“Do not be afraid, you who are highly esteemed,” he said. “Peace! Be strong now; be strong.” When he spoke to me, I was strengthened and said, “Speak, my lord, since you have given me strength.” Daniel 10:19 NIV
Our Mayor of Tuscaloosa shared the gravity of our times with his executive order on Thursday night during a live press conference. “Beginning Sunday night, the City of Tuscaloosa will move to a 24 hour curfew until April 11th, to slow the trend of the COVID19 virus. All nonessential businesses will be closed.” He continued, “this is a yellow light warning, if people do not adhere to the safety recommendations, we will move to a red light action.” I felt a gut check.
In chapter 10 of the book of Daniel, he has a vision that is so disturbing that is sucks the life out of him. After 21 days of praying an angelic messenger approaches him. Fear and weakness impacted him so severely that he became speechless. The messenger touched his lips and Daniel could speak, but he was still fearful and weak. The messenger then spoke to Daniel. The words gave Daniel strength.
Words have the power of death. Dwelling on some words or images can make you feel paralyzed and/or in a daze. Hearing about the death of a loved one has this type of impact. Learning about an accident or terminal illness of a friend can cause feelings of anger, disbelief, denial, or hopelessness. Dealing with the daily news of more deaths and the worldwide spread of the COVID19 crisis can produce similar reactions of fear.
Words have the power of life. What the messenger said of Daniel is true for all of God’s children.
Do not be afraid
Fear can be felt for a moment, but it is not the pervading sentiment that characterizes a child of God. We may pass through a neighborhood of fear, but that’s not a follower of God’s home, keep on walking. God holds us in the palm of His hand. Under the shadow of His wings, He allows us to sleep in peace. When you are fearful, keep moving toward God and His word.
You are highly esteemed or precious
Not by our own works of righteousness, but by the grace of Jesus, we are made precious in His sight. How great a love the Father has lavished upon us, that we should be called the children of God, and that is what you are (1 John 3:1). Say that phrase (you are highly precious) again and think of the Father saying that toward and about you. You can’t earn that status, it is freely bestowed by Jesus to those who love Him. God the Father loves you!
This is the Hebrew word Shalom. It meaning is far more than the emotional feeling of rest and calmness although it includes this also. Shalom is goodness and wellbeing of the whole of life for a person. This would include the emotional, physical, social, mental, relational, and financial scope of a person’s life. Can you take a moment to receive God’s peace over each of those spheres represented in your life?
Be Strong now. Be strong!
The same Hebrew word for strength is used 4 times in this verse. The messenger speaks it twice and Daniel acknowledges the strengthening and responds in faith by the strengthening. The messenger had to say it to Daniel twice. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t feel changed the moment you start to receive God’s peace and strength by faith. Repetition of God’s promises is good. Speak God’s word over your life repeatedly so that your mind comes into agreement with what you are speaking. Allow your understanding and experience to move underneath the authority of God’s truth. What He says about you is true for eternity.
Remember the man who said to Jesus, “I believe, help my unbelief.” Repetition is not a lack of faith. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. Speak God’s word aloud. Let your ears hear what you are saying. Let your spirit believe the words that you are speaking.
Keep the whole message in context. Not “I can do all things”. Rather, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.”
There will be many words spoken during the crisis that will make you think of despair and gloom. Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33. In this world of shifting thoughts and emotions, find your anchor again and again in Jesus and the Word of God. Be strengthened today. Do not be afraid.
Blessing Love y’all.