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Is anyone here afraid or worried? (v.8).
I rolled up my sleeve and looked away. The injection
of immunoglobulin was going to sting, and I knew
it. I knew, however, that it could prevent a battle
with Hepatitis A. One of my family members had been
exposed to the highly contagious disease—which karatekicks
the liver—and health authorities had recommended
vaccinations for everyone in my household.
There’s an emotional ailment that can also be quite
“catchy.” Fear. Moses advised his military leaders to
take a pre-battle poll of the troops and ask, “Is anyone
here afraid or worried?” (Deuteronomy 20:8). Soldiers
who admitted their anxiety were discharged before they
could scare off anyone else. The commanders wanted to
prevent the panic of a few from contaminating the entire
When we advertise and live out our fear, it can spread
to others. Parents pass phobias on to children. Friends
infect other friends with superstitions. Employees alarm their
co-workers when the fate of the company is in question.
Fortunately, there’s a way to stop the spread of panic.
Moses prescribed this message for fearful soldiers: “Do
not be afraid as you go out to fight your enemies today!
Do not lose heart or panic or tremble before them!” (v.3).
In other words, Be brave. Stand tall. Don’t back down,
because “the Lord your God is going with you! He will
fight for you . . . and He will give you victory!” (v.4).
The promise of God’s presence wasn’t just for the Israelites. He’s with us too,
even today (Matthew 28:20). Because of that, we can say, “I know the Lord is
always with me. I will not be shaken, for He is right beside me” (Psalms 16:8).
When we put this into practice, fear will lose its foothold in our lives. Friends
and family may start to notice. For courage is contagious too.
How might you inspire a fearful person to have courage? How can
awareness of God’s presence deter us from coping with fear in
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