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Posts Tagged ‘Fear’

THE GIANT KILLER

or ‘The Battle which all must Fight’

by A.L.O.E. (AKA Charlotte Maria Tucker)

Giant Selfishness was huge of stature and strong of limb, taller and more powerful than his younger brother Sloth.  There were few indeed who could cope with his arm, he was tyrant over half the world.  Many a great conqueror he had made his slave, thousands and thousands had felt his chains, he claimed dominion over young and old.  Yet now as the giant sat alone, a deep shade of gloom was upon his massive brow.  He listened not to the tinkling fall of the fountain, he glanced not at the beautiful flowers,

“Evil tidings, evil tidings” he muttered to himself.

“Sloth has been the first victim but he will not be the last.  I dread nothing on earth but the invincible sword, not even my strength can stand against that.”

He pressed his vast hand over his eyes and remained for some moments in thought.

“Ha, I have it!” he exclaimed suddenly raising his head what force cannot accomplish cunning may perform.

He clapped his hands as a signal and the noise that they made was startling as a peal of thunder.  Instant at the summons his servant Pleasure appeared.  A fairy like creature with gossamer wings all sparkling with the tints of the rainbow.

“Pleasure” exclaimed the Giant, “I call thee to my aid against him who would root out the race of Selfishness.  Do you know if Fides is still at the castle where Sloth this morning fell beneath his sword?”

A taste of a great novel : The Giant Killer (written by Charlotte Maria Tucker in 1856)

Updated and ‘modernised’ here.

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I was surprised to find that in the NKJV it mentions the terror of the Lord (even in the New Testiment).  In other versions it was ‘the dread’ or ‘the fear’ of the Lord.  Also, I am surprised that Isaiah, when prophesising the things to come (how the Lord is going to shake this world) that He uses in the same breath ‘the terror of the Lord and the glory of His majesty’.

Isa 2:6-21
6 For You have forsaken Your people, the house of Jacob, because they are filled with eastern ways.  They are soothsayers like the Philistines and they are pleased with the children of foreigners. 7 Their land is also full of silver and gold and there is no end to their treasures.  Their land is also full of horses and there is no end to their chariots. 8 Their land is also full of idols. They worship the work of their own hands (that which their own fingers have made). 9 People bow down, *and each man humbles himself, therefore do not forgive them.
10 Enter into the rock, and hide in the dust, from the terror of the Lord and the glory of His majesty. 11 The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day.
12 For the day of the Lord of hosts shall come upon everything proud and lofty, upon everything lifted up — and it shall be brought low —  13 Upon all the cedars of Lebanon that are high and lifted up, and upon all the oaks of Bashan; 14 upon all the high mountains, and upon all the hills that are lifted up; 15 upon every high tower, and upon every fortified wall; 16 upon all the ships of Tarshish, and upon all the beautiful sloops. 17 The loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be brought low.  The Lord alone will be exalted in that day, 18 but the idols He shall utterly abolish.
19 They shall go into the holes of the rocks, and into the caves of the earth, from the terror of the Lord and the glory of His majesty, when He arises to shake the earth mightily.
20 In that day a man will cast away his idols of silver and his idols of gold (which they made, each for himself to worship) to the moles and bats, 21 to go into the clefts of the rocks, and into the crags of the rugged rocks, from the terror of the Lord and the glory of His majesty, when He arises to shake the earth mightily.  (
NKJV)

*v9 ie: they bow and humble themselves to their idols not to the Lord.

2 Cor 5:11
11 Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men… (NKJV)

May the Lord bring us understanding and revelation of the terror of the Lord and the glory of His majesty.

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Heb 12:28-29
28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. 29 For our God is a consuming fire. (NKJV)

And what is the therefore there for? (I sound like Derrick Prince)  Let’s look at a couple of previous verses…

Heb 12:25-27
25 See that you do not refuse Him who speaks. For if they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven, 26 whose voice then shook the earth; but now He has promised, saying, “Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven.” 27 Now this, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain. (NKJV)

We (mankind) are once more going to be shaken (and heaven also) and the things that can be shaken will be removed and the things that cannot be shaken will remain.

Praise the Lord we have a Kingdom that cannot be shaken if we hold fast to the Lord and we serve Him acceptably with reverent and godly fear.

