What Are You Afraid Of? DVD Series by Dr. David Jeremiah compliments the book by the same title. The series is divided into six sessions on two DVDs. Unfortunately, the series does not deal with every subject which is in the book. Since there are six sessions, one suspects that the DVD series was specifically made to help develop a discipleship series in church. Many church goers will not watch a series for longer than two months. Each session is about twenty minutes, which is the ideal time to watch a video.
The sessions which it does cover are very good. These sessions include (1) defeat, (2) depression, (3) disconnection, (4) disease, (5) death, and (6) Deity. Each segment begins and ends with a video of a person who has a certain fear which troubles them. The segment illustrates how they struggle with that fear. In each video, a Satanic figure taunts them with fear. The dialogue in the opening and closing video segments are amateurish at best. However, they set the stage for the teaching which comes from Dr. Jeremiah himself.
Dr. Jeremiah teaches from a biblically sound viewpoint. He uses personal illustrations as well as Biblical passages to help the person watching the video understand the fear and how to overcome it. Many of the same illustrations come from the book of the same name (which also I reviewed). For those who are visual learners the video series does a fine job conveying the same truths from the book.
Personally, I used this video series for a Wednesday night Men’s Bible study. I had the most interaction and discussion during the second session (depression). Session 2 is probably the best one in the series. However, all of the sessions are well-done. I highly recommend this DVD video series for people who want to deal with subjects which we all fear.
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1, HCSB)
People may think of the spirit world as being full of ghouls, goblins, vampires, zombies, demons, and angels. The spirit world is more than just the place of the dead – much more. The physical world is temporal, the spiritual is eternal. The physical world is made of the known senses. The spiritual world is made of things we cannot sense. There is a spiritual heaven and physical “heavens.” The physical heavens are made up of the sky and the known physical universe. The spiritual heaven is the spiritual domain, the place where God lives.
God created the spiritual world. From His spiritual location, called Heaven, God created everything spiritual in form and function. The spiritual functions according to set of different laws. These laws are not limited to the physical world. This explains why sometimes we may think that the spiritual world is so powerful. Unfortunately, we have been misled to think that worshipping the spiritual world and the creatures in it are better than worshipping the God who created that world.
Does God exist in Heaven? Yes. Did a spiritual world exist before the physical world? Yes. God is eternal, and at some point called “the beginning” God created everything spiritual and physical. While scientists can detect the age of the physical world, including the known universe, they are unable to detect the age of the spiritual world, with good reason. As we will see, when we try to get involved in God’s world – the spiritual world – we will deal with laws and powers which we don’t fully understand. We should seek God Who can show us the spirit world, and not seek the spirit world to look for godlike powers.
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan is the second film with the original cast. It is also considered a Trek classic, on which all other films have since been judged. Three major themes run through this film, all of which are timeless: (1) time, (2) revenge, and (3) sacrifice.
In this film, the crew has aged and this issue is addressed throughout.The film uses Kirk’s birthday as a way to talk about time. Spock gives Kirk a copy of Charles Dickens’A Tale of Two Cities (which also hints at the future matched struggle between Kirk and Khan in the film). Later, when Kirk and Dr. McCoy have a conversation about his birthday, the good doctor advises Kirk to “get back his command” before he becomes too old. The contrast between the elder and more experienced crew and the young recruits on the USSEnterprise highlight the effect that time has on a person.
Vengeance is a dish best served cold…and it is very cold in space.
This line defines the enemy in this film, Khan. Khan, a genetically-modified superhuman from the twentieth century has been awoken, and since the time of the “Space Seed” episode has been marooned on a planet. He and his crew were “accidentally” discovered by the USS Reliant. Khan takes over the ship and goes on a quest to destroy Kirk. His main motivation is revenge.
He steals a “Genesis” device (a torpedo that creates “life from lifelessness.”). He uses it in a final battle with Kirk and the USS Enterprise in the holds of killing Kirk. Unfortunately, for Khan, it is a failed attempt because of one man’s sacrifice.
Spock personally intervenes in the final. He realigns the warp core so that the ship can escape in the coming explosion. However, he dies in the attempt. The sacrifice of one person saves the entire crew. Messianic allusions are very evident in this scene. A phrase used throughout the movie (based upon the philosophy of utilitarianism) builds up to this point: “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one.”
The Bible speaks to each of these themes.
GOD AND TIME
God is Eternal. He is timeless. While we age, there will be a time when there will be no more pain, no more tears, and no more aging.
Genesis 21:33, Psalm 90:1-4, Revelation 21:4
GOD AND REVENGE
Vengeance belongs only to God. We are called to live as humble servants. Paybacks are God’s territory.
Deuteronomy 32:35, Romans 12:19
GOD AND SACRIFICE
God also made the ultimate sacrifice of His Son. Jesus died so that you and I may “live long and prosper” to use Spock’s words. The needs of the many (forgiveness of sin) outweigh the needs of the One (Jesus – who came not to be served but to serve and be a ransom for many.)
