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Faithlife

Facing Fear in a Troubled World

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Max is a veteran of the Korean War. The threat of another war with North Korea is really causing him to worry. He has too many bad memories of the war in Korea. And the possibility of a nuclear war only adds to his fears. I can certainly understand Max’s fears. Can’t you? But if Max is a Christian, does that make any difference? Should it? Let me ask it another way. Should Christians be any less fearful or anxious over the trouble in the world than anyone else?
The answer is yes. Today God is going to tell us how we can face the trouble in the world without fear. Turn with me to . Isaiah is writing to the Jews who would find themselves in captivity in Babylon. Through Isaiah God is describing a world power that is going to come on the scene and topple both men and nations. News like this is troubling for many nations. But God’s message to His people is, “Do not fear.” Stand as I read God’s Word.
These verses teach us three steps for facing fear in a troubled world.

I. In this troubled world remember who rules. (Vv 1-4)

Coastlands - surrounding Gentile nations
draw near for judgment - not condemnation but to settle an issue
Verse 2-3 describe the rising up of a ruler who easily conquers all before him.
He in verse 2 is God.
Most think Cyrus
Verse 3 - like his feet don’t touch the ground (swiftly)
The issue to be resolved is found in verse 2a & 4a.
Who raises up kingdoms and rulers? Who causes kingdoms to rise or fall?
The answer is, “God!”
the first and with the last - conveys the idea that the Lord is the one and only God and the ruler of all of history.
Daniel 2:21 ESV
He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding;
Daniel 4:17 ESV
The sentence is by the decree of the watchers, the decision by the word of the holy ones, to the end that the living may know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will and sets over it the lowliest of men.’
“If God is really in control why is the world in such a mess?”
The Bible places blame for evil at the feet of mankind.
SIN
What is the alternative?
Would it make you feel better to think God isn’t in control?
God has allowed evil and made it His mission to rescue us from it.
When faced with the trouble in the world the first thing the Christian must do is remember God rules. And then there is something that the Christian must not do.

II. In this troubled world avoid idolatry. (Vv 5-7)

Upon seeing the conqueror God has raised up the Gentile nations are afraid.
They try to draw strength by turning to idols.
The various craftsmen work together to make the idol and then nail it down so it doesn’t fall over.
They think it’s good.
This is where they turn for hope and help in the face of trouble in the world.
The idols of today may not be made out of gold or silver but they are no less real.
Someone spending outrageous amounts of money building an underground nuclear shelter and stockpiling guns and ammunition. Such a person isn’t drawing strength and confidence from the fact that God is in control. He is trusting in the work of his hands.
In the face of a troubled world don’t put your confidence in political parties or government policy.
Don’t look to military strength to comfort you in the face of the evil and disaster.
Don’t turn to things like yoga to give you peace in the face of turmoil.
To do any of those things is idolatry.
It is putting your confidence, hope and trust in something other than God.
Yes, the world is a troubled place. But as Christians we must remember who rules. We must avoid idolatry. And because God rules and we are trusting in Him we don’t have to be afraid.

III. In this troubled world don’t be afraid. (Vv 8-10)

Verses 8-9 - God is clearly addressing Israel.
These verses stress God’s commitment to His own.
But does this apply to Christians?
Galatians 3:6–9 ESV
just as Abraham “believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”? Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.” So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.
Galatians 3:29 ESV
And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.
Two commands
Fear not
be not dismayed
Five reasons
I am with you.
I am your God.
I will strengthen you.
I will help you.
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
The word “but” at the beginning of these verses is important. Isaiah is drawing a contrast. On the one hand, the nations nervously prop up their helpless, homemade saviors. On the other hand, the Sovereign of the universe chooses us and upholds us by his righteous right hand. (Isaiah: God Saves Sinners)
Put these two realities together:
God rules the world.
God has promised to care for you.
The one who is in charge of everything says you have no reason to fear no matter what’s going on in the world. Don’t fear the trouble in the world because God rules the world.
Ortlund, R. C., Jr., & Hughes, R. K. (2005). Isaiah: God saves sinners (p. 262). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

The word “but” at the beginning of these verses is important. Isaiah is drawing a contrast. On the one hand, the nations nervously prop up their helpless, homemade saviors. On the other hand, the Sovereign of the universe chooses us and upholds us by his unerringly righteous right hand.

Big Idea: Don’t fear the trouble in the world because God rules the world.

Big Idea: Don’t fear the trouble in the world because God rules the world.

I told you about Max, the veteran of the Korean war who is worried about another war with North Korea. Max eventually became so troubled that he had a talk with his pastor. His pastor listened carefully to his concern. Then he gave Max a verse to meditate on and memorize. , “For dominion belongs to the Lord, and he rules over the nations.”
Do you believe that today? Do you believe that authority and power and dominion belong to the Lord and that He alone rules over the nations? If you do, then trust Him. Trust Him by looking to Him for strength and comfort and wisdom and direction. Don’t turn to the world to make sense of what’s going on in the world. Turn to the One who is in charge. If you believe God rules and you trust Him, you have no need to be afraid.
Don’t be afraid! I’m not telling you to stick your head in the sand and pretend everything in the world is rosy. I’m telling you to believe that God is in charge and He is trustworthy. I know you have questions you can’t answer. So do I. I know that from a limited human perspective is doesn’t all make perfect sense. That’s why we have to trust God, who perspective is infinite and unlimited. The world looks for comfort by grasping for superficial solutions to problems they don’t even understand. They think answers will give them confidence to face the trouble in the world. In a world that has been ravaged by sin answers aren’t enough. We need God. He alone can give us the comfort and confidence we desire in this troubled world. Don’t fear the trouble in the world because God rules the world.
Study Guide
What are some of the things you see in the world that trouble you the most? Do you think we have more reason to be afraid than the Israelites Isaiah first wrote to?
How might you respond to someone who said fear is a natural human response to troubling situations? Is that a valid reason for Christians to live in fear? Why or why not?
Read . What lesson is God trying to teach Nebuchadnezzar? Why is this message not comforting for some?
If the lesson from were not true, what would be the alternative? Would that alternative be more comforting? Explain.
Why do you think God doesn’t want His people to live in fear?
If you were watching the news and began to feel afraid because of the things being reported, what are some things you could do to fight that fear?
Some people judge God based on what they see in the world. Is that safe? Why or why not?
Ortlund, R. C., Jr., & Hughes, R. K. (2005). Isaiah: God saves sinners (p. 262). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.
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