Are We Living in Fear?
In the post-9/11 era, many Americans are becoming even more fearful with the recent shootings and bombing. What does the Bible say about our fears?
The recent bomb blasts in Boston have shown how vulnerable we are to those who want to inflict harm. In spite of the heightened security at the Boston Marathon, a premeditated act of violence killed three and injured over 170 innocent people—not to mention the psychological scars left on many more.
Yes, many are afraid. Some are terrified.
Some call this a “new normal” and say Americans will just have to adjust their lives to accept terrorism and mass violence in the post-9/11 era.
Why? Must we just accept violence, or can it be stopped?
Why is fear of violent acts increasing?
A generation ago such mass violence in America was virtually unheard of. Terrorism happened in other countries, but not in America.
It seems violent acts like these started with the first World Trade Center bombing 20 years ago in 1993. Shortly afterwards came the Oklahoma City bombing on April 19, 1995.
School shootings first got our attention with Columbine 14 years ago on April 20, 1999. Just earlier this month 14 students were stabbed at a Texas college.
A lot of Americans now fear for their lives. Many are purchasing guns out of fear. Fear is consuming America.
And incredibly, God said such times would happen to us—and become worse!
“Your life shall hang in doubt before you; you shall fear day and night, and have no assurance of life … because of the fear which terrifies your heart, and because of the sight which your eyes see” (Deuteronomy 28:66-67).
These verses come from the passage of Scripture commonly referred to as the “blessings and cursings” chapters. Here God told the ancient and modern descendants of Israel (which includes America) the consequences of keeping or rejecting His laws.
These two verses are part of the curses for rejecting God and His commandments.
Yes, Americans are becoming more fearful of the violence they are witnessing because they are rejecting God!
Only God can protect us
Many Americans believe stricter gun control will prevent violent crimes. Yet gun control would not have prevented the recent bombing in Boston. Gun control would not have stopped the stabbings at the Texas campus. And gun control would not have prevented the tragedy of 9/11.
But God could have.
In the same section of Scripture, God explains that one of the blessings He offers is divine protection.
“The LORD will cause your enemies who rise against you to be defeated before your face. … Then all the peoples of the earth shall see that you are called by the name of the LORD, and they shall be afraid of you” (Deuteronomy 28:7, 10).
But many Americans don’t want God involved in their lives until tragedy comes. Do they expect God to save them from the consequences of living contrary to His ways?
“Behold the LORD’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; nor His ear heavy, that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear” (Isaiah 59:1-2).
Our lifestyles have shown that we don’t want or think we need God, and He has simply obliged. So instead of others being afraid of us, we are afraid of them.
And God says that our fears will grow worse without Him.
“Those who hate you shall reign over you, and you shall flee when no one pursues you. … The sound of a shaken leaf shall cause them to flee; they shall flee as though fleeing from a sword, and they shall fall when no one pursues” (Leviticus 26:17, 36).
Things are going to get so bad for those who reject God, that they will become afraid of everything and everybody!
Who should we fear?
The Bible talks about our society today. “Their feet are swift to shed blood. Destruction and misery are in their ways. And the way of peace they have not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes” (Romans 3:15-18, emphasis added).
God is the One whom we should have a healthy fear of. Even He says, “On this one will I look: on him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, and who trembles at My word” (Isaiah 66:2).
What is God’s Word? It is His Holy Bible, which includes the way of life outlined in the 10 Commandments.
These commandments can teach us how to live and how to love both God and our fellow man. God’s Word teaches us the way to peace—the way that removes all fear (1 John 4:18).
Our fear of God should be a deep respect and reverence toward God and His laws—something many are lacking today.
The only lasting way to remove the fear of violence is to have the fear of God. This proper fear of God brings peace of mind. As the psalmist said, “Great peace have those who love Your law” (Psalm 119:165).
In light of all the continuing tragedies today, it would do us all good to heed these words written so long ago: “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter. Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all” (Ecclesiastes 12:13).
Read more in the section on “Where Is America in Prophecy?”