Acts 18; Judges 9; Job 38
When we think about people from the days of the Bible we often forget their human qualities. We see Paul courageously dealing with persecutions and beatings while still proclaiming the gospel of Christ and perhaps we forget that Paul might still have had fear as he obeyed God. God’s word to Paul in Corinth is interesting in that light: “Now the Lord spoke to Paul in the night by a vision, ‘Do not be afraid, but speak, and do not keep silent; for I am with you, and no one will attack you to hurt you; for I have many people in this city.’” (Acts 18:9-10) What an amazing message from God to calm Paul. After a long history of preaching to the Jews, getting kicked out of the synagogue, preaching to the Gentiles, encountering opposition that became riots against him and then getting beaten or otherwise kicked out of the city; God brings calm to Paul. Paul was not to be afraid because God had a plan for him here. Here, Paul was not to fear the attacks; here he was supposed to speak out knowing that there would be no attacks. Here, Paul would not be alone with God because God let Paul know that there were many of His people in the city. Paul stayed in Corinth for a year and a half and helped develop the church there. Let’s face it – we all have a bit of fear when proclaiming the truth of Jesus. We’ve heard our friends mock Christians and may have engaged in it before we came to Christ. We’ve seen stories of people losing employment or friends because they spoke out about Jesus. God speaks to us in these times. We may undergo persecution from friends who become former friends. He will be with us. We should have no fear. We may find that we come under physical attack. We should have no fear. He will be with us. We may discover that those that thought would oppose us actually welcome and receive the message of Jesus and that when we were afraid, God was preparing us for rejoicing. In all these circumstances, God is with us and will be with us. Whatever your situation may be don’t be afraid and keep speaking the truth of Jesus, God is always with you.
Lord, so many of the things I cherish: the respect of friends, positions of influence and work, might be threatened if I speak out for You. Please keep reminding me that I need not fear and that You will always be with me. Let me live with that promise each moment of my life.