Hope and fears

LUKE 1 vs 67-75, “And Zacharias his father was filled with the Holy Spirit, and did prophesy, saying… Blessed is the Lord, the God of Israel, because He did look upon, And wrought redemption for His people…

And did raise an horn of salvation to us, in the house of David His servant… As He spake by the mouth of His holy prophets, which have been from the age… Salvation from our enemies, And out of the hand of all hating us… To do kindness with our fathers, and to be mindful of His holy covenant… An oath that He sware to Abraham our Father… To give to us, without fear, Out of the hand of our enemies having been delivered…

“ To serve Him, in holiness and righteousness before Him, all the days of our life.”

One of the reasons Jesus came to earth was to enable all of us who put our trust in Him to serve God without fear. Even before Jesus was born, this was prophesied in scripture (the verses we have just read) by Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist.
When Zacharias prophesied that the Lord wants us to serve Him without fear, he is not talking about the reverential (respect) fear of God. But rather the kind of fear that brings torment. The Lord is saying that if we let him, He will teach us how to serve him without fear.

There are four basic fears we will examine in light of the scriptures, we have read and some will read, by Zacharias.

The fear of indecision

The first fear that Jesus wanted to deal with was exemplified by Joseph (Jesus’s earthly father). It is the fear of indecision. Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: When his mother Mary had been betrothed (engaged) to Joseph, before they came together, she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit.

Mathew 1 vs 18-21,And Joseph, her husband, being a righteous man, and not wanting to disgrace her, desired to put her away secretly. But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for that which has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.

“And she will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for it is he who will save His people from their sins.”

indecision

In reality, few of us enjoy making decisions. Put yourself in Joseph’s shoes for a moment. He is engaged to Mary, and loves her dearly and knows that she is a virtuous and godly woman. Their engagement, by the standards in Israel at that time, was the same as marriage. However, just before they were to come together as man and wife, he suddenly discovers she is pregnant. The Bible doesn’t tell us how he discovered it, but we must consider the shock that Joseph suffered when it was discovered. “My God, what shall I do? I lover her, but…” Indecision must have flooded in upon him. (By the way, this pregnancy is the only one of it’s kind, if your girlfriend suddenly tells you she too is pregnant and you know nothing happened, you must know something happened). One of the basic fears of life involves having to make decisions and stand by them. One of the marks of a spiritually mature person is decisiveness. (From my childhood I have been frustrated by people who can’t make decisions right or wrong).

Psalm 15 vs 4, “He swears to his own hurt, and does not change.” In short, he makes the decision and then he stands by it. But Joseph did not know what to do.

Rapidly, he examined his alternatives. But the angel of the Lord came to assure him. “Joseph, fear not, this is God working in your life.” Sin makes us afraid to make decisions and to move in certain ways with courage. We tend to be wishy–washy and double minded. Jesus adds the decisive factor in our lives and the fear of making decisions disappear. Procrastination is a direct result of fear to make decisions. Christ’s support and love allows us to respond to the decision rather than put it off.
(There are many people that have been held between decisions for years and they can’t progress).

The fear of inadequacy

The second fear we want to deal with shows up clearly in the life of Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist. In Luke 1 vs 18, the angel of the Lord came to Zacharias to tell him what God intended to do through a son that his wife, (Elizabeth), who was previously barren, was to conceive. “And Zacharias said to the angel, how shall I know this for certain? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.”

Zacharias had a fear of inadequacy. Has God ever asked something of you that youwere sure you couldn’t do? It frequently happens when we begin moving into the realm of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit comes upon you, your heart begins to pound, your whole body begins to shake, and you say, “Lord are you saying you want to use me?” And He says, “Yes, I am trying to give you a hint.”

The fear of inadequacy grips your spirit whenever God speaks to you on this subject. The question you may be asking right now is, “Lord are you saying you want to use me?” I have come to tell you, “Yes God wants to use you.”

All the inadequacies we have ever known come to the surface when the Lord asks for obedience. When God asks you to do something, it is his nature to ask you to do that, which is beyond your natural ability. You will miss the blessing of your life if your response is:

“Get someone else Lord, I can’t do it…”

“I don’t have the right education…”

“My background is not right…”

“My height Lord…”

“My nose…”

“My speech…”

“My tribe, Lord it’s the least of them all.”

Every time God has asked anything of me, it’s been more than I felt I could produce. He always gives us tasks bigger than we are so that we can grow up while attempting to accomplish them. He never asks for anything we can do solely by our own abilities.

Count the number of times God started a major work in the Old Testament by using women that were barren (thy felt inadequate).

1. Samuel’s mother, Hannah (she cried).

2. Isaac’s mother, Sarah (she laughed).

3. Joseph’s mother, Rachel (tormented).

4. Jacob’s mother, Rebekah.

5. John the Baptist’s mother, Elizabeth (husband could not believe it).

6. Samson’s mother, the wife to Manoah.

God came to each of them saying, in effect, I want to use you. I know your inadequacies.

Why does God work in this way?

Because He wants to show that adequacy is not human – it is divine, God must make up for our inadequacy with His adequacy. The lord may say to you, “I want to use you to help others be set free. Me?! Help others? Lord I am always half defeated myself.”
His reply to that is, “Yes, I know, that’s why I am choosing you.”

Zecharias had said to the angels, “how can this be? You say we are going to have a child, but both my wife and I are old!”
What did Jeremiah say when God came to Him?

Jeremiah 1 vs 6,“I am just a little child.”(I cannot speak).

What did Moses say when God called him?

“I, uh… I can’t talk…”

God said, I will give you Aaron, now lets get on with the job.

Exodus 4 vs 10-13, “Then Moses said to the Lord, “O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.” So the Lord said to him, ‘Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind? Have not I, the Lord? Now therefore, go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say.’ But he said, ‘O my Lord, please send by the hand of whomever else You may send’.”

Inadequacy is a fear that torments all of us. We tend to feel that we are not good enough. We are not man enough, or we are not strong enough. Jesus loves us even when we feel inadequate. He says, “Fear not, Zacharias, the Holy Spirit will do this.”

l Bishop Colin Nyathi is a senior pastor and founder of Harvest House International Churches

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