Facing Your Fears

 Text: Exodus 14:8-10

Introduction: Is it not strange that we fear most that which never happened? In fearing we destroy our initiative by the fear of defeat, when in reality defeat is a most useful tonic and should be accepted as such. Our great enemy is fear of failure.

Some years ago, Basil King wrote a book called, "The Conquest of Fear." In the preface of the book he wrote these words: "When I say that during my life I have been prey to fear, I take it that I am expressing the case for most people. I cannot remember the time when a dread of one kind of another was not in the air. In childhood, it was the fear of going to bed. Later, it was the fear of school. Still later, the experience in the morning of waking with the feeling of dismay at the amount of work to be done before night. In one form or another, fear dogs everyone of us: the mother afraid for her children; the father afraid for his business; the clerk afraid for his/her job; hardly a man that is not afraid that some other man will do him a bad turn, hardly a woman who is not afraid that what she craves will be denied her or that what she loves will be snatched away. I am ready to guess that all the miseries brought on by sin and sickness put together would not equal those we bring on by means which we do least to counteract..."

Anything worth while involves a risk. Living by faith requires risk. You can't live without taking risks. How do you deal with those kinds of fears that come up when you are taking a risk? We can get some insight from this well known story  found in Exodus 14: 8-10. 

This story is told of the Israelites crossing of the Red Sea. Five days earlier, Pharaoh had told Moses and the children of Israel that they could leave Egypt so they took off on the exodus.

Five day later they camped in a cul de sac. In this place there are mountains on both sides, there's the Red Sea in front of them. The only way they can leave that cul de sac is to go back the way they came. And just about that time  they see Pharaoh coming with his chariots because Pharaoh had changed his mind.

Exodus 14:10-11, As Pharaoh and his army approached, the people of Israel could see them in the distance marching toward them. The people began to panic, and they cried out to the Lord to help."  Then they turned against  Moses and complained, "Why did you bring us out here to die in the wilderness?......Why did you make us leave?"

There was extreme fear and panic in the camp. 

From the Israelite's experience we learn what to do when we are surrounded by an impossible situation.

Refuse fear. There are four ways fear can effect us:

  1. Fear makes us skeptical (v.11a). Fear will cause us to doubt. We ridicule what we are afraid of.

  2. Fear makes us selfish (v.11b). Fear causes us to focus only on ourselves.

  3. Fear makes us stubborn (v.12a). An attitude produced because of fear is "Leave us alone."

  4. Fear makes us short-sighted (v.12b). Fear causes us to want to live in the past. The Israelites wanted to go back to Egypt.

What are you hanging on to because of fear? When you face a fearful situation, you have three options; surrender, fight, or trust God.

Where you turn in time of trouble indicates who and what you really trust. Corrie Ten Boom said, "There is no panic in heaven, only plans." Remember, situations that are out of your control are firmly in God's grasp. The favorite phrase of people when they are afraid is, "We've never done this before.

How do you take risks in faith? The Israelites did three things. There are three things that you can do when you need to make a faith step or when you need to take a risk, when you need to move forward. The story in Exodus gives us ways we can face our fears and take the risk of faith. 

Renew Your Faith. 
 The first step of renewal - Let go ---"Do not be afraid" (v.13a). How do you let go of fear? There is only one way. Recognize that God is in control.

 The second step of renewing your faith - Look up - "stand still and see" (vs.13-14). Fear causes a person to want to run, but faith stands and looks to God. When you look-up you will loosen-up. 

Step three, launch out - "tell the people to move on" (v.15).

Remember that faith is not passive, it is active. Faith is an action. The action in faith is moving, stepping out, launching out and forging ahead.

Get Rid of Fear. The secret of eliminating fear in your life is to move against fear. "Raise the staff and stretch out your hands over the sea to divide the water so that the Israelites can go through the sea" (v. 16). God is saying to Moses (paraphrase) Move on! Get going. Take the risk. Step out and watch your fear vanish before your eyes. Watch the waters part as you walk through on dry land. Face your fears.

God usually takes you through your problem not around it. If He took you around it, it wouldn't require as much faith.

Are you facing a personal Red Sea today? If so, rejoice! God can do something significant in your life . If you have no problems, then you have no miracles. If you have no problems, then there is no need for faith in your life.





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