When Fear Sends You Hiding
Deuteronomy 31:8 “The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
The era of judges was ending. Israel had demanded a King, and God had chosen a handsome young man named Saul to lead them into their next chapter of history. Only the Great I AM had the ability to envision how this young man could one minute be hunting his father’s lost donkeys, and the next minute be the King of Israel. Saul was certainly not the obvious choice, but then, how often had God made the obvious choice?
So, as Samuel called Israel together to proclaim the new King, just imagine the excited murmur of the people, each one taking a guess as to who might be the lucky guy. Maybe the men huddled together discussing a blueprint for the new palace. Or perhaps, the ladies were choosing a color scheme for the King’s robe. But, never in their wildest dreams did they anticipate what was about to happen.
The crowd silenced, and there in the presence of Israel, Samuel announced God’s choice. (Drum roll, please.) Saul, son of Kish, would be King of Israel.
Possibly the crowds belted out cheers. Maybe they stood on tip-toes straining to get a glimpse of the new King. Perhaps they threw confetti in the air. But the celebration was soon replaced with confusion when Saul was nowhere to be found. Had there been a mistake? Could Samuel have announced the wrong name?
Then, in what must have been the most embarrassing moment of Saul’s life, this long-awaited, newly appointed King of Israel, was found. Where? Hiding in the baggage! That’s right. Hiding!
Talk about an anti-climactic moment! Following all the pomp and circumstance, imagine how disheartening it must have been to see the Hope of the Nation being escorted from his hiding spot among the baggage to face his new subjects.
Nothing about Saul in this moment could have possibly appeared Kingly. Just imagine this same scenario today. Think about the nightly news headlines, the Instagram pics, the tweets, #baggageboyking, and of course, the Facebook video post of Saul being pulled from the baggage going viral!
What just happened? Why would Saul hide when such an honor lay before him? The answer: FEAR! Palm-sweating, heart-pounding, ear-ringing FEAR! Perhaps fear of rejection. Perhaps fear of ridicule. Perhaps fear of inadequacy. Perhaps fear of failure. And the list of fear-descriptors goes on and on.
I think most of us would agree that what lay ahead of Saul was indeed frightening. But, Saul’s fear did not solely originate from WHAT lay ahead of him. Saul’s fear originated when he forgot WHO lay ahead of him. Yes, Saul had overlooked the fact that the Great I Am would go before him.
Can’t we do the exact same thing today? Can’t we allow fear to dictate how we face the situations and opportunities that lie ahead of us? Do we, too, forget that God has promised to go before us? Can we allow the fear of rejection, fear of ridicule, fear of inadequacy, and fear of failure to keep us from being the persons God calls us to be?
“Do not be afraid” is one of the most repeated commands in the Bible, and yes, it is a command - not a suggestion. There is great insight in the causes of our fear found in Elisabeth Elliott’s quote, “Fear arises when we imagine that everything depends on us.” When we place our faith in ourselves, we invite fears of rejection, ridicule, inadequacy, and failure that prohibit us from living victoriously. But when we place our faith in God, fear disappears and all things become possible through Him who gives us strength.
Father God, help us replace our fear with faith in You and You alone.