by Mike Ratliff
For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil. (1 Peter 3:12-17 ESV)
In a recent study of Scripture to gain wisdom from God in the area of fear or distress or anguish that seemed to be overwhelming a person dear to me, we came together upon a passage in the book of Proverbs that God used to help both of us to get our focus on Him as the source of our fulfillment and security. Through this I was able to help her see that her distress was not coming from an abandonment by God, but that God was actually giving her the way to defeat it, which is to walk securely within His Wisdom in dependence on Him to keep her and sustain her.
I remember when I first began this ministry at Possessing the Treasure that there would be times when the ugliness of the attacks from those who opposed God’s Truth that we presented here would cause me a level of anguish that seemed to be about to overwhelm me. The very fact that a group of people was bound and determined to shut this blog down and silence me would nearly paralyze me. However, as God taught me, over time, how to work through these things in total dependence on Him, I was able to see that the anguish or fear or whatever it was, was really part of the attack coming from our enemy. When I would tell the truth then endure the attacks the fear would always be part of that. However, when I went through them while being led by the Spirit in total dependence on my Lord for His wisdom and discernment in the midst of the fiery trial, I was able to then look back on those events after the fact and wonder at why I was so fearful. It was then that God gave me the wisdom to see that everything was being blown out of proportion the more I was focused on me and what the outcome would be for me and this ministry, but when I was focused on His Truth and the fact that what I was doing was for His glory alone the attacks became meaningless to me. I was willing to endure anything for my Lord’s glory and was able to bear it all in the power of the Holy Spirit.
The following is the passage from Proverbs that I mentioned above.
Do not be afraid of sudden terror or of the ruin of the wicked, when it comes, for the LORD will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being caught. (Proverbs 3:25-26 ESV)
25και ου φοβηθηση πτοησιν επελθουσαν ουδε ορμας ασεβων επερχομενας 26ο γαρ κυριος εσται επι πασων οδων σου και ερεισει σον ποδα ινα μη σαλευθης (Proverbs 3:25-26 LXX)
25 And (και) you shall not (ου) be afraid (φοβηθηση) of terror (πτοησιν) coming upon (επελθουσαν), nor (ουδε) the thrusting (ορμας) of the impious (ασεβων) coming upon (επερχομενας). 26 For the (ο γαρ) lord (κυριος) will be (εσται) over (επι) all (πασων) your (σον) ways (οδων), and (και) he shall establish (ερεισει) your (σον) foot (ποδα) that (ινα) you should not (μη) be shaken (σαλευθης). (Proverbs 3:25-26 word-for-word translation from the Septuagint to English)
These two verses are designed by God to be an encouragement to believers to walk in God’s wisdom rather than by mere sight, i.e. walk by faith, not by sight. Why? The impious, ασεβων, who are those who are devoid of reverential awe of God, may indeed cause us pain, anguish, and even fear at times, but they are under the hand of God’s judgment and we are not to fear the ruin that is coming upon them. That judgment is for the ασεβων not those whose confidence is truly in the Lord. The Lord will keep those who walk in this wisdom from their foot being caught. How? ο γαρ κυριος εσται επι πασων οδων σου και ερεισει σον ποδα ινα μη σαλευθης; for the Lord will be over all their ways and he shall establish their foot that they should not be shaken. This is telling us that if we will walk in obedience to the Lord, by faith and not by sight, He will sustain us and keep us from been afraid of sudden terror. The enemy may indeed raise up his servants to attack the Lord’s Truth, saying all kinds of evil about us and attacking us in ways that no one controlled by the Holy Spirit would do, however, even in this, our trust is in the Lord and so we are able to endure it all for it is for His glory and what happens to us or our ministries through this is not important.
I know that many reading this have been intimidated in the past by those opposed to the truth to keep silent and believe that the humble thing to do is not confront evil. However, we are actually commanded to be bold and stand firm against all who oppose God’s truth. We are told to do all for God’s glory and understand that God may indeed allow us to suffer for it (see the passage I placed at the top of this post), but that is okay for He is glorified in this.
Soli Deo Gloria!