“The Artist” won five Academy Awards last night, including best picture. I agree–it is a creative and powerful movie. The first silent film to receive such an award since 1929, the movie portrays an actor who cannot transition to the era of “talkies.” While it’s set in the past, it’s all about the future. Or more specifically, our fear of it.
Today’s “fear not” speaks to this issue. Moses has sent 12 spies into the Promised Land. They return with glowing reports about Canaan, but 10 are terrified of the inhabitants’ size and strength. The assembly, upon hearing their report, revolts against Moses and decides to return to Egyptian slavery.
Then the two faithful spies say to the nation, “Do not rebel against the Lord. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will devour them. Their protection is gone, but the Lord is with us. Do not be afraid of them” (Numbers 14:9). The people reject their leadership, so God announces his judgment: the nation will wander in the wilderness until this faithless generation has died. Upon hearing this, the people reverse themselves and charge ahead without Moses’ leadership, but the Canaanites defeat them easily. Forty years later, the two faithful spies finally lead the next generation into their Promised Land.
Oswald Chambers warns us in this morning’s My Utmost For His Highest, “We limit the Holy One of Israel . . . by saying, ‘Of course I cannot expect God to do this thing.’ The thing that taxes almightiness is the very thing which we as disciples of Jesus ought to believe he will do.” He concludes: “The reason some of us are such poor specimens of Christianity is because we have no Almighty Christ.” We must repent of our self-reliance and trust fully in our Lord, for “it can be done if you look to Jesus.”
Who are your Canaanites this morning? What about the future frightens you today? Are you worried about your job or finances or family? Our son begins radiation treatments soon–this morning’s essay calls me to refuse the self-dependence our culture embraces and trust my fears to our Almighty Christ. Because his character never changes (Hebrews 13:8), his faithfulness in the past assures me of his provision for the future. As the song says, “He didn’t bring us this far to leave us. He didn’t teach us to swim to let us drown. He didn’t build his home in us to move away. He didn’t lift us up to let us down.”
Lent prepares us for Good Friday and Easter Sunday, two days that proved the depth of our Lord’s love and the strength of his power. So fear not, for “the Lord is with us.” His word promises us, “Greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world” (1 John 4:4, KJV).