The Berean Expositor
Volume 52 - Page 33 of 207
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pp. 30 - 32
"In the fear of the Lord is strong confidence" (Prov. 14: 26).
Some people by nature are shy, timid, reserved and perhaps apprehensive. Others are
strong characters and have self confidence.  Those who are timid need words of
encouragement, while those who are self assured need to consider the basis of their
confidence, remembering that it is easy for a strong character to become proud.
In the O.T. references to the faint hearted indicate that they are of little use when the
enemy must be faced:
"And the officers shall speak further unto the people, and they shall say, What man is
there that is fearful and fainthearted? Let him go and return unto his house, lest his
brethren's heart faint as well as his heart" (Deut. 20: 8).
Gideon was appointed by God to deliver Israel but his army was too large, lest Israel
should say "Mine own hand saved me". So Gideon told those who were fearful and
afraid to return home, and twenty-two thousand left the field, leaving ten thousand. But
God said that even these were too many (Judges 7: 1-7).
When Joshua was appointed to lead Israel, the Lord spoke words of encouragement:--
"Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid,
neither be thou dismayed; for the Lord thy God is with thee withersoever thou goest"
(Josh. 1: 9).
Paul wrote to Timothy "Fight the good fight of faith" (I Tim. 6: 12) and he urged him
to be strong:
"Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus" (II Tim. 2: 1).
Israel had to fight their enemies, but we are engaged in a different kind of warfare. It
is a spiritual conflict. For us, we have to run the race that is set out before us. We need
confidence; we need strength, but not a confidence that arises from self esteem. Our
source of strength must be found through Christ:
"and such trust have we through Christ to God-ward: not that we are sufficient of
ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves;  but our sufficiency is of God"
There are two references in Proverbs to confidence:--
"For the Lord shall be thy confidence . . . . ." (Prov. 3: 26).
"The fear of the Lord is strong confidence . . . . ." (Prov. 14: 26).
But there is also a word of warning:--