And the stirred bit in the ‘Shaken not Stirred’ title pun is we won’t be stirred (or worried) because our complete trust and confidence are in the Lord and because we fear God more than we fear man or circumstances.

And if we don’t have complete trust and confidence are in the Lord and we don’t fear God more than we fear man or circumstances we will repent of our sinful, unbelieving heart and trust the Lord with our whole heart.

Praise His Holy Name, Amen

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Ps 34:9
9 Fear the Lord, you his saints, for those who fear him lack nothing. (NIV)

Enough said? 🙂

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Continuing on from Parts 1 and 2…

I’ve been trying to explain why I feel that faith in our Lord Jesus is like ‘Being at the Knife Edge’ and relating that to Elijah.  Here are a few thoughts:

1) Genuine faith in our Lord Jesus is ‘living way beyond ourselves, it’s extreme living!’. The Spirit of God, if we listen intently and we obey completely, can have us saying and going and doing so much beyond our ‘natural man’.  Faith stretches us!

2) Genuine faith in our Lord Jesus is ‘choosing to give up control of our lives’.  Our ‘natural’ response is we want to keep control of our lives but in John 3:8 Jesus says ‘The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

3) Genuine faith in our Lord Jesus is ‘a daily challenge, a daily battle’.  Faith runs contrary to our ‘natural man’.  Faith isn’t just the occassional one off event, faith is a moment by moment choice to trust in our Heavenly Father. God desires and deserves our full attention, our complete faith and trust in him.

4) Genuine faith in our Lord Jesus ‘finds out what we are made of’.  It challenges the very core of our being.  It seeks out the ‘cracks’ in our character and refines and conforms us to the image of Christ.  ‘For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son – Rom 8:29’

5) Genuine faith in our Lord Jesus ‘challenges and overcomes our fears’.  Within each one of us there is always the choice of faith in our Lord Jesus or fear‘I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life – Deut 30:19‘.  Who are we going to serve?  Faith or fear? Like Elijah;  we can be living at the ‘knife edge of faith’ and then God allows something to happen that pricks or stirs or challenges our ‘natural man’ and we can ‘slide off the edge of that knife’ and start serving our fear and despair.

Let’s continue with the story of Elijah and see what happens.  Just to recap.  Elijah has run in fear from Jezebel’s threat.  He has ‘slid off the knife edge’.  He has thrown in the towel.  He has spat out the dumby (Gee, I’m not being very compassionate – however God is being very compassionate).  Elijah has collapsed in a heap.  It’s all too hard!  I’m all alone!  I want to die!  An angel comes and feeds him (twice) and sets Elijah’s journey to the Mountain of God.  The writer (ie: the Holy Spirit) makes it clear the journey takes 40 days and 40 nights so Elijah has a soul searching, flesh verses Spirit, wilderness experience before he arrives at the Mountain of God.  So now, as we continue the story, we will see if Elijah is ready to continue to be a prophet.  Is God’s prize prophet still down and out!  What is God going to do?  🙂

Let’s look at 1 Kings 19:9-19a
9 There he went into a cave and spent the night. And the word of the Lord came to him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?
10 He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”
11 The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake.
12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.
13 When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?
14 He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.
15 The Lord said to him, “Go back the way you came, and go to the Desert of Damascus. When you get there, anoint Hazael king over Aram.
16 Also,
anoint Jehu son of Nimshi king over Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to succeed you as prophet.
17 Jehu will put to death any who escape the sword of Hazael, and Elisha will put to death any who escape the sword of Jehu.
18 Yet
I reserve seven thousand in Israel — all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and all whose mouths have not kissed him.

19 So Elijah went… (NIV)

Verse 9 reminds me so much of the conversation God had with Adam and Eve.  In fact, it reminds me of the conversations God has with many people (including me).  What I mean by this is, God already knows all the facts but He asks anyway.  It’s like God is having a councelling session with Elijah – “Where are you at, Elijah?”  “Are you there yet, Elijah?”  So gently and so compassionately does the Lord deal with Elijah. Elijah’s response in verse 10 indicates he is ‘not there’ yet. He has a ways to go.

