“Do not call conspiracy all that this people calls conspiracy, and do not fear what they fear, nor be in dread. But the LORD of hosts, him you shall regard as holy. Let him be your fear, and let him be your dread. And he will become a sanctuary and a stone of offense and a rock of stumbling…”- Isaiah 8:12-14
In the midst of great turmoil, tribulation, and suffering, as the LORD judges the unfaithfulness of the nation, he provides a word to his people through the prophet. It is an indication of his mercy and love that he does so. He admonishes them not to fear what the people around them fear; not to be in dread of what the others dread. He does this because he knows the tendencies of his people. Why do we need to hear this? Because we, like them, get caught up so easily in the trouble of the day and are overcome by fear.
There are really only two kinds of fear. There is a kind of fear that looks at the world around it and either fights, flees, or freezes. And then there is the kind of fear that looks beyond the world to the LORD of hosts and finds peace and protection there. Are there legitimate dangers in the world? You bet. Are there enemies at the gate? Is there often some truth to the conspiracies and concerns? Absolutely! Can life be dreadful? Unfortunately, yes it can. We are not to ignore the fear and pretend away the dread. We just need to learn how to fear and dread the right things.
We do not need to fight out of fear. We do not need to flee out of fear. We do not need to be paralyzed by fear. The world is not bigger than us. The danger is not bigger than us. The monsters, shadows, and tyrants are not bigger than us. Yahweh, the LORD of hosts, the great I AM, he alone is bigger. Isaiah says, “…him you shall regard as holy. Let him be your fear, let him be your dread.”
Therefore, if your fear and dread are found in God, and this God is for you and not against you, and this God has promised, “I will be your God and you will be my people,” then how can he not become to you a sanctuary of rest and a rock that stumbles all rivals.