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Vol. XX No. 6
6 November 2022

NEEDLESS FEARS (I)

C H Spurgeon

“I, even I, am he that comforteth you: who art thou, that thou shouldest be afraid of a man that shall die, and of the son of man which shall be made as grass; And forgettest the LORD thy maker, that hath stretched forth the heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth; and hast feared continually every daybecause of the fury of the oppressor, as if he were ready to destroy? and where is the fury of the oppressor?” (Isa 51:12–13).

The life that is to come is infinitely more important than the life that now is, and I hope that in our inmost hearts, we reckon that the things that are seen and temporal are mere trifles compared with the things which are not seen and eternal, yet it often happens that the less important matters have a greater influence over us than those which are far more important, simply because the things of earth are so much nearer to us.

Heaven is infinitely more to be desired than any joy of earth, yet it seems far off, and hence these fleeting joys may give us greater present comfort. The wrath of God is far more to be dreaded than the anger of man, yet sometimes a frown or a rebuke from a fellow creature will have more effect upon our minds than the thought of the anger of God. This is because the one appears to be remote, while, being in this body, we are so near to the other.

Now, beloved, it will sometimes happen that a matter which is scarcely worthy of the thought of an immortal spirit, will fret and worry us from day to day. There is some oppressor, as the text puts it, whom we dread and fear continually, yet we forget the almighty God who is on our side, who is stronger than all the oppressors who have ever lived, and who has all people and all things under His control. The reason why we act thus is because we think of God as if He were far off, while we can see the oppressor with our eyes, and we can hear with our ears his threatening words.

I want at this time, to be the means in the hands of God of turning the thoughts of His people away from the distress of the present to the joy and comfort which, though more remote, ought to still be more powerful over the mind and heart because of the real intrinsic greatness.

Imaginary Fears

And first, I want to speak upon this point—that many fears, which are entertained by good men and women, are really groundless. “Thou hast feared continually every day because of the fury of the oppressor, as if he were ready to destroy, and where is the fury of the oppressor?” The probable meaning of this verse is that the oppressor never came, so that they never did feel the force of his fury, and in like manner, many of God’s people are constantly under apprehensions of calamities which will never occur to them, they suffer far more in merely dreading them than they would have to endure if they actually came upon them.

In their imagination, there are rivers in their way, and they are anxious to know how they shall wade through them, or swim across them. There are no such rivers in existence, but they are agitated and distressed about them. Our old proverb says, “Don’t cross the bridge till you come to it,” but these timid people are continually crossing bridges that only exist in their foolish fancies. They stab themselves with imaginary daggers, they starve themselves in imaginary famines, and even bury themselves in imaginary graves. Our groundless fears are our chief tormentors. It is a pity that any who are taught of God, and who have had faith in Christ given to them, should fall into so guilty, and at the same time, so painful a habit as this of fearing the oppressor who does not come, and who never will come.

Fear of the Oppressor

Some are much troubled by the fear of man. That is exactly the case mentioned in our text, “the fury of the oppressor.” He was a very oppressive man, hard, unfeeling, proud, strong, exacting, and they were afraid of him. In addition to this, he must have been a person of impetuous temper, one with whom you could not reason, and so passionate that they were not merely afraid of the oppressor, but of “the fury of the oppressor.” He is the kind of person whom you do not know how to meet or how to escape from him. If you flee from him, he will pursue you in his fury. If you remain quiet, your patience will not make him quiet, and if you resist him, his fury will be so much the greater. That appears to have been the character of the oppressor feared by those with whom the Lord was at that time reasoning, and we have known believers who have been afraid of what such and such a powerful man might do if they acted as their conscience told them they ought to act. He would turn them out of their farm, or they could lose his business from their shop.

But after all, is there not a great deal more thought of this matter than there is any need to be, for “where is the fury of the oppressor?” Go on, and the giant that stands in your way may turn out to be only a shadow, or if he really is a giant, God will help you to fight against him, and make you more than a conqueror.

Well, I know that the devil can blow very hard, but I do not believe that he can blow out the candle that God lights, much less can he blow out the sun of the Gospel which has burned on now for over eighteen hundred years. Blow away, devil, as hard as you can, but you will never be able to blow out this light, but it will still shine on to the end of time. You may blow away a cloud or two which obscure the light, but the light itself will be as bright as ever.

Fear of Doctrinal Error

It may be that in the place where you live there has come up a new doctrinal error. But you and I need not fear, beloved, because of any of these things, what is there after all, to cause us to tremble for the ark of God? Just nothing at all. Never let any member of this church get whining in this way, and saying that the gospel will die. The heavens and the earth will pass away, but the Word of the Lord shall endure forever, that which the Lord has declared in this blessed Book of His shall stand fast throughout eternity.

Fear of Losing Salvation

Another fear which sometimes comes over truly godly people is that, perhaps after all, they shall fall from grace and perish. There may come a temptation which will find out their weak point and overthrow them. The vessel has sailed well hitherto, though not without many tossings and perils, but perhaps it will strike upon a rock, and be utterly broken in pieces. They know how weak and frail they are, and how many temptations surround them, how treacherous and cunning the devil is, how potent is the world with its many allurements. David feared that he would perish one day by the hand of Saul. I know this fear, who among us has not felt it?

Yet, dear friends, there is really nothing in it to trouble the true child of God. If our religion be a religion of our own getting or making, it will perish, and the sooner it goes, the better, but if our religion be a matter of God’s giving, we know that He never takes back what He gives, and that if He has commenced to work in us by His grace, He will never leave it unfinished. Were the covenant founded upon works, it would fail, if it depended upon ourselves, it would surely break down, but if it be the “everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, and sure,” it cannot fail. If the promise is the promise of God who cannot lie, He will surely keep it unto the end. We ought not, therefore, to be burdened with this anxiety, but simply go on in the path of daily watchfulness and humble dependence upon the preserving power of the Lord Jesus Christ, and so we shall find that we shall get safely to heaven after all.

Fear of Poverty

We have known some too, who have been afflicted with fear of want. One says, “The giant of poverty will surely seize me! I have not enough laid by to furnish me with a sufficient maintenance.” I have known others say, “If I were to be out of work, if such and such a thing were to happen, if so-and-so were to die, what would I do?” Ah! If you have trusted Jesus to be the Savior of your immortal spirit, can you not also trust Him to be the Provider for this poor flesh of the things which perish? God feeds the ravens, will He not feed you? When one door shuts, another opens, and if one well goes dry, the water bubbles up somewhere else. The means may change, but the God of the means changes not. He will supply your needs. Stand in your proper place, do your duty, obey His will, and He will not fail you, but bring you safely to the place where fears shall never come to you any more.

Fear of Death

Another fear is the fear of death. Some even among God’s people hardly dare think of dying. It is a dreary necessity with them that they must die, and they fret and trouble about it quite needlessly, but beloved, if we had perfect peace with God, we should not fear dying. If my Lord and Master shall choose to let me live till He comes, and so prevent my death, His will be done, but the Spirit saith, “Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord,” so let us be content with that blessedness.

If there are pains, as there often are, they are not the pains of dying, but of living. Death ends all their pains. They shut their eyes on earth, and open them in heaven, there to wait till the trumpet of the resurrection shall sound, and they shall put on their bodies once again, transformed and glorified like to the body of their Lord.

Get rid of that fear of death, beloved, for it is not becoming in a Christian. The believer’s heart should be so stayed upon the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the resurrection and the life. that he should leave himself in his Heavenly Father’s hands to live or die, or to wait till the Lord shall come, just as the Lord shall please.

House Blessing at Deborah & Judith’s, October 24th, Psalm 115

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