Fear is something that we all deal with in life. Whether we like it or not, it's one of the most natural emotions. President Franklin Roosevelt said, "The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself."
There are so many things in our life that we can be afraid of. Science tells us that the feeling of fear is our body trying to anticipate an event or experience. That anticipation may come from past experiences, or it may come from things we've never experienced before so we are entering into the unknown.
According to Psychology Today, every fear fits into 1 of 5 categories.
Our scripture passage this morning is from the book of Deuteronomy. To be honest, I've never preached from Deuteronomy before. It's not the most interesting of books. Deuteronomy is the 5th book of the Bible and the last book that Moses wrote. It's kind of a summary of the law, repeating a lot of what Moses said in Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers. That's why it's so hard to get through these books if you are doing the Bible in a year. There is so much repetition, that you often get bored and don't want to keep going.
Moses wanted to be sure that Israel knew what to do, how to do it, and why it ought to be done that way, knowing that his time had almost come to join God.
The purpose of our passage is to help Israel know what to do if they were outnumbered when facing a battle, which happened many times in their history. For those of us who don't literally fight battles, we can still take away the metaphorical battles we fight every day.
Let's look at verse 1, which says,
Going into literal battle, especially against an opponent that is greater would have the possibility of hitting all 5 of those fear categories. One would be trying to protect one's life, protect one's body from injury, prevent capture, prevent separation from the rest of the team, and keep one's esteem up. If you're going into a metaphorical battle, then the fear categories that you are interacting with will vary, depending on what the battle is for you.
Scripture is telling us though that we don't have to carry these burdens on our own because God goes with us. It even tells us to not be afraid. We see time and time again that Israel faced forces stronger and bigger than they were, but they prevailed through God. We must trust that God will carry us through our fear and through the battle to keep us safe so that we can stay focused on the task before us.