Why are you cast down, O my soul? . . . Hope in God.
Face Your Fears by Facing God
“I look at this people—oh! what a stubborn, hard-headed people!” (Exodus 32:9 MSG). God spoke these words to Moses on Mount Sinai. The disloyalty of the calf-worshipping Hebrews stunned God. He had given them a mayor’s-seat perch at his Exodus extravaganza. They saw water transform into blood, high noon change to a midnight sky, the Red Sea turn into a red carpet, and the Egyptian army become fish bait. God gave manna with the morning dew, quail with the evening sun. He earned their trust. . . . And yet, when God called Moses to a summit meeting, the people panicked like henless chicks. “They rallied around Aaron and said, ‘Do something. Make gods for us who will lead us. That Moses, the man who got us out of Egypt—who knows what’s happened to him?’” (Exodus 32:1 MSG).
The scurvy of fear infected everyone in the camp. They crafted a metal cow and talked to it. . . .
Note: the presence of fear in the Hebrews didn’t bother God; their response to it did. Nothing persuaded the people to trust him. Plagues didn’t. Liberation from slavery didn’t. God shed light on their path and dropped food in their laps, and still they didn’t believe him. Nothing penetrated their hearts. . . .
More than three thousand years removed, we understand God’s frustration. Turn to a statue for help? How stupid. Face your fears by facing a cow? Udderly foolish!
We opt for more sophisticated therapies: belly-stretching food binges or budget-busting shopping sprees. We bow before a whiskey bottle or lose ourselves in an eighty-hour workweek. Progress? Hardly. We still face fears without facing God.
[3:16 The Numbers of Hope]
You know how weak and frail we are when faced with fears. We tend to turn to things and people for answers and solutions to life’s problems rather than turn to you. Or we try to work out solutions in our own feeble strength, when you are eager to provide the solution for us. Forgive us when we disappoint you, Father. May we always turn first to you,
Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
You are my hope, O Lord GOD; You are my trust from my youth.
Blessed is that man who makes the LORD his trust.