Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Perching on Scarecrows

Faith loves to perch on scarecrows. Scarecrows are placed in farms to scare the birds away. Birds avoid the farms where they find a scarecrow, even though the scarecrows only have a very remote resemblance to human beings and are unable to do any harm. The wise birds are wise enough to know that they are just hay for the body, a broken pot for the head and stay where the farmer placed them. They also know that wherever there is a scarecrow there is something to be eaten; nobody places a scarecrow where nothing is grown. Instead of being scared away they love to land on the scarecrows and enjoy the feast. That's the difference between faith and fear.
The psalmist declares that when she is afraid she will trust in God (Psalm 56:3-4). "When I am afraid, I will put my trust in you. In God, I praise his word. In God, I put my trust." However, this faith makes her to challenge the frightening situations, "What can mortals do to me?" (Psalm 56:11 and also Psalm 56:4). Faith in God and fear of human beings are mutually exclusive. Faith does not run away, but would stay and challenge the situation.

Nehemiah had to face difficult situations that his adversaries created to stop the work he was doing. Nothing would deter him from his work. In Nehemiah 6:9-14 we read of an attempt to frighten Nehemiah the man of faith. However, Nehemiah discerned that these are only scarecrows! It was an attempt to humiliate the man of God. He was advised to flee for his life and find shelter in the temple. He refused to act according to their advice. He said, "Should such a man as I flee? and who is there that, being such as I, would go into the temple to save his life? I will not go in" (Nehemiah 6:11). Nehemiah landed on the scarecrow instead of flying away at the sight of it.

Landing on scarecrows is not that easy. First of all one has to be able to tell a scarecrow from a real human, armed watchman! Otherwise landing could be fatal. It requires discernment that comes from faith in God. Nehemiah's courage did not come from his guts but from his faith in God. "I discerned, and, behold, God had not sent him; but he pronounced this prophecy against me: and Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him" (Nehemiah 6:11). This is true in the case of the Psalmist also who said, " When I am afraid, I will put my trust in you. In God, I praise his word. In God, I put my trust" (Psalm 56:3-4).

Frightening situations in various forms prop up in every day life. It could range from discouraging words and intimidation to serious threats. However, no threat can last longer than the one who threatens. Faith looks at them as coming from "mere mortals" and trusts in God who is "immortal". Courage to face frightening situations comes from faith in God whom we should take more seriously than those who create trouble for us. They are only scarecrows; land on them, there must be something around them that you may enjoy.

Burning Bushes

'And the angel of the LORD appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush. He looked, and behold, the bush was burning,...