Don't Be Afraid
This is the Sabbath that we spend some time thinking about the safety of ourselves and our church. Safety has taken on a whole new format as of late.
Safety can mean as many different things to the number of people that you would ask that question to.
In the Bible, the idea of safety comes from 4 different words. שָׁלוֹם šā·lôm מִשְׁמֶ֫רֶת miš·měʹ·rěṯ and יֵ֫שַׁע yēʹ·šǎ and σωτηρία sōtēria;ʿ. Salom meaning peace; has to do with prosperity, success, welfare, the state of health , deliverance and salvation. You see it in verses like
“It is all right,” the Lord replied. “Do not be afraid. You will not die.” And Gideon built an altar to the Lord there and named it Yahweh-Shalom (which means “the Lord is peace”). The altar remains in Ophrah in the land of the clan of Abiezer to this day.
At last Jonathan said to David, “Go in peace, for we have sworn loyalty to each other in the Lord’s name. The Lord is the witness of a bond between us and our children forever.” Then David left, and Jonathan returned to the town.
1 Sam 20:42
So I will not send the promised disaster until after you have died and been buried in peace. You yourself will not see the disaster I am going to bring on this city and its people.’ ” So they took her message back to the king.
2 chron 34:28
Mismeret meaning guard: obligation, what is to held in trust, service, duty. Verses like
And the Lord said to Moses: “Place Aaron’s staff permanently before the Ark of the Covenant to serve as a warning to rebels. This should put an end to their complaints against me and prevent any further deaths.”
Yesa means happiness: help, deliverance, salvation.
Their children are abandoned far from help; they are crushed in court with no one to defend them.
The Lord replies, “I have seen violence done to the helpless, and I have heard the groans of the poor. Now I will rise up to rescue them, as they have longed for me to do.”
Soteria means deliverance, salvation or preservation in greek.
You will tell his people how to find salvation through forgiveness of their sins.
There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.”
But let us who live in the light be clearheaded, protected by the armor of faith and love, and wearing as our helmet the confidence of our salvation.
It’s interesting that if you spend time looking at these words and their context, you’ll find that sa-lom and mis-me-ret are only found in the OT. I know they are Hebrew words, but by in large all of the verses have to do with personal needs and what there responsibilities or obligations were either to God or there fellow man. If they followed through then they would receive the security that they were carving. They never got a grasp of he big picture.
The king of Aram had decided that he was going to bring Israel under his control. He had waged war on Israel and it was going well. Every time he would confer with his officers about an ambush on that ridge or the pass to this valley, Elisha, the man of God, would warn the king of Israel, “Don’t go near that ridge or this valley. The Arameans are planning on mobilizing there troops there.” Every time the Aram king made a decision, the king of Israel knew about it before he could implement it. This happened so many times that he called all of his officers and demanded to know who the traitor was.
“It’s not us, my lord the king,” one of the officers replied. “Elisha, the prophet in Israel, tells the king of Israel even the words you speak in the privacy of your bedroom!”
The king demanded that this Elisha be found so he could put a stop to this once and for all. The report came back that Elisha was in Dothan. So out went the army, a big one complete with chariots and horse to surround city under the cover of darkness.
Now put yourself in the place of Elisha’s servant. He gets up in the morning and goes outside to get the day started. He looks out over the wall expecting to see nothing new. He stops, rubs his eyes and he looks again. It can’t be. But it is. Theres soldiers there and there and there, all around the city. He forgets what he was going to do and runs to find Elisha. He almost unintelligibly explains to Elisha what he just saw outside. I imagine Elisha has been sitting there waiting for him to return with a sort half smile on his face. After the servant gets done freaking out, Elisha tells him one of my favorite quotes in the Bible.
“Don’t be afraid!” Elisha told him. “For there are more on our side than on theirs!” Then Elisha prayed, “O Lord, open his eyes and let him see!” The Lord opened the young man’s eyes, and when he looked up, he saw that the hillside around Elisha was filled with horses and chariots of fire.
2 Kings 6:
Elisha had learned through his time spent with God, what Israel never did learn. “There are more on our side than theirs. “ Go to 2 Kings and read the rest of the story. The last part is as good as the first part.
By the time we get to the NT, the word Soteria comes into play. God’s people are finally ready to go beyond just physical needs and safety. They are now ready for salvation. They still want safety and all that goes along with that, but they can now understand the concept of being saved. Salvation encompasses safety and so much more. There are 46 verses where this word is used. It includes the concepts of Savior, rescue, being saved, deliverance going to be saved.
There is so much more to be explored in thought of salvation. To me, salvation means to not be condemned to be a resident of this sin sickened world only. My home is somewhere beyond here. Safety and salvation are synonymous. Salvation comes by?
You have been taught the holy Scriptures from childhood, and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus.
So I am willing to endure anything if it will bring salvation and eternal glory in Christ Jesus to those God has chosen.
As we think about our churches safety and how we keep ourselves safe today, lets not forget Who gives us the freedom to have a life no one can take away. Safe in the arms of Jesus.