“I removed the burden from their shoulders; their hands were set free from the basket.” ~Psalm 81:6
After years of living peacefully in Egypt, a new pharaoh allowed the Israelites to be enslaved because of his fear they would rise up and take over. They had never threatened to, never tried to. But because of his fear, he sentenced them to work as brick makers for his many building projects. The above verse is in reference to their slavery.
After God freed them and Moses was leading them to the Promised Land, the journey got hard and they feared what was going to happen to them. They even longed for the slavery they just escaped, “If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.” ~Exodus 16:3
Fear is a human emotion, not one God will ever use. Over and over in His scriptures, He tells us to have no fear and do not fear. Fear is not a good motivator and our smart Lord knows that! We fear change, we fear the future, we fear the consequences of our actions, we fear what people say and think of us, we fear missed opportunities….I could go on and on. Because of this fear, we do nothing. Or we do what we feel is safe.
What if we gave our fear over to God? Hand Him our big basket of worry and fear?
“When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul.” ~Psalm 94:19
“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.” ~2 Timothy 1:7
“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.” ~Psalm 91:1
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” ~Joshua 1:9
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” ~ Isaiah 41:10
Those are some pretty great promises. I want those promises!
But how? How do I put down my basket so I can open my hands to receive all the goodness God promises?
- Pray without ceasing. That doesn’t mean babble on all day about nothing. Washing dishes and someone comes to mind- pray for them. Hear an awful news story- pray for those involved. Something great happens- say thank you to the Lord. Feeling bothered by what you’re trying to give up- tell God. Over and over, tell Him. “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all situations.” ~ 1 Thess. 5:16
- Read your Bible. Read your Bible. Read your Bible. I can’t stress it enough: READ YOUR BIBLE. Meet your Savior on those pages. Learn from the mistakes of those whose lives are captured there. The Bible is full of imperfect people who have struggled just like us. “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting an training in righteousness. so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” ~2 Tim. 3:16-17
- Memorize scripture. No doubt there will be times that Satan will creep in and start messing with your mind. If you’re spending more time with God, Satan doesn’t like it and he’s going to do anything in his power to stop you. If you have verses memorized, you can rebuke him with God’s words. Jesus himself used this tactic when Satan was trying to tempt Him. “Jesus answered, “It is written ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ ” Matt. 4:4
- Turn the radio. There is no hard and fast rule that says you must only listen to Christian music. However, if you’re in the middle of a difficult time, this is another place you can find encouragement. I enjoy country music but there are seasons that my dial doesn’t turn from K-Love because the words of the songs and Bible verses they read on air really help my heart and mind. “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.” ~Col. 3:16 “I will praise you with the harp for your faithfulness, O my God; I will sing praise to you with the lyre, O Holy One of Israel. My lips will shout for joy when I sing praise to you- I, whom you have redeemed.” ~Psalm 71:22-23
- Ask a trusted friend to pray for you. Swallow your pride and ask for help. I know it’s hard telling someone what you’re struggling with. However, God did not make us to suffer alone. He gave us other beautiful Christians to do life with. “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” ~James 5:16
Immerse yourself in the goodness of our Lord and He will take that basket from you.