(Isa 8:13) The Lord of hosts, Him you shall hallow; Let Him be your fear, And let Him be your dread.
Dread. The sense that something bad is going to happen. A dark storm is on the horizon of your life. Your inward barometer says it's going to be a big one. It's that feeling of impending doom and catastrophe. The result is extreme apprehension and reluctance to face the future. So you put things off. You try to bunker down in the bomb shelter because you know the sky is going to fall at any moment. Your mental is on high alert because the floor is going to bottom out without notice. Expect the worst. Prepare for the hearse.
Why do we sometimes dread the future? It could be because things have been so hard in life. Perhaps there was a series of setbacks. When you go through some real rough times, a person can get a little gun-shy. Not just from shooting, but from being shot at. Your emotional and mental state gets a little unhinged. You start forecasting gloom. All the negative verses in the Bible pertain to you. God becomes the antagonist. He is against you in the witness stand. We start thinking, "Since God is behind all things then He allowed all this adversity to begin with!" . . . and . . . "If He loved me He could stop all these problems couldn't He?"
Being under the sinister cloud of dread and doom fosters an ill attitude and state of mind that can also affect a person's health and well-being. (Num 22:3) And Moab was exceedingly afraid of the people because they were many, and Moab was sick with dread because of the children of Israel. Have you ever made yourself sick over dreading something? And there are plenty of people affected by this malady, too. Perhaps we should call them "Dreadheads!" They could tour from city to city as they follow the heavy metal music from that thunderous storm cloud. They could wear their tie-dye shirts because they know they're going to die anytime!
Here's what was going on in Isaiah's day: (Isa 8:11-14) For the Lord spoke thus to me with a strong hand, and instructed me that I should not walk in the way of this people, saying: 12 “Do not say, ‘A conspiracy,’ Concerning all that this people call a conspiracy, Nor be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled. 13 The Lord of hosts, Him you shall hallow; Let Him be your fear, And let Him be your dread. 14 He will be as a sanctuary . . . God's people had fallen into that nasty web of thinking there was a conspiracy against them. But God reminded them that if they were going to dread then they might as well fear and dread the Lord! He would protect them in life and be a sanctuary and a refuge for them.
Sometimes it's good to ask yourself, "What's the worst thing that could happen?" And when you think about it, it wouldn't be so bad anyway. God has an answer for every dilemma and disaster. What if you lost your job? What if you got sick? What if something happened to that loved one? Wouldn't the Lord be there in every misfortune and calamity? Wouldn't He give you everything you need for all you would be called to in life? And now work your way backwards. Maybe He wouldn't allow all or even one of these things to happen. He knows how much you can take. He knows how frail and fragile you are. But in reality you're probably a lot stronger than you think. (Phil 4:13) I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
God wants to reverse that sense of dreading what's out there in the world, to the world and it's environment dreading you and your relationship with God. (Gen 9:2) And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be on every beast of the earth . . . Start looking forward to the future. Expect great things from the Lord. Live aggressively and confidently under the grace and love of Christ. Then watch what God will do!