Rev. Frank Senn
But the Lord of hosts, him you shall regard as holy; let him be your fear, and let him be your dread. He will become a sanctuary, a stone one strikes against; for both houses of Israel he will become a rock one stumbles over—a trap and a snare for the inhabitants of Jerusalem. And many among them shall stumble; they shall fall and be broken; they shall be snared and taken. (Isaiah 8:13-15)
The southern Kingdom of Judah was surrounded by enemies; the northern kingdom of Israel had already fallen to the Assyrians. Who should the king and people of little Judah be afraid of? The prophet Isaiah says, fear Yahweh Sabaoth (the Lord of heavenly hosts). Who or what should we, in our big and strong country, be afraid of? Are we, the people of God living in this land, afraid of foreign powers, viruses, the political opposition, a warming planet, and one another instead of the God who has power to save? Has the God who has been our refuge in ages past become a stumbling block that we trip over in the dark? We are surrounded by many dangers. But there is no freedom from fear and anxiety in politics or religion, only in trust in the God who remains our companion and destiny in Jesus. We will either find hope in the light of this faith or stumble over it in the darkness of despair.
Lord God, you sent prophets to harden our hearts against the threatening dangers that surround us. By your Spirit, cause us to place our trust only in the promises of Jesus, and lead us to our destiny in your kingdom; through your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.