded that when our reality is being distorted, we need to hold on to the truth: We are sons and daughters of the Almighty, we can cry out to God and He will come to our rescue; when facing fear it’s easy for us to go back to harmful habits if we’re not careful; and last, we should be intentional about who we approach in the middle of our struggle. We need wise people around to guide us.
I pray that God enables you to walk confidently in His love and truth, and to reinforce your identity in Him, so when encountered with fear you’d be able to cry out: Abba Father! and hold on to that truth.
About the author: Anyeline is a mom to one, lover of Jesus, and enjoys a great cup of coffee. She is originally from the Dominican Republic, but is now a proud U.S. citizen. When visiting our church, you can find her teaching our young adult women or helping out in children’s ministry. She always has a smile and a warm greeting for friends and strangers alike.