In verses 11 to 13 we have Elijah’s famous mountain top experience with God.  God chooses to reveal Himself to Elijah in an awesome way.  Elijah is going through the final part of His restoration.  Elijah is having an intimate and direct encounter with the living God.  God shows him His power and might and awesomeness and then His intimacy through His gentle whisper.  What is God doing?  He is doing what He has done to many, many people.  He is saying, I AM GOD.  I AM ALMIGHTY AND POWERFUL.  YOU MIGHT NOT UNDERSTAND BUT I AM IN FULL CONTROL OF EVERYTHING.  MY WAYS ARE HIGHER THAN YOUR WAYS.  I AM!  I AM ALL THESE AWESOME THINGS (AND DON’T GET ON MY WRONG SIDE) BUT, ALSO, I LOVE YOU AND I CARE ABOUT YOU VERY MUCH!

So what is Elijah’s response?  Verse 14, it appears Elijah gives the same response.  Here is what I want to say about this.  Elijah’s auto-response to God’s question comes blerting out again but (my belief is) it does not have the same ring or the same heart or the same hold on Elijah’s life now he has personally experienced the awesomeness and the intimacy and the rejuvination and the revelation of His Heavenly Father.

So, finally, verses 15 to 18, God tells Elijah His plan and verse 19 Elijah goes.

So what did Elijah go through?  He was controlled by his fear and anxieties and wanted to die.  He was tenderly and supernaturally fed by an angel.  His sights and journey had been set to the Mountain of God.  He has gone through a 40 day wilderness (I believe, flesh verses Spirit) experience.  He has this mountaintop experience of the awesomeness and the intimacy of God.  He has revelation of the plans of God and he IS BACK AND GOING!

May the Lord bring you revelation about this story of Elijah.

Blessings

Steve

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Being at the Knife Edge of Faith (Part 2)

As I have mentioned in Part 1, the Lord has had me ‘ruminating’ over the life of Elijah.  In particular, Elijah’s response to Jezebel’s death threat where he runs in fear (1 Kings 19), after having such great faith and victory on Mt Carmel in defeating 850+ prophets of Baal and Asherah (1 Kings 18).

Perhaps now is the time to explain what I mean by ‘Being at the Knife Edge of Faith’.

In 2 Cor 5:7 it says we (ie: followers of Jesus) are to live by ‘faith and not by sight’ – this is what I am calling ‘being at the knife edge’.

Genuine faith challenges all of our natural settings and senses.  Our default, human settings are to live by ‘sight’.  In other words, we normally and naturally live by all of our human senses and judgement.  Also, let us not forget, our default, human settings are also heavily tainted with the sinful condition (our fallen nature) of living and serving ‘self’.  Jeremiah 17:9 describes the human heart as ‘deceitful above all things and beyond cure’.  Romans 3:23 says ‘all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God‘.  When we truly come to Christ, when we are truly born again, when we truly give up our lives to Christ, God transforms our default settings.  That is, we longer live for self and we longer live by what we see. [‘I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me’ – Gal 2:20]  We live by complete faith and trust in our Heavenly Father, being led continually by the voice of our Father.  [For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God – Rom 8:13-14] [My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me – John 10:27]  Day by day we are to walk in the Spirit.  [So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature – Gal 5:16] [Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit – Gal 5:25]  Day by day we are to have our minds renewed.  [Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind – Rom 12:2]

This faith living is a challenge and an opposition for our ‘natural man’ who wants to keep control of our lives and every situation.

Getting back to Elijah.  Even with the great faith moments that he had had, Jezebel’s threat struck a chord in his humanity.  Elijah lost it.  Something deep within Elijah rose to the surface.  Fear came in, instead of faith.  Elijah chose death instead of life. Like the contest on Mount Carmel, the Spirit and the flesh had a contest, but this time the flesh won (for a while).  Elijah had fallen.  Ah!, but God can use these situations to flush something out that can deepen intimacy with Him.  I am remembering Peter when he had a ‘human moment’ and denigned Jesus 3 times.  God highlighted the weakness, repentance came in, and a greater intimacy and committment came in.

I have much more to say about Elijah but let me leave you with these verses from Colossians 3:1-10:

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.
Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.
For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.
When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.
Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.
You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived.
But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander and filthy language from your lips.
Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices
and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator

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Thoughts about Elijah Running in Fear – 1 Kings 19:1-4

The Lord has had me ‘ruminating’ over these verses in 1 kings 19 for several weeks now.  It seems the Lord wants to show me something.  Here are some thoughts about these verses.

