“Who are you that…have feared continually every day because of the fury of the oppressor, as if he were ready to destroy? And where is the fury of the oppressor?” Isaiah 51:12-13
In their imagination, there are rivers in their way and they are anxious to know how they shall wade through them, or swim across them. There are no such rivers in existence, but they are agitated and distressed about them. Our old proverb says, “Don’t cross the bridge till you come to it,” but these timid people are continually crossing bridges that only exist in their foolish fancies! They stab themselves with imaginary daggers, they starve themselves in imaginary famines and even bury themselves in imaginary graves! Such strange creatures are we that we probably smart more under blows which never fall upon us than we do under those which do actually come!
The rod of God does not smite us as sharply as the rod of our own imagination does–our groundless fears are our chief tormentors and when we are enabled to abolish our self-inflictions, all the indications of the world become light enough. It is a pity, however, that any who are taught of God and who have had faith in Christ given to them, should fall into so guilty and, at the same time, so painful a habit as this of fearing the oppressor who does not come and who never will come!
Spurgeon goes on to say…
Ask the question again, “Where is the fury of the oppressor?” And the answer comes, It is under the control of God. Even Satan, your fiercest foe–God created him, God governs him, God can do with him just as He pleases. Then as to that poverty of which you are afraid, it will not come unless God permits it! And if it does come, the Lord can alleviate it. You are afraid you will lose a very dear child–but you will not lose her unless the Lord takes her. You are fretting because you fear that a special friend of yours will soon be taken away–but he cannot be taken away till the Lord takes him. What are you afraid of? Is it your own death?
Learn to sing good old John Ryland’s verse–
“Plagues and deaths around me fly!
But till He bids I cannot die!
Not a single shaft can hit
Till the God of Love sees fit.”
Then, again, the Lord asks, “Where is the fury of the oppressor?” as if it was so soon gone that one might look in vain for it. Some man oppresses you. Well, he shall die, perhaps soon. The trouble that now frets you will be gone in the how short a time will your trial seem to have lasted! “Our light affliction, which is but for a moment,” says the Apostle, “works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of Glory.” You fret about your trouble and worry yourself continually concerning it, but the text seems to ask you, “Where is it?” It is a meteor that flashes across the sky and is gone! Ask your troubles such questions as these and they will soon vanish.
I will ask you a few more questions. You have fears with regard to a great trouble that threatens you. Well, will it separate you from the love of Christ? If you cannot answer that question, let Paul answer it for you–“I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” You say that your enemies slander you, but will Christ believe them? They are trying to take away your character, but will your Lord think any the less of you? Will HE be deceived by their lies? You say that friends are forsaking you, but will they take Jesus away and make Him forsake you?
(Taken from Charles Spurgeon’s Sermon: NEEDLESS FEARS)
You fret about your trouble
and worry yourself
continually concerning it,
but the text seems to ask you,
“Where is it?”
It is a meteor that flashes
across the sky and is gone!
Ask your troubles such questions
as these and they
will soon vanish.