The Scriptorium

Whom to Fear

We must keep our eyes on the Lord. Matthew 10.27-31

Matthew 10: The First Sending (4)

Pray Psalm 31.1-5.
In You, O LORD, I put my trust;
Let me never be ashamed;
Deliver me in Your righteousness.
Bow down Your ear to me,
Deliver me speedily;
Be my rock of refuge,
A fortress of defense to save me.
For You are my rock and my fortress;
Therefore, for Your name’s sake,
Lead me and guide me.
Pull me out of the net which they have secretly laid for me,
For You are my strength.
Into Your hand I commit my spirit;
You have redeemed me, O LORD God of truth.

Sing Psalm 31.1-5.
(Brother James’ Air: The Lord’s My Shepherd, I’ll not Want)
In You, O Lord, I refuge take; let me not come to shame!
In righteousness deliver me, according to Your Name.
Incline Your ear, my prayer to hear, my Fortress strong to save!

For You my Rock and Fortress are; in Your Name lead and guide.
You rescue me from ev’ry net which wicked men might hide.
My Refuge strong, my spirit long in Your hand shall abide.

Matthew 10.1-31; meditate on verses 27-31.

1. Why should we not be afraid of people and what they might do?

2. What are we supposed to do with what we learn from Jesus?

As followers of Christ, we are to be sponges of the goodness and truth of the Lord. But let’s remember that we don’t fill sponges with water merely to see them fat and full. We fill them in order to put them to work in the tight squeezes and hard places of life, using them to scrub off sin and restore things to cleanliness and beauty.

And that’s what we’re supposed to do with whatever we learn from Jesus (v. 27). The things we learn from the Word of God – whether in our private reading and study, or through the preaching and teaching of the Word – are intended to fill us with Jesus. But only so that, our souls having been refreshed and renewed, we might squeeze Jesus into the nooks and crannies of our Personal Mission Field, scrubbing to cleanse and renew the world in His glory.

Of course, it’s true that our scrubbing and seeking to cleanse matters might rub others the wrong way. Some folks like their souls and lives dark and sinful and self-centered. They might respond unkindly to us as we’re proclaiming Jesus and working to glorify Him in all our ways. But we must not fear them, nor what they might do to us (v. 28). We should fear God – that we might not shrink from obeying Him, or soak up all His beauty, goodness, and truth merely for ourselves. God knows how to move His people off that dime, and it isn’t always a pleasant experience (Heb. 12.3-11).

God Who provides for us – even down to the words we need to speak (vv. 19, 20) – will protect and keep us as we carry out our mission from Him (vv. 29-31). So let’s not allow fear to afflict us with spiritual lockjaw. Whatever we’re learning from Jesus, let’s find some way to talk about every day. Our Christian friends will rejoice to hear about Jesus. And the unbelievers? Well, who knows what God might do in their hearts, as we squeeze His sweet grace and truth into their ears?

1. Why is the sponge a good way of thinking about our life as followers of Christ?

2. Why do believers sometimes fear people? How can fearing God overcome that fear?

3. What can you do each day to prepare to share Jesus with someone else, whether a believer or an unbeliever?

The point is not that Jesus was literally whispering into their ears or speaking in physical darkness. Rather, he was here pressing a strong figure of speech. He was conversing with them quietly and alone in a small corner of Palestine. In contrast with this tone of voice, they would soon be preaching with a boldness of speech that would in due time be conferred upon them. The metaphor of whispering in the ear in a dark place, in this present quietness, is contrasted with what is to come. For they were soon to be commissioned to speak not to one or two or three cities but to the whole world.
John Chrysostom (344-407), The Gospel of Matthew, Homily 34.2

Give me something to share today, Lord, and help me to…

Pray Psalm 31.19-24.
Praise the Lord for His abundant goodness, and fix it in your mind to share those blessings with someone today. Praise the Lord in advance for how He will guide, keep, and use you as His witness.

Sing Psalm 31.19-24.
Psalm 31.19-24 (Brother James’ Air: The Lord’s My Shepherd, I’ll not Want)
How great the goodness You reserve for those who fear You, Lord,
Who rest in You and boldly stand before men in Your Word.
You cover them from plots of men; You shelter them, O Lord!

Blessed be the Lord, for He has shown His steadfast love to me!
In my alarm I cried to Him; He heard my fervent plea!
In fear and dread with You I pled; You heard and rescued me!

O love the Lord, all you, His saints!  He keeps us faithfully.
But all who act in sinful pride His wrath shall surely see.
Be strong and let your heart not fret; wait on Him constantly!

T. M. Moore

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from
The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006). All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
Books by T. M. Moore