1 Kings 19:1-4
1 Now Ahab told Jezebel everything Elijah had done and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword.
2 So Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah to say, “May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if by this time tomorrow I do not make your life like that of one of them.”
3 Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there,
4 while he himself went a day’s journey into the desert. He came to a broom tree, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.”
(NIV)

Why would such a powerful and annoited man of God be fleeing in fear from an evil woman’s threat?

Well, it is difficult to say (with accuracy) why Jezebel’s threat had such a fearful effect on Elijah.  We know, for sure, that Jezebel was no match for God.  And we know, for sure, Elijah had great faith and power from God – he had just called down fire from Heaven to consume the sacrifice and had just put #450 prophets of Baal to death(read 1 Kings 18).

So this is THE burning question for these verses!: Why would such a powerful and annoited man of God be fleeing in fear from an evil woman’s threat?

Well, one thing is certain, Elijah ‘took onboard’ Jezebel’s threat and he had fled in fear of his life.  It would seem to me that Elijah has had a ‘human’ moment.  His humanity has kicked in, for whatever reason, and he is running for his life.

I’ve been thinking about Elijah’s words at the end of verse 4:  “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” Here, by the words we can tell, Elijah is really having a big crisis.  God needs to slap this guy about the head and tell him to wake up to himself – right?

Wrong, God really deals with Elijah tenderly.

1 Kings 19:5-8
5 Then he lay down under the tree and fell asleep. All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.”
6 He looked around, and there by his head was a cake of bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again.
7 The angel of the Lord came back a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.”
8 So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he travelled for forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God.
(NIV)

God sends an angel to provide bread and water to Elijah for the JOURNEY.  What journey?  Wasn’t Elijah just running for his life (anywhere away from Jezebel).  I think so, for he took no provisions.  Now he has a journey!  Now he has a purpose and a destination.  And the destination is to the MOUNTAIN OF GOD! Woohoo!  Praise the Lord!

Did you notice the ‘forty days and forty nights’ bit?  Well it’s not an accident :-).  God cleansed the earth with rain for 40 days and 40 nights during the flood.  Moses fasted for for days and forty nights before writing down the 10 commandments.  Our Lord Jesus fasted for 40 days and 40 nights before being tempted.  This ‘journey to the mountain’ for Elijah was (potentually) a time of cleansing, a time of reflection and prayer and a time of subdueing and mastering the soul and the ‘flesh’.

Did it work?

To be continued…

P.S. I haven’t even touched on why I called it “Being at the Knife Edge of Faith” yet .  Maybe it has something to do with faith and humanity(‘the flesh’)?

Blessings

Steve

# In 1 Kings 18:19 it says this:
Now summon the people from all over Israel to meet me on Mount Carmel. And bring the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal and the four hundred prophets of Asherah, who eat at Jezebel’s table.” (NIV)

Did Elijah and the people allow the 400 prophets of Asherah (Baal was a male god and Asherah a female god) to escape?

My thought is no.  They were also part of the problem in Israel.  They have now become redundant because “The Lord, He is God”[v39]  Also, not killing them would have amounted to doing half a job.  Surely God would have rebuked Elijah for not killing them as well. Also of note is that these 850 false prophets were the ones that ‘ate at Jezebel’s table'[v19].  Perhaps a popular vocation in a time of famine 🙂 .  Seeing that the people came from ‘all over Israel'[v19] was the number for false prophets greater than 850?[purely speculation].  Perhaps I should have said Elijah and the people ‘put at least 850 false prophets to death’.

P.P.S. Did you read 1 Kings 18?  This is just something I found amusing in 1 Kings 18.  It’s when Elijah mocks the prophets of Baal.  Look at this translation of verse 27…

1 Kings 18:27
About noontime Elijah began mocking them. “You’ll have to shout louder,” he scoffed, “for surely he is a god! Perhaps he is daydreaming, or is relieving himself. Or maybe he is away on a trip, or is asleep and needs to be wakened!” [New Living Translation]

Perhaps your God has gone to the toilet – ho, ho, ho!

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