Over the last several weeks, the phrases “Fear not” & “Don’t be afraid,” have really jumped out at me during my Bible reading. Most of the time, God is speaking them as a command to a person/people to whom He has promised a blessing, redemption, &/or a assurance of His favor.
God says it to Abraham in the context of His promise to give him not only a son, but as many descendants as there are stars in the sky (Genesis 15:1). He says it to Jacob when He tells him to go to Egypt so God can make Israel a great nation (Genesis 46:3). God says it to the nation of Israel when they were under attack from Egyptians who were trying to re-enslave them (Exodus 14:13). He says it to Joshua when He challenges him to be strong & courageous as he leads the nation of Israel to the Promised Land (Joshua 11:6). In the New Testament, Jesus tells the parents of a 12 year old girl that had just died, “Don’t be afraid. Just believe.” (Mark 5:35-43). I could go on, because this command about not fearing is EVERYWHERE in Scripture.
Why do you think that is?
My take is this: Upon hearing of God’s promises, His goodness, His blessings, & His care for us, our first inclination is to look around at our circumstances, our challenges, our own resources (or lack thereof.) & the enemies we’re facing… & when we just can’t see it in, we fall into fear.
Abraham was 100, but God promised him He would give him a son. Don’t be afraid.
Jacob & his family were only 80 people in total, & God was sending them to live in the most powerful nation on earth… & that in this place He would grow Israel into a mighty nation. Don’t be afraid.
The people of Israel stood defenseless, the Red Sea on one side, a fierce army of Egyptians on the other. God promised to fight for them. Don’t be afraid. God tasked Joshua & the Israelites with claiming the Promised Land, the land of 10 foot tall (& bigger) giants… saying He would be their fortress & deliverer. Don’t be afraid.
The little girl’s parents had just watched their child die. Jesus promised they would see her alive again. Don’t be afraid.
What I’m dwelling on is this: when God gives me a promise, my response will be to receive it, by faith. It’s not to look around at how IMPOSSIBLE it would be for God’s promise to come about. It’s not to revisit how inadequate I am in my own strength. It’s not to quiver in fear at what could be my impending doom. It is to believe. To declare in faith, “Yes, I’ll take it.” To resist the temptation to fear & to doubt God at His word.
Fear not. Don’t be afraid. The LORD God is with you!