Daily Devotional: Isaiah 8:11-13
When I reflect on these days of lockdown, I realize that I don’t fear the virus itself. What I fear is our leaders leading from a place of panic. I fear leaders who see this pandemic as an opportunity to accomplish things they never thought possible otherwise. I fear my fellow Americans getting so wound up about our present circumstances that they respond hastily and thoughtlessly. So perhaps I am gripped by fears without and fears within. Perhaps I am more fearful of these days than I like to admit. Then I read these piercing words from Isaiah 8:11-13:
For the Lord spoke thus to me with his strong hand upon me, and warned me not to walk in the way of this people, saying: “Do not call conspiracy all that this people calls conspiracy, and do not fear what they fear, nor be in dread. But the Lord of hosts, him you shall honor as holy. Let him be your fear, and let him be your dread."
I don’t know how this passage strikes you. What I can tell you is that it hit me right between the eyes. I was down for the count. In that moment, I didn’t know where I was or why I was. When I came to, so to speak, I realized that I feared the wrong things. I had misplaced my fear, which is rather easy to do these days. The Holy Spirit used Isaiah 8:11-13 to convict me that I need to fear the Lord. He showed me that what I need to do each day is to exchange my lesser fear for the greater and good fear, the fear of the Lord (Proverbs 9:10).
Now suppose I dismiss this moment of Spirit-born clarity via Isaiah 8:11-13. Let’s say that I continue to fear the responses of our leaders and those of my fellow Americans. According to our passage, it appears that fearing others or circumstances rather than the Lord dishonors him. Frankly, I still haven’t processed this insight completely, so my thoughts are only preliminary. But in Christ, I have somewhere to go with my lesser fears. In Christ, I am to fear my Savior who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell (Matthew 10:28). That’s power far beyond anything I see and experience on this earth.
So then, my brothers and sisters of Indian Trail Church, what are you afraid of right now? Are you caught up in the ways of the people and our leaders instead of His ways? We are no different than Isaiah simply because we live under the New Covenant. The human condition remains the same. In Christ by the Spirit, let us exchange our lesser fears for the greater and good fear, the fear of the Lord.