“Do not call conspiracy everything this people calls a conspiracy; do not fear what they fear, and do not dread it. The Lord Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy, he is the one you are to fear, he is the one you are to dread" (Isaiah 8:12-13).
However, that isn't to ignore the reality of conspiracies that the wicked unfold against God and His people of purpose:
How great is the goodness you have stored up for those who fear you. You lavish it on those who come to you for protection, blessing them before the watching world. You hide them in the shelter of your presence, safe from those who conspire against them. You shelter them in your presence, far from accusing tongues (Psalm 31:19-20 NLT, emphasis added).
As we bring this series to a close on how to live the abundant life, let's look at what it means to fear the Lord and take refuge in Him.
There's a network of spiritual evil whose commander is an entity called Satan or the devil. He isn't omnipresent or omniscient, but he has a lot of henchmen who do his bidding and he's a spiritual albeit fallen being. When people say, "The devil is after me," that's probably not true. He's a master strategist so he picks his targets to personally oppose those who present the greatest threat to his kingdom. Therefore, you have to earn being personally opposed by him; usually one of his lieutenants is sufficient to handle the job.
David was just such a worthy target for the master of evil as we read in 1 Chronicles 21:1: "Satan rose up against Israel and incited David to take a census of Israel." We won't examine that incident in detail, just suffice it to say that Satan caused a lot of harm in that story and many people lost their lives. He is a formidable opponent who is smarter, more spiritual, and more ruthless than any other force in the universe (except God, of course, and He's not ruthless).
Jesus warned us to have a healthy fear for God, not the devil: “Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell" (Matthew 10:28 NLT). Our job is to spread the good news, not fake news. Jesus' warning came in the context of Him sending out His twelve disciples to minister according to their purpose to which He had appointed them. They found out as they went what it meant that God is their refuge and we need to follow in their footsteps.
When Jesus warned us to fear God and not the devil, He was talking about when we go out on assignment from Him. We should expect opposition from the kingdom of darkness when we do, but He also said, "But take heart! I have overcome the world" (John 16:33). John expanded on this thought later in his letter, "You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world" (1 John 4:4).
So let's summarize. There are viable conspiracies against the righteous, but much of what is being termed conspiracies today falls under the category of "foolish and stupid arguments" (2 Timothy 2:23). Paul said you are to refuse to participate in such things. You can expect opposition, however, not when you are sitting in church, but when you leave church to carry out your purpose. It's then that God promises He will protect, shield, and even hide you from those who are looking to hinder or ruin you.
Therefore, this week's PowerPoint for Living is,
When you live the abundant life, you can expect supernatural opposition but also supernatural help, but only when you step out to do God's will. Then God will lavish on you "protection, blessing [you] before the watching world." Therefore, your only fear should be a healthy fear of God that compels you to be all you can be, otherwise you are missing His plan for your life.
Have you made yourself significant enough to be a threat to the kingdom of darkness? Do you have the proper fear of God that motivates you to make the most of the opportunities He has given you to go wherever He sends you? When you encounter opposition, do you see it as the conspiracy it is to try and sidetrack you from bearing fruit for God's kingdom? If you want to secure God's protection, you won't find it by playing it safe, but rather by taking bold action that will bless others and glorify God. As you do, have a blessed week!