Thursday, June 11, 2009

Fear Not

After a pre-baptism session here at church last night I biked out to the St. John's Catholic Education Center. Over 200 kids plus adults are getting together each evening this week for Vacation Bible School. (Thanks to the VBS photographer I've got lots more pictures to share... let me know and I'll get you a CD. The dates on the photos are incorrect.)
  • On Monday the kids learned the story of Moses at the burning bush. God's people (the Israelites) were suffering and God sent Moses to lead them from slavery to the freedom of the promised land. Moses was afraid. So God said, "I will be with you" (Exodus 3:12). At VBS, each time the leader said "God is with us," the children would shout "Fear Not!"

  • Tuesday evening they learned about the ten plagues. The Egyptian slave-owners refused to obey God, so God sent terrible calamities--including death. It's good to know that God does not ignore sin and evil. "I will show you," said God, "that I am the Lord" (Exodus 7:17). The VBS leader said "God is powerful" and the kids shouted "Fear Not!"
  • Last night the story was of the passover, the wonderful foreshadowing of what God was going to do in the future. The Israelite slaves were not innocent participants in the story of the Exodus. Everyone falls short of God's glory and is under the wrath of God. But, God provides pours out is wrath, not on us, but instead, takes the punishment on himself when Jesus suffers and dies on the cross. In the passover, an innocent animal was sacrificed and the blood sprinkled on the doorposts of the Israelite homes so the last plague, death would not come to them. "God always keeps his promises" (Psalm 145:136). God does what he says he will do! Fear Not.

  • Tonight's scripture leaps ahead to what the passover foreshadowed, the death and resurrection of Jesus! Because Jesus died in our place, and because he rose again, we have good reason to "Fear Not!" He promises to give us life too, even though we do not deserve it.

  • On the last evening (tomorrow) of VBS the kids will hear how the Israelites passed through the Red Sea. Even though we have great and precious promises from God, we are still tempted to be afraid. But, God says "Don't be afraid" (Exodus 14:13)! The VBS leader will say "God cares for us!" and the kids will echo "Fear Not!"
When we say "fear not" we're not saying that there is no punishment for sin and the evil things we do. Instead, God has provided a way (Jesus Christ) for the final punishment to be taken away. When we trust Jesus as our Savior, we can live without fear.

That's why we get together for VBS, and for church each week - to help one another trust our Lord.

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