What Are You Afraid Of? by Dr. David Jeremiah defines it purpose with its subtitle: “Facing Down Your Fears With Faith.” The book is divided into ten chapters, each dealing with a topic which we all fear. Dr. Jeremiah’s love of alliteration comes through in these chapters. Each topic starts with the letter “D.” The topics include: (1) disaster, (2) disease, (3) debt, (4) defeat, (5) disconnection, (6) disapproval, (7) danger, (8) depression, (9) death, and (10) deity.
The topics are well laid out and thoroughly researched. Dr. Jeremiah is very clear in his presentation about how fight our fears in each area with faith.
Dr. Jeremiah summarizes the book in the following way:
Everyone is afraid of something – failure, success, loneliness, crowds, death, life – the list is endless. And no one is immune to fear. Fear haunts the weak and the powerful, the young and the old, the rich and the poor. It is a great equalizer. Some fears…attack us only momentarily, passing almost as quickly as they come. But others…can haunt us for a lifetime,…eventually taking over our lives. Well, fear not! There is hope.
Dr. Jeremiah identifies the greatest fears and then lays out a biblical plan for overcoming each one of them. He also examines one particular fear that be part of our daily lives: the fear of God.
The book is very straightforward to read. It is well-researched, and thoroughly footnoted. This book is a great resource for people who want to conquer their fears. At the same time, it can be a helpful resource to share with others. The book is grounded in the fact that God is a God who can help us overcome our fears. As Dr. Jeremiah states:
If God is good and loving (and He is), and if God is all-powerful (and He is), and if God has a purpose and a plan that includes His children (and He does), and if we are His children (as I hope you are), then there is no reason to fear anything, for God is in control of everything.
If you are afraid of anything, and you need reassurances that God can help you, pick this book up. It will help you.
INTRODUCTION: Have you ever “messed up”? The people of Hosea’s time had “messed up,” but God was calling them back. Notice how God uses the language and imagery of nature to compare to the forgiveness of sin. If they returned, He said, they would be His:
1. Lilies (v. 5).
2. Cedars of Lebanon (v. 5 NIV).
3. Olive Trees (vv. 5–6). Also see Psalm 52:8.
4. Wheat (v. 7). “They shall be revived like grain.”
5. Grapes (v. 7). “They shall . . . grow like a vine. Their scent shall be like the wine of Lebanon.”
6. Cyprus Trees (v. 8).1
The book addresses the way in which people have been unfaithful to God, but also how God has been faithful to us. The Book of Hosea can be divided into two parts: Hosea’s marriage and his message. The events in his marriage are a picture of what God is experiencing with His people. Just as Hosea experienced Gomar’s unfaithfulness, discipline, and restoration, God is also experiencing our unfaithfulness, discipline, and restoration. In Chapter 14, this ultimate restoration occurs and it is because of God’s forgiveness. Incidentally, the parallel the marriage relationship between a husband and wife are used to illustrate God’s relationship to us. So this passage has practical help for marriages which are messed up, as well as relationships with God which are messed up.
Chapters 1-3 – The Illustration of Marriage, Forgiveness, and Faithfulness
Chapters 4-13 – Unfaithfulness, Discipline, and Restoration
Chapter 14 – Ultimate Restoration
TS: God is like the husband waiting for his wife to return to him.
GOD WAITS FOR US TO RETURN TO HIM (14:1-3)
“Israel, return to Yahweh your God, for you have stumbled in your sin.” (Hosea 14:1, HCSB)
God is bringing charges against His people. They have committed unfaithfulness (adultery) with Him. They were called to be His wife and He was to be their husband. Instead, they decided to cheat on God. The people of God departed from God and chased after other gods. He brought three charges against Israel:2
There is no knowledge of God, no steadfast love, and no truth. (6:6)
Israel had no steadfast love for God (11:1-4)
the nation was full of deception and lies (13:1-4)
God wanted them to return to Him.
“Take words of repentance with you and return to the Lord. Say to Him: “Forgive all our sin and accept what is good, so that we may repay You with praise from our lips.” (Hosea 14:2, HCSB)
God wants us to come back to Him. Even though He charges us with sin, He is also capable and willing to forgive our sin.
“Take words” (14:2). God does not ask us to bring gifts or sacrifices. Rather He asks us to bring words when we come to Him. Three kinds of words are identified: words of confession (“forgive all our sins”), words of praise (“the fruit of our lips”), and words of commitment (“we will”). When you and I come to God today, these three kinds of words are still the most important things we can bring to the Lord.3
“Assyria will not save us, we will not ride on horses, and we will no longer proclaim, ‘Our gods!’ to the work of our hands. For the fatherless receives compassion in You.”” (Hosea 14:3, HCSB)
In times of trouble, people trust in different things to get them through. Some trust in government (Assyria), some trust in tools (sometimes the tools are medicine, or physical objects – horses), and others trust in man-made idols.
