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One day I went to the house of Shemaiah son of Delaiah, the son of Mehetabel, who was shut in at his home. He said, “Let us meet in the house of God, inside the temple, and let us close the temple doors, because men are coming to kill you—by night they are coming to kill you.”
But I said, “Should a man like me run away? Or should someone like me go into the temple to save his life? I will not go!” 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 by doing this, and then they would give me a bad name to discredit me. Neh. 6:10-13, NIV
Nehemiah was faced with a fear. He was informed that he was the target of assassins. People were going to come by night and kill him. But he had the courage to stand strong.
In these days many people are faced with the fear of death. Life seems uncertain. When and where will it all end? Many are self-isolating and alone. Families are kept in close contact - which can put a strain on relationships especially when coupled with fear. Children do not understand why they can’t go to the playground or meet with their friends. We need the courage to stand strong.
The devil wants to use this as an opportunity to grow fear, divide families and destroy the work of God. God wants to use this as an opportunity to grow faith, strength families and build His kingdom. Whose vision are we buying into?
Let’s consider Nehemiah.
Fear punched him in the face. His life was in danger. His advisor was trying to activate the fear of death and terror of the unknown in the night. He even gave very wise-sounding “religious” advise. “Go into the temple, they can’t get you there!”
Why would Nehemiah going into the temple of God be wrong? It would be wrong because it would have been an action of fear. It would have been running and hiding. It would have shown cowardice that would have harmed or destroyed his leadership.
Nehemiah absolutely refused to give into fear. He knew who he was in God. He had the courage to stand strong. Death held no fear for him and he had a work of God to do. He was not going to be stopped. He had a holy stubbornness. Stubbornness in the ways of God and working for the glory of God. He would not be moved.
Notice, also, that it was not until AFTER he took his stand that he realized it was a deception to destroy him. Many times we have to face our fears head-on before they are conquered. And, since Jesus has already crushed the devil, we can be assured of victory through the power of the Holy Spirit living in us.
Am I saying that we should not practice social distancing? No. We have to be responsible and do our best to stop the spread of the coronavirus. I am; however, saying several things:
1. We do not practice social distancing out of fear, but out of responsible action. And, if someone needs help, we don’t turn away.
2. Many Christians have been so busy with activities, good activities, that they have not taken the time to develop a close walk with Jesus. If that is you, now is an opportunity to get to know Jesus better. Don’t let fear cause you to miss it.
3. Be careful how you talk - to yourself and others - about Covid-19. Do not give out a message of fear and doom. Learn to talk in faith. God is still in control.
4. Be informed, but don’t be a news junkie. If all you can think about is Covid-19 and a dark future, you will live in fear. Have Nehemiah’s confession: “Should such a child of God as I walk in fear? I WILL NOT!”