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Seeds of the Kingdom

Turning the Tables Upside down

by Bernard Kariuki

11 November 2015

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Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves.
Matthew 21:12, NIV

Have you ever been in a position where you’re beating yourself up, because you had a chance, God had created a moment, you had an opportunity, and you let it go down the drain for fear of man? Or have you ever been in deep sorrow and full of regrets about why you allowed something to happen, or why you gave in, though you felt it wasn’t right? Because of the fear of letting your friends down, you went with the flow.

This is always the aftermath of decisions made as a result of fear of man. I remember my wife and I were relaxing on a park bench, when a young man came and sat opposite to us and sat there puffing out the smoke of a cigarette, as if there were no worries in his life.

I felt God prompting me in my heart to go and share about faith in God with him. I tried to rubbish the thought, but it was like a protected document that can’t be deleted. I told my wife and she just gave me a shy smile, suggesting it was up to me. I had turmoil of conflicts inside me. I didn’t enjoy my view or sitting on the bench anymore. Everything within me became uncomfortable, but I kept on telling myself I would go after the next puff.

Finally I got up the confidence to go, but just as I was about to make the move he walked away. I had delayed and missed the moment. I’d been afraid of how he would react. Fear of man left me dejected.

The fear of man hindered the Israelites’ army from seeing things through the eyes of the Lord. In God’s eyes they weren’t just an army, but the army of the living God. They saw themselves through the eyes of fear of man and allowed Goliath to defy them.

Fear of God gives us courage, boldness and confidence. Have you ever done something through the fear of God and wondered “whew! Where did I get the guts to do that?” David, the youngest of them all, and who wasn’t even in the army, killed Goliath. ‘Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?’ (1 Samuel 17:26).

Fear of man can stop us from confronting ungodliness, or even taking a step of faith. It was fear of man that led Aaron to authorise the making of a golden calf. How many calves have we allowed to be erected simply because of fear of man? How many times have we turned a blind eye?

Fear of man can bring insecurity, intimidation, condemnation, and guilt for not having a godly reaction. It also creates a distorted image of who we are in the Lord. Moses, with the holy fear of the Lord, destroyed the calf.

How many calves are we ignoring or cowering from destroying, because of the fear of man?
Are there calves in our personal life because of our fear of rejection? Are there calves in our families, friends, church, or nation? Action always starts with someone, an ‘Esther’, someone born ‘for such a time as this’.

Prayer: Jesus, You turned tables upside down when they turned Your house into a market place. Lord, give me the same boldness, confidence and courage to turn tables upside down for Your kingdom's sake. Forgive me for the times I’ve held back because of the fear of man. Amen.

Bernard Kariuki is from Kenya, and married to Yulia from Russia. They met in Ellel Ministries and served together for many years at both Ellel Scotland and Ellel Grange. Bernard has the desire to share the Word of God with young people, for he desires to see young people walking in holy fear of the Lord.


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