In God We Trust - Choose Faith Over Fear!
“We trust you with our son!”
Allstate is not doing anything new. Advertisers have played on people’s fears for years to sell a product. Does your lawn have grubs? If it does you’re in big trouble! Grubs feed on grass roots until the grass dries out and dies. Don’t mess with grubs – get Grub-Ex. One application kills and prevents grubs all season long – guaranteed. I heard a commercial on the radio this past week that went something like this! Do you have Life Insurance? If you don’t – your wife and kids could be in trouble! Do you want your family to be in trouble? “Well, no I don’t!” Do you want your wife to have to sell the house in the event of your death! “Well, of course not!” Then don’t waste a minute. Get online and buy term life insurance – no need to worry when you’re insured! Now I’ll admit Allstate is extremely clever. They took an old idea - preying on people’s fears to a whole new level when they made “MAYHEM” into a real person! Watch this ad! Mayhem is defined as “absolute chaos or severe disruption.” But in this case Mayhem is actually actor Dean Winters. Jamie Heidel writes, “The commercials are two parts humor and two parts scare tactic, an odd combination that seems to work.”[i] Do scare tactics work on you? Watch out for lawn killing grubs and cut rate car insurance! These mayhem commercials give a whole new meaning to the question, “Are you in Good hands?” Actually I think they create an even better question, “Are you in God’s hands?” If we’re in God’s hands, we don’t have to fear mayhem, but so often we do. What should we do about our fears? On Christmas Eve I gave you sneak peak answers to a poll we did last fall. The question we asked was, “Currently, what is your greatest fear?” Nearly 150 answers were submitted. You can read every answer by going to our website (www.westerville-christian.org) and clicking on Fear Poll Results. I divided all fears into six categories. Physical Fears Dave Barry said, “All of us are born with a set of instinctive fears--of falling, of the dark, of lobsters, of falling on lobsters in the dark, or speaking before a Rotary Club, and of the words "Some Assembly Required.”[ii] Assembling your kid’s bike is just one of many potential physical fears. From our survey other fears include – Death, Illness, Health, Being over weight, My addiction, Drowning, That my MS will progress to the point that I am stuck in bed and cannot do anything for myself. Spiritual Fears - Children not really believing in God. My boys will fall into the battle of lust and temptation. No kidding, I have so many, from losing my son or husband to failing as a wife and mother. Not being that perfect person that can do it all. Financial Fears -Identity theft. Job change. Not getting bills paid so we can retire. Been doing a lot of praying, and just trusting the Lord to keep us well enough to keep working. Fear is too consuming, so I try not to be afraid. I thoroughly enjoyed a few Irrational/Funny fears like "Only two things scare me… nuclear war and Carnies... circus folk" Greg going over on his sermon. My wife's driving. Plus there were Critter Fears: Snakes, Butterflies, Sharks, Worms, Bears! Anybody here afraid of a wolverine? And finally there were Emotional Fears - Leaving this earth before my children are adults. Fear my marriage will end. Death of my spouse. I won't live long enough to raise my children. Something bad happening to my children. I wonder if Jochebed and Amram had that same fear. Turn in your Bibles to Hebrews chapter 11. Today we begin a six week series entitled, In God We Trust, located in Hebrews 11. Who needs a Bible? One of my goals as a preacher is to teach you how to read the Bible for yourself. We find ourselves in Hebrews today. The title grants us the letter’s purpose. A Hebrew is a person. So Hebrews are a group of people. These people are the children of Israel, or Jews, or in this case Jewish Christians. James Smith said this, “The immediate purpose of the Book of Hebrews is to convince wavering Jewish Christians that Jesus fulfilled God’s promises to Israel...[iii] Now my question is, “what has them wavering?” Much like today. Trials like persecution and temptations like doubt. Wondering if God knows what he’s doing. They had fears to – namely, “Is Jesus worth all this? Is he going to come through?” The Hebrew writer which they apparently knew does something incredible. The author gives them example after example of people who walked by faith. Why does the author do this? Because the only way you can overcome paralyzing fear in your life is to choose faith over fear. Now what is faith? Faith is taking God at his word. Are you in Hebrews 11? Find verse 1. This isn’t a definition of faith as much as it shows the results of faith. Take God at his word and you can have divine assurance. Jochebed and Amram had divine assurance when it came to their son. Drop down to Hebrews 11:23. (Read) Find a pen and draw a line between verses 22 & 23. Nearly a year ago I started a series called Faith Heroes and we looked at all these heroes of the faith. Verses 3-22 summarize the book of Genesis. Verse 23 starts the book of Exodus. Let’s go from Hebrews to Exodus chapter 2 and meet Moses’ parents. When I read Exodus I think EXIT. Exodus is all about the Hebrews exiting Egypt. (Read Exodus 2:1-2) Why? Why did she hide her son? Drop down to chapter 1. (Read 6-9) So to weed down their numbers the Egyptians created a three fold plan. First, they oppressed the Israelites through hard labor. Find verse 14. But this didn’t work. The Israelites continued to grow. Plan #B was the have the Hebrew midwives kill all baby boys after they were born. But that failed too. Find verse 17. (17-19) That wasn’t exactly the truth, but God blessed them anyway. He’ll do that for you too - if you choose to fear him. You’d think Pharaoh would be down for the count, right. Unfortunately no! He comes up with hideous Plan #C. Look at verse 22. Now do you understand why they’ve been hiding their son for the last three months? Pharaoh was “mayhem” in the flesh long before Allstate’s famous Dean Winters’ commercials. This is every parent’s nightmare – “something bad happening to my children.”
