Frozen by Fear
Zeph. 3:16 On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem:
Do not fear, O Zion;
do not let your hands grow weak.
The prophetic voice was announcing the return of God’s people to Jerusalem. They were to experience the peace that comes when God is in control. Unfortunately they had suffered greatly under their enemies, leaving them in a constant state of fear and this fear had become paralyzing. No longer were they able to lift their hands to the work that God had prepared for them. Fear was the overwhelming factor in their lives, leading them to a place of utter despair.
There seems to be a direct correlation here between fear and an inability to use our hands for work. When fear captures our hearts and lives we are unable to lift a finger to do the work which we are called to do. The opposite is also true, when we live without fear, when we are in a state of peace, we are able to use our hands and be engaged in the labor and the work which lies before us.
The Israelites had a job to do in building and caring for the city. It was obvious what needed to be done because they could see it before their very eyes. And yet, fear gripped them in a way that left them powerless. What would the enemy need to do to overcome them? Not much when they were gripped with this type of fear. Franklin D. Roosevelt said in his first inaugural address, “All we have to fear is fear itself,” because he understood the paralyzing power of fear.
So many today are being held captive by the fear of the “what ifs” of life. What if I lose my job? What if I get in a car accident? What if I do poorly on an upcoming test? What if the stock market crashes? What if ….the list can go on and on and on. The reality is that there will always be “what ifs” in our life but if we allow them to give way to fear, our hands will grow weak. We will be unable to function or to complete the tasks which we see before us. We will be consumed with our fears and spend all of our time and energy thinking about everything that can go wrong.
So, how do we, as Christ followers, live in a place without fear? God was calling to the Israelites and challenging them to trust in him. God had always said that he would take care of his people, if only they would trust him. Now, he promised to bring them back to Jerusalem and to fill them with hope and strength.
We must hope upon the Lord and our hands will be filled with strength for the day. We will be able to move through life and work with our hands, hearts, and minds, as we trust in him. He is our peace. He is our hope. He is our refuge and when we learn to trust in him, then we can get busy as the people of God. We can do the work that he places before us for he will enable us for the task.
God’s people are not to be frozen by fear, but to be energized by his peace. This is God’s plan and promise to the Israelites long ago and to us today.
Lord, thank you for your peace. Amen.