TS: Because God is waiting, He is forgiving.
GOD IS A FORGIVING GOD (14:4-8)
“I will heal their apostasy; I will freely love them, for My anger will have turned from him.” (Hosea 14:4, HCSB)
Apostasy = unfaithfulness
Only God’s forgiveness, not other things we may trust in, can help us.
GOD’S GIVING FORGIVENESS
God heals our unfaithfulness
God freely loves us
God turns His anger away from us.
These three steps are are also essential for every marriage
A spouse has to heal the other’s unfaithfulness
The unfaithfulness has happened. You can’t change the past. However, you do have the power to heal someone else of their past.
A spouse has to freely love the other
Love is a free gift. I can’t buy it. I can’t bribe someone of it. Love requires that I share it with someone else. My wife has to give her love to me. I have to give my love to my wife. It is a free gift that we should continually give to one another. Love can be denied, but it shouldn’t.
A spouse has to turn anger away from the other
Anger is a natural reaction to another person’s unfaithfulness. God was really upset at His wife’s unfaithfulness. Instead of leaving the relationship, God healed it.
But please do not miss the personal message here: backsliders may return to the Lord, experience His forgiveness (1 John 1:9), and be restored to the place of blessing and usefulness. The closing verses present two ways: the way of the Lord, which is right, and the way of transgressors, which is wrong. Claim v. 4 for yourself and experience the healing of sins forgiven.4
“I will be like the dew to Israel; he will blossom like the lily and take root like the cedars of Lebanon.His new branches will spread, and his splendor will be like the olive tree, his fragrance, like the forest of Lebanon.The people will return and live beneath his shade. They will grow grain and blossom like the vine. His renown will be like the wine of Lebanon.” (Hosea 14:5-7, HCSB)
In these three verses, God shows how He heals forgiveness. He uses the imagery of a tree to illustrate this healing. God provides the water nourishment. Just as water nourishes the tree, God’s forgiveness nourishes our relationships. Just as person would water a parched plant, God waters a parched and hurting relationship. As God restores us, our relationships grow to be healthy.
“Ephraim, why should I have anything more to do with idols? It is I who answer and watch over him. I am like a flourishing pine tree; your fruit comes from Me.” (Hosea 14:8, HCSB)
God fulfilled His promise to restore Israel (and Judah) starting with the decree of Cyrus and under the leadership of Zerubbabel, Ezra, and Nehemiah (cf. the books of Ezra and Nehemiah). As indicated in Hosea 14:8, Israel was once for all cured of her idolatry. Her faith in God may have weakened later on, but idolatry never had the appeal it once had.5
Yahweh is saying that he would have nothing more to do with idols. The implication is that Ephraim should have nothing more to do with idols either. He promised his people that he would care for them, i.e., respond to their needs. He promised to be “a leafy cypress” providing shelter for them. He indeed is the true tree of life on which Israel finds its fruits. “From me is your fruit found.” The fruit which God supplies nourishes the spiritual life of his people.6
TS: Because God was a forgiving husband to his people, we should be a forgiving people toward one another.
GOD WANTS US TO BE A FORGIVING PEOPLE (14:9)
“Let whoever is wise understand these things, and whoever is insightful recognize them. For the ways of the Lord are right, and the righteous walk in them, but the rebellious stumble in them.” (Hosea 14:9, HCSB)
It doesn’t matter who needs forgiveness, we need to give forgiveness. This is a trait, a characteristic, and habit, a pattern which Christians are expected to give to one another. Jesus was asked how often one should give forgiveness, and His response was “every time”. The righteous walk in forgiveness. The rebellious stumble in forgiveness.
Forgiveness is not cheap or easy, but it is available today to those who turn to God through Christ. Jesus has authority to forgive our sins on earth (Luke 5:24). The sick among God’s people can also be prayed for and they can be healed; if sins are involved they will be forgiven (James 5:15). Believers forgiven by God are to imitate God by forgiving those who ask us (Luke 17:3, 4). He forgives our wickedness and purifies us before Himself, although it cost Him His Son (Hebrews 8:12; 1 John 1:9). Forgiveness for us costs very little—except perhaps our pride. For those who humbly turn to God, there is forgiveness.7
1Robert J. Morgan, Nelson’s Annual Preacher’s Sourcebook, 2003 Edition. (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2002), 277.
2Samuel J. Schultz and Gary V. Smith, Exploring the Old Testament (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2001), 158.
3Lawrence O. Richards, The Bible Reader’s Companion, electronic ed. (Wheaton: Victor Books, 1991), 530.
4Warren W. Wiersbe, Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines on the Old Testament (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1993), Ho 11–14.