While sports fishing off the Florida coast, a tourist capsized his boat. He could swim, but his fear of alligators kept him clinging to the overturned craft. Spotting an old beachcomber standing on the shore, the tourist shouted, "Are there any gators around here?" "Naw," the man hollered back, "they ain't been around for years!" Feeling safe, the tourist started swimming leisurely toward the shore. When he was almost there, he asked the guy, "How'd you get rid of the gators?" "We didn't do nothin'," the beachcomber said. "The sharks got 'em."[iv]
If it isn’t gators – it’s sharks! So how do we overcome this fear or any fear? Follow the example of Amram & Jochebed. Put your trust in God! Trust is one of three components of faith. Faith in God involves knowledge, trust and action! Look at how this couple acted. Bad fear paralyzes a person. Bad fear makes a stupid decision look like a wise decision. They knew tossing their newborn son in the Nile was a stupid – totally fear driven decision. So what did they do? They chose to fear God above Pharaoh. Inotherwords they put their faith into action.
Action that causes a person to hide your newborn son for three months. That would have been easy – right? Literally keeping him indoors all the time. Keeping the blinds closed so no one could peak in. Which would be harder? Making all the effort to keep him hidden which endangers your entire family or just giving into Pharaoh’s fears and letting the Nile have him? They chose to “hide’ by faith. That’s not all the chose to do. They also chose to “float” by faith! Find verse 3 in Exodus 2. (Read) That’s so smart. The reeds would keep the basket from getting caught up in the Nile’s current. What words do you think Jochebed prayed, before she let go of her floating ark? “Almighty God, Jehovah God, please don’t let anything bad happen to my son. I trust you God with my son. Steer him down this river!”
But it isn’t wrong to enlist some help along the way. Look at the next verse - verse 4. Maybe his parents just couldn’t take it any longer or maybe they didn’t want to look so conspicuous. “Miriam, you go!” Older sisters think they are Moms anyway, right. “Miriam, I trust you. If that basket tips over – I trust you’ll jump in after your brother.” Trust isn’t limited to just God. Please really think about this. Are you a trustworthy person? Can you be trusted to be somewhere or do something? If you say it will be done do you do it? There’s nothing wrong with trusting another person especially if that person fears God! What’s silly though is to put your ultimate trust in a person. I saw this t-shirt. “IN DREW WE TRUST!” Who’s the Drew they are referring to? Drew Brees of course. When it comes to football Drew’s pretty good. But even Drew Brees knows – he’s no Savior. There’s only one ultimate Savior. Psalm 146:3 says, Do not put your trust in princes, in mortal men, who cannot save. The reason you want Jesus to be your Savior is that he beat death! And choosing to trust in him empowers us to overcome any fear. “Greg, I hear what you’re saying, but it still didn’t work for me. You see my greatest fear was something bad happening to my child and you know what – something bad happened to my child.” This is not the way it was supposed to be. Go back to Exodus 2. Find verse 5. (5-10) Let me get this straight. God sent Moses to the very house which ordered him to die. I don’t pretend to understand how God works. I just know you can trust him. Find a blue insert in your newsletter. One side is called Hugs for Matthew. I would love a miracle here. Jeremie & Jennifer are doing their best to simply trust God. I bet if you’d ask them – they’d tell you Matthew’s illness has been very hard. Moses’ parents lost their son. He left their house. For a time. Eventually they will see Moses again. When Matthew goes to heaven – we’ll see him again. The Allstate commercials end the same way every time. “Dollar for dollar no one protects you from mayhem like Allstate. From birth to death – no one protects from mayhem like God! I’ll ask you again – Are you in good hands – better yet - are you in God’s hands?
[iii] James E. Smith, The NT Books Made Simple, 134