IL 11/18/22: Fear

IL 11/18/22: Fear

(Audio transcription below)

 Fear is a very complex human emotion: 

It can be Practical….See a copperhead snake & decide to back up 

It can be Paralyzing: Overpowered by stress or anxiety and we can’t get out of bed. 

What I want us to consider this morning are the common fears which cause us to get stuck from moving forward in a healthy manner, in a way which we know we should go. 


Indiana Jones – Leap of Faith 

Treasure Indiana is searching for the Holy Grail (Cup Jesus used at Last Supper). The Father is dying and the cup is supposed to have miraculous powers….so Indiana follows some written instructions on how to find the Holy Grail. He follows them completely, but then the last step requires – A Leap of Faith. He must overcome his fears. Indiana has instructions and must learn to trust them even when he can’t see the how it will turn out….Leap of Faith (or) Overcoming Fear. 

“Any kind of authentic calling usually takes us to a place where we have serious objections of some sort, places where we feel fear. We feel inadequate. Following our authentic calling will require us to confront our own willfulness and our preconceived ideas about how we thought our life would go. At some point – we think what God is asking us to do is downright impossible or where we just don’t want to take the risk.” – Barton

Exodus 3:11-4:17 is the “point for Moses where He thinks God is asking for the impossible & he just doesn’t want to take the risk.” 

Recall How God has Designed the World: Partnership 

  • The First Partnership: Adam – Genesis 2 – ” The Lord God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it.” 
  • Moses: (vs. 7-8) – God has come down to deliver! Go for it – God! 
  • Moses: (vs.10) – I will send YOU!

Every Partnership with God – Every authentic calling: marriage, fatherhood, starting a business, teaching, serving, selling, producing, (any cultivating or keeping task) or taking a stand for truth, speaking up, breaking a toxic family chain… whatever it is – It will be a call to become something that you are not at this point. It will be something beyond what you can envision – beyond your current abilities.For Moses it would be to become a leader who could deliver people out of bondage. Because it was a call beyond his current ability or vision, the call created fear- nearly paralyzing fear 

You can tell how afraid Moses is because he uses every excuse: 

  • 3:11 – “Who am I…” & 4:10 – “I am not a good speaker…” 
    • Moses’ first reaction to God’s call….was to look at himself! NOTE: Seems a bit odd for Moses to say he is not a good speaker….because he is doing a pretty good job arguing with God! 
    • Fear of Failure: The task is too big….I can kill one soldier at a time but I can’t take on an entire Army. So in a very interesting manner God re-focuses Moses attention onto God….3 signs!
      • Stick/Staff: turns it into a serpent: God can take the ordinary and make it into something it’s not….Like You Moses! 
      • Hand to Leprosy and Restore: God can restore things incurable and condemned….Like you and Israelites….Moses 
      • Water from Nile into Blood: Nile was the source of wealth, security and power for Eygpt….God is in control of places and people you believe to have Power….God is more Powerful! 


  • 4:1 – “But Behold – They won’t believe me…”
    •  “Behold”... You have to laugh….Moses was attempting to point out something God must have missed! – “God, behold….I see something you don’t!” Moses has greater confidence in what he sees than what God sees 
    • Fear of Man: Pharaoh & Israelites won’t believe Moses
      • Proverbs 29:25 – “The fear of man lays a snare”. Hebrew: “Snare” – means: Hook in your Nose Such a Vivid Picture: If you fear man…you will be dragged around your whole life by a hook in your nose… dragged around by the constantly shifting opinions of others – it won’t take much for you to shift. O – don’t live like this! 

Christian Counselor Ed Welch has a great book titled: When People are Big and God is Small – “When we see people as bigger, more powerful & significant, than God…that fear causes us to give other people the power to tell us what to feel, think, & do” 

Do you see what is happening here with Moses: People are big (Pharoah & Israelites) and God is small….so Moses concedes power to them….he is dragged around by a hook in his nose! 

