“But the Lord said to Moses, ‘Do not fear him, for I have given him into your hand, and all his people, and his land. And you shall do to him as you did to Sihon king of the Amorites, who lived at Heshbon.’” (Numbers 21:34).
Between the years 1875 and 1883, there was a professional thief whose name struck fear into people’s hearts as he terrorized the Wells Fargo stagecoach line. From San Francisco to New York, this thief’s name became synonymous with danger on the frontier. He robbed 29 different stagecoach crews. Amazingly, he did it all without firing a shot. Instead, Black Bart used fear to paralyze his victims.
Fear is a powerful emotion. It can grip us with an immobilizing terror. It can keep us from succeeding in life. Fear wants to steal your joy, take your courage, and leave you cold and trembling. Everyone has some fear. You may have a fear of death, or failure, or defeat, or rejection, or a host of other things. But God wants to encourage us with these words: “Fear Not!” These words are used many times throughout the Bible and are mostly spoken by God to His people.
Moses and the Israelites won battles and overcame many obstacles, often against all odds. In today’s verses, they had just defeated King Sihon of the Amorites. Now they were about to encounter another opponent: Og, the king of Bashon. The Lord, knowing how often the Israelites would shrink in fear before those who opposed them, sought to nip it in the bud this time. So, He reminded Moses of their previous victory as He urged them to continue on without fear.
THE TRUE NATURE OF THE BATTLE IS THE LORD’S.
God reminded Moses and all the Israelites, that He and His spiritual army went before them. “For I have given [Og] into your hand, and all his people, and his land.” (Numbers 21:34). So many people are blind to the true nature of the battle, because they have taken their eyes off of God and have focused on the world. Thus, they feel out-numbered. When we look to God, He opens our eyes and we can see all around us. With God on our side, we are more than our enemies. We not only see that we are the majority, but that the battle is spiritual in nature. “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12). We are in a spiritual battle every day.
This conflict is over authority. Jesus has all rightful authority. “For by Him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities – all things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” (Colossians 1:16–17). He also created the angels, but Satan (a fallen angel) rebelled and attempted to steal His authority. For Satan’s rebellion, he was cast out of heaven. Now Satan wants to control your life and mine. Every human being who has ever walked the face of this earth has taken part in this spiritual battle. “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8).
Satan is a masterful thief and he wants to steal control of your life. God indeed has full authority, but He also allows man to have free will. Satan has no authority but wants absolute control. We give Satan control over us when we walk by the flesh and not by the Spirit and give into our fears and temptations. That’s why God still speaks to us today, as He did to Moses. “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7). “Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.” (Ephesians 6:10–11). If there is anything that has you in the grip of fear and keeps you from moving forward in faith, ask God to open your eyes so you can see the true nature of the battle. Until you do, you’ll never be able to have victory over your enemy, the devil.
WE WILL EXPERIENCE THE PRESENCE OF GOD.
When we open our eyes, we see the Lord. Just as He promised Moses before entering the land of Bashon, we are reminded that He is always there before us as well. “I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20). There is something about being in the presence of someone who is stronger than we are that soothes our fears. When God is with us, there is no reason to fear. “He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4). Remember when God is with us, we are always the majority and we are always the victor.
Whatever became of Black Bart? It turns out that he wasn’t anything to be afraid of either. When the hood came off, they didn’t find a blood thirsty bandit from Death Valley; they found a mild-mannered druggist from Decatur, Illinois: Charles E. Boles. He never fired a shot because he was afraid to carry a loaded gun.
Do you have any fears in life? Let God open your eyes so you can see the true nature of the battle and so that you can experience the presence of God!