Job 3:25, 26
For the thing which I greatly feared is come on me, and that which I was afraid of is come to me.…
Job complained that he was not foolishly confident in his prosperity, and so courting a reverse of fortune by pride and presumption. On the contrary, he was anticipating the possibility of evil and walking in fear. His action, as it appears in the opening verses of the book, shows us a man of an anxious temperament (Job 1:5). He thinks it hard that trouble should come to him who had feared it. This may be unreasonable in Job; but it is quite natural, and not at all inexplicable. Inconsistent as it may seem, our very anticipation of evil is unconsciously taken as a sort of insurance against it. Because we are prepared to expect it we somehow come to think that we should not receive it. Our humility, foresight, and apprehension are unconsciously treated as making up a sort of compensation which shall buy off the impending evil. When they turn out to be nothing of the kind we are sadly disappointed.
I. OUR WORST FEARS MAY BE REALIZED.
1. On earth. Anxious people are not ipso facto saved from trouble. The world does contain great evils. The ills of life are not confined to the imagination of the despondent. They are seen in plain prosaic facts.
2. After death. The fear of death will not save from death, nor will the fear of hell save from hell. A person may have very dark views of his impending fate, and, if he deserves it, he may find that it is quite equal to his fears. Nothing can be more disastrous than the notion that the expectation of future punishment is only the dream of a scared conscience. "Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap" is a great fundamental law of nature.
II. THE RIGHT WAY TO DISPEL FEARS IS TO REMOVE THEIR GROUNDS. To soothe fears without touching the facts which justify them is the height of folly. The facts remain, however much we may be hoodwinked into disregarding them. Salvation is not to be got by means of any manipulation of the sinner's fears. Sin is the fundamental cause of all ruin, and the justification of men's worst fears. The one necessity is to remove the sin; then the fears will vanish of their own accord. The sickening letters from condemned criminals, who are quite sure that they are going straight from the gallows to heaven, although they give no sign of genuine penitence for sin, reveal a very unwholesome style of religious instruction. Surely the chief business of a Christian teacher is not to lull the fears of an alarmed conscience, and induce a condition of placid resignation. Hypnotism would do this more effectively; but to be hypnotized into placidity is not to be saved. If, however, men learn to confess their sins, and to loathe themselves on account of those sins, then indeed the gospel of Christ assures perfect redemption for all who turn to him in faith. When this is the soul's experience fear may be banished. Trouble, indeed, may come. But it is useless to anticipate it. It is better to take our Lord's advice, and "be not anxious for the morrow." - W.F.A.
Parallel VersesKJV: For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me.