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Just dropping by ... Collective faith vs. collective fear

Yevet Tenney for Progressive Dairy Published on 30 October 2020

I cannot help but wonder as I watch the news and listen to modern soothsayers make predictions concerning the future of this pandemic.

“It is only going to get worse,” they say. “We must brace ourselves for the second wave,” they say. “Everyone must be vaccinated in order to control this virus,” they say. “Schools, churches and businesses must remain closed despite the economic disaster it will create.” According to the future-tellers, inevitably, “We will all succumb to this terrible, debilitating disease before the end of the year. There is no hope for us.” I am puzzled because many more people survive with no side effects than those who die from it. Yet we are daily spread an icy meal of doom and gloom. Fear! Fear! Fear!

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Fear is the opposite of faith. If faith is the power miracles are made of, then fear must be the power disaster is made of.

Earlier in the year, I wrote an article that speaks to the power of fear and faith. The quote from Andrew Carnegie bears repeating:

“Everyone comes to the earth blessed with the privilege of controlling his mind power and directing it towards whatever ends he may choose.”

“But,” he continued, “everyone brings over with him at birth the equivalent of two sealed envelopes, one of which is clearly labeled, ‘The riches you may enjoy if you take possession of your own mind and direct it to ends of your own choice.’ And, the other is labeled, ‘The penalties you must pay if you neglect to take possession your mind and direct it.’

“And now, let me reveal to you the contents of those two sealed envelopes. In the one labeled riches is this list of blessings: [i.e., power of faith]

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  1. Sound health
  2. Peace of mind
  3. A labour of love of your own choice
  4. Freedom from fear and worry
  5. A positive mental attitude
  6. Material riches of your own choice and quantity

“In the sealed envelope labeled penalties,” Mr. Carnegie continued, “is this list of the prices one must pay for neglecting to take possession of his own mind: [i.e., power of fear]

  1. Ill health

  2. Fear and worry

  3. Indecision and doubt

  4. Frustration and discouragement throughout life

  5. Poverty and want

  6. And, a whole flock of evils consisting of envy, greed, jealousy, anger, hatred and superstition.”

If Carnegie is right, what we think about or believe changes everything. Faith and fear are opposite, but both have equal power to create circumstances in our lives. If these powers can shape an individual’s circumstances, think what collective belief in either direction could do for a nation. Collective belief in fear or faith relies on the power of synergy.

According to the dictionary, synergy is “the interaction or cooperation of two or more organizations, substances or other agents to produce a combined effect greater than the sum of their separate effects.” In other words, the faith or fear of a group of people has greater power than one person’s belief.

I think of the children of Israel, who traveled in the wilderness with Moses. They saw miracle after miracle. They were fed daily with manna; quails miraculously appeared when they longed for meat. Water gushed from the rock when Moses petitioned the Lord for water. That is not even mentioning the miracles they witnessed before leaving Egypt: flies, frogs, water into blood, the destroying angel passing them by. They even walked across the Red Sea on dry ground and watched the Red Sea swallow the Egyptian army. How could they have doubted? Simple, they succumbed to bad news about the promised land.

When the children of Israel were near Canaan, Moses sent 12 spies into the land to check it out. When they returned, only two of the 12 spoke of a land of plenty flowing with milk and honey. The rest of the spies told of the dangers, the walled cities and the giants in the land. The Bible says, “And all the congregation lifted up their voice and cried; and the people wept the night” wishing they had “died in the land of Egypt” (Numbers 14:1-2 KJV). The soothsayers painted a picture of fear that destroyed any hope of entering the promised land. Forty years they wandered in the wilderness, because they allowed collective fear to keep them from receiving the promised blessings of the Lord.

It was not until the entire generation of fear mongers were buried in the wilderness that their children were able to enter the promised land. These children walked across the Jordan on dry ground and watched the giants in the land fall at the hand of the Lord. The walls of Jericho fell at His command.

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It is interesting that Joshua’s men marched around the city for six days, and no one came out to challenge them. It is evident that collective fear had overtaken the inhabitants of Jericho. The people in the city of Jericho were paralyzed by fear. They sat in their houses surrounded by the armies of the Israelites. They had heard tales of how the Lord had dried up the River Jordan for the Israelites, and they were coming. Instead of taking action to protect themselves, they sat watching and cowering while the armies marched around for six days.

Are we like the city of Jericho? Are we sitting in our houses, wearing our masks, listening to the impending doom? We fear the pandemic will destroy our economy, our rights and our Christian traditions. We collectively fear the coming calamity, but we don’t know what to do, so we sit and wait for the impending disaster. We expect the worst and sadly, if Carnegie is right, that is what we will get.

We must turn our thoughts to faith in our God. Get on our knees and fast and pray together. Not just once or twice a day alone in our homes; we need to stand up in the public square and voice our opinions, gently but firmly. We must let God know we are committed to fight the battle His way. We are the sleeping Jericho. Wake up!

When Joshua became the leader, he turned to the Lord and received answers. All the people who grew up in Egypt died in the wilderness. Joshua was dealing with a different generation. He was dealing with men and women who had been fed manna by the Lord their entire lives, not in a welfare-like dependency but in a faith-promoting gratitude. They had been taught to seek the word of the Lord through the prophet, and they were committed to follow him. This new generation who came out of the wilderness made a covenant with the Lord to follow Him in all things. They abandoned the old traditions of the Egyptians and turned their lives to God.

An angel came to Joshua: “And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand: and Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, Art thou for us, or for our adversaries?”

The angel said, “Nay; but as captain of the host of the Lord am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my lord unto his servant?” (Joshua 5:13-14 KJV)

It is interesting to note that the angel had a sword in his hand when he came to Joshua. The Lord has His armies that will help us fight our battles. The Lord is not a God of war, but He will protect His children if they call on Him. He will answer our individual and collective prayers. We will see miracles.

The angel gave Joshua specific directions on how to conquer Jericho. To follow the instructions would have taken collective faith and complete commitment from every soldier in the ranks. The angel told Joshua to march once a day around the city for six days in profound silence; then, on the seventh day, they were to march around the city, and, at the sound of the trumpet, “all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city shall fall down flat” (Joshua 6:5 KJV). It happened just as God said, because the army obeyed in collective unison.

The Lord was with the Israelites, as He will be with us, but we must let Him know we want His help and have collective faith that He can and will be our benefactor.  end mark

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