  • 4:13 Desperation “Oh my God – please send someone else” 
    • I just don’t want to take the risk. I have a relatively stable life (shepherding, marriage, children)-I live in a desert with few conflicts….I just don’t want to get involved with the mess of going back to Egypt!
    • Fear of Hardship: I have become comfortable in the desert….no big leadership challenges out here – it’s easy. Plus I have a family now and I would have to bring them into the battle.

**I have noticed this as a growing trend among young men – (not everyone) but some shy away from hardship. The vision they have for themselves and their lifestyle is not one that includes hardship! Meaningful work is hard- meaningful marriage, fatherhood, loving your neighbor & meaningful partnership with God will at some point be hard. 

Leadership writer – Patrick Lencioni says this: “If you were searching for leaders to change the world, what qualities would you look for? Courage and intelligence would certainly be prime candidates. Charisma might make the list. Yet, as important as these characteristics may be, I would rank two others ahead of them, the two qualities I’m thinking of are: Humility and Pain Tolerance. “

Lessons Learned: 

  1. Run to God with your Fears:
    • Philippians 4:6-7 – “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
    • Quote: “Every opportunity to fear is also an opportunity to trust God.”
    • Point: Running to God with your Fears is part of trusting God!
  2. Reminders of God’s previous faithfulness – Moses Staff
    • Moses Staff (vs. 17 – Take the Staff with You)! … replacing your fears with faith. God builds Moses’ faith over time. He doesn’t start with parting the Red Sea, God starts with a stick! (Building a Muscle) See Exodus 14:12-14 – “FEAR NOT”…..God had built Moses Trust Muscle over time.
  3. Reach-out to others for strength. Don’t face your fears alone: God sees Moses will need personal re-enforcement so He sends Aaron.
    • The Bible is full of examples of our need for companionship – especially in hard times. NOTE: Jesus in the Garden – The second Moses preparing to deliver people from slavery (Sin/Cross) – asked for companions, angels attended him.
  4. Realize that God is WITH YOU! “I am with you! – Fear the Lord
    • NOTICE: God’s answer to each one of Moses fears – “I am with you” – Moses, I am with you, when my voice matters more than every other voice (Yours, Israelites, Pharoah). Therefore, no matter what you face, you will be okay.
    • The Fear of the Lord is when his voice is bigger than every other voice.
      • Quote from Pastor/Writer – Erwin McManus (What do you Think) – “Whatever you fear establishes the boundaries of your freedom. (Afraid of heights – you stay low. Afraid of people – you stay alone. Afraid of outdoors – you stay indoors) so…whatever you fear establishes the boundaries of your freedom. This is why the scriptures talk about “fearing the Lord”. Why would fearing God be such a positive thing? Answer: Because God is the only one, if you fear him, who will not use that fear to limit you. His perfect love casts out all fear. When God is your only fear, then you become free of the dominating power of fear and are free to love and move forward.”
    • Point: God being with you…God’s voice being louder than all other voices…fearing God breaks the power of all other fear. Important: Moses and especially those in any Spiritual Leadership position: (including fathers) – What qualifies you to be a spiritual leader is the fact that you have first met with God and that God’s voice is the biggest Voice in your life….not because you are gifted in some other way.
  5. Required: Leap of Faith – All the “R’s” are helpful….yet at some point in your partnership with God, in order to fulfill your authentic calling, it will require a Leap of Faith- a step out when you can’t be sure where the bottom will be.
    • Moses turned and lifted up his hands against the Red Sea. Jesus turned and lifted his hands to the Cross….God rescued both!


1. Can you recall a time where you were nearly paralyzed by Fear? 

2. Fear of Failure – Fear of Man – Fear of Hardship: Which one do you battle against most often? 

3. Run, Reminders, & Reach-out: What’s most helpful for you as you face your fears? 

4. Realize God is with you! – Discuss the Erwin McManus quote

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