The wind was blowing yesterday. Hard and cold. We live in a temperate climate therefore it was very hard and very cold by our standards. I woke up during the night and heard something that sounded like the wind. When I looked out of the window everything was quiet. Obviously I don’t sleep with my hearing aids in and sounds tend to become a little distorted so it could have been trucks driving through town or even the compressors of refrigeration trucks that were parked overnight. Whatever the noise was though, it was not what I thought it was.
Life is a lot like that. Things are very often not what they seem to be. Especially in the political situation we find ourselves in. Yesterday I read that more than 60 railway coaches have been burned out in Cape Town since the beginning of this year. The reasons are as varied but most of them have nothing to do with Spoornet (the railway company). The people who have the contract to supply railway vehicles benefit from it so who knows? The Bloemfontein City Hall was set on fire 2 days ago because the municipal workers apparently didn’t receive the wage increase that they were demanding. The cost of restoring that building will be a drain on city funds making wage increases even more difficult. When people don’t get what politicians promised them they burn tyres, block the main roads and loot shops. The motorists who use those roads mostly have no influence at all with the government department who promised the housing. The owner of the shop which gets emptied is not even affiliated to a political party and is just trying to raise a family by being an entrepreneur. Things don’t make sense and I have realized that, just like the wind which wasn’t the wind, things are very often not what they seem.
In Isaiah 11:3 the Bible says:
“and he will delight in the fear of the Lord. He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears;”
When Nehemiah was rebuilding Jerusalem there were enemies plotting against him to try to stop him. They kept sending him messages in an attempt to intimidate him. He realized what their plan was and refused to meet with them. This is what he replied to them, “Nothing like what you are saying is happening; You are just making it up in your head.” Nehemiah realized that they were just trying to cause them to revert into a state of fear and not be able to do any work.
When Nehemiah went to see his friend Shemaiah, this friend tried to trick him into hiding in the temple to avoid being attacked and killed at night. Before he went to Shemaiah he prayed to God saying, “Now strengthen my hands.” Nehemiah realized that Shemaiah was trying to cause him harm.
Nehemiah 6:12 – 13 “I realized that God had not sent him, but that he had prophesied against me because Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him. He had been hired to intimidate me so that I would commit a sin be doing this, and then they would give me a bad name to discredit me.”
Nehemiah was using discernment. He prayed and asked God to strengthen his hands, but more than just his hands were strengthened. He had the gift of discernment. James chapter 1 verse 5: “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.”
When all these political crimes happen, when farmers get killed on their farms without apparent reason, when little girls and babies are raped and killed, when property is destroyed, it is easy to fall into fear. It is so easy to let fear take you hostage and to become a prisoner in your own house. We aren’t only scared by political problems and crime. Every day things happen that can cause us to become fearful. Our children can become sick or street dangerously off course. Death, divorce, unfaithfulness, retrenchment, the list is endless.
John 1:12, “Yet to all who received him (Jesus), to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God-” If you were the natural child of a king you would not be expected to live in fear. You would have rights and privileges that others normal citizens would not have. You would have free access to the king and be able to ask his advice at any time. Just like that, if you have accepted Jesus Christ as your saviour, you have access to God (The King and Creator of the Universe) at all times. You can ask Him whatever you want and He will answer you. In His Word it says “do not fear” 365 times. Once for every day of the year.
We have to learn to live as overcomers, as victors, as fearless royalty. We have to ask for wisdom and apply it, we have to discern when things aren’t as they seem to be. We have to be the light in the world and not hide in fear. Are we going to allow fear to paralyse us or are we going to do what Nehemiah did and fearlessly complete the task that he knew was his to do? Let us live lives that reflect the glory of God and let us enjoy every bit of it.