Fear Not

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Photo by Extranoise

In a recent post, I laid out my thoughts about a phrase woven throughout the pages of scripture…..“and still His Hand is stretched out.”  I want to continue this story using another common phrase in the Bible which I hope will make God’s stretched hand even more rich and meaningful to you.

I don’t know about you, but I like to let the Bible talk for me instead of conjuring up things for it to say.  Perhaps you have noticed the phrase “Fear Not” as you have rummaged through the Bible.  In my previous post, I mentioned that when God stretches out His hand to us, it is sometimes in judgment, but always steadfast in love.  I believe this statement can be verified by studying the path of the fear not’s throughout the entirety of scripture.

There are over 100 verses in the Bible which use this phrase.  That doesn’t even take into account other ones which say do not fear. I want to highlight a few of the best.

We find the first fear not in Genesis 15:1.  God tells Abram not to fear.  He reminds Abram that He alone is Abram’s shield and protection.  Abram questions God’s statement, and in the way that only humans can do, doubts it.  How could God possibly expect him not to fear when he was childless and had no prodigy to become his heir?  God, in compassion and mercy, promised Abram a son and made a covenant with Abram.  A son was born. It was His plan all along.  God is faithful.

In Genesis 26:24 we see that God tells Abram’s son, Isaac, to fear not. God tells Isaac that He is the God of his father, Abraham, and will greatly bless him and multiply his offspring.  God is faithful and did so.

In Genesis 35, God reminds Jacob (the son of Isaac) that He will give the land of Abraham and Isaac to Jacob and his descendants.  God told Isaac’s wife,Rachel, not to fear that she did not have a child and indeed, she gave birth to a son, Benjamin.  God is faithful and did so.

Most of you know the story of Joseph’s indenture in Egypt….how he rose to power from a slave and became a trusted leader of the Pharaoh of Egypt.  Joseph’s very own brothers were responsible for selling him into slavery.  During a later time of intense famine, they traveled to Egypt to acquire food and unknowingly sat at the feet of Joseph now leader and begged for food.  Their very existence was in his hands – a magnificent change of events.  In Genesis 50 we see God’s mercy demonstrated through Joseph as he tells his deceitful brothers, do not fear.  You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good.  So do not fear, I will provide for you. God is both faithful and merciful.

As Moses led the people out of Egypt towards the promised land, he told them not to fear in both Exodus 14 and 20.  God reminded Moses in Number 21:34 not to fear Og, the king of Bashan, because God had already given him into the hand of Moses.  Deut. 1:21 emphasized to the weary travelers, Do not fear or be dismayed.  See, the LORD your God has set the land before you.  Take possession of it, as the LORD, the God of your fathers, has told you.

All throughout Deuteronomy, God reminds the people that He has already given them the promised land.  Deut. 28 reminds them that they must faithfully obey the voice of the LORD and further expounds on God’s promises to His people.  Then God shares the “if you do not’s.”  God does not leave us uninformed of His expectations of us.  Then in Deut. 31:6-8 he says, “Be strong and courageous.  Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you.  He will not leave you or forsake you. God is faithful.

God told these things to Joshua, leader of the Israelites after Moses.  He reminded the people of His faithfulness in Judges 6.  He told Ruth not to fear.  Many, many times He told David, do not fear. God again reminded His people in 1 and 2 Kings not to fear and made a covenant with them in 2 Kings 17:35-38, reminding them not to fear other gods or bow to them.  He told them not to forget about this important covenant.  God is faithful.

During his lengthy time of adversity, Job often tells his friends “I shall not fear. ” Then in Job 38-41, the LORD answers Job in a lengthy, reprimanding soliloquy, reminding Job of everything that God has done for him….reminding Job of His sovereignty.    Job finally realizes just how majestic our God is in Job. 42.  He admits to God that he has uttered things that he does not understand and ……..repents.   In Job 42:7, God reprimands Job’s friends for misleading and inaccurate comments made about Him.  God is faithful.  He does not leave us unaware.

The Psalms are riddled with fear nots….too many to name in this short post.  The LORD told Isaiah multiple times not to fear and Isaiah communicated this to the people often. (Isaiah 7:4, 8:12, 35:4, 40:9, 41:10-14, 43:1-5, 44:2-8, 51:7, 54:4-14, 57:11 and 53:17).  Jeremiah repeated this God-sent message of fear not in 11 verses, emphasizing to them this powerful message in Jeremiah 32:40I will make with them an everlasting covenant, that I will not turn away from doing good to them.  And I will put the fear of me in their hearts, that they may not turn from me. What an extraordinary promise!  God is faithful.

The minor prophets are brimming with fear nots. From Daniel to Zechariah, God sends his immovable message of hope and assurance to His called people, ending with a final fear not in Malachi 3:5.  Even more palatial are the words found in Malachi 3:17-18, “They shall be mine, says the LORD of hosts, in the day when I make up my treasured possession, and I will spare them as a man spares his son who serves him.  Then once more you shall see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between the one who serves God and one who does not serve Him. God is faithful.

Photo by Fedcomite

Photo by Fdecomite

The message does not change in the New Testament.; it becomes even more understandable.  Angels, Jesus and the apostles remind believers to fear not, which now include all people — the people of the New Covenant.  There are so many in the New Testament and this post is getting long, so I’ll close with a couple of very important fear nots from the mouth of Jesus.  In Matthew 10:31 we read, “Fear not, therefore, you are of more value than many sparrows.” God is faithful.

God is faithful. He not only kept his message constant through the day of the Israelite people, He brought others, namely Gentiles, into His fold in the writings of the New Testament.  This was His plan all along — that a Messiah would come and save all who would believe from their sin.  Jesus, declaring that salvation is required to become His, tells a ruler of a synagogue in Mark 5:36, “Do not fear, only believe.”

Fear.  It holds no power of us, does it?  If it does, it is because we have elevated ourselves on the throne and purpose to succomb to our fears.   2 Tim 1:7 tells us that God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and self-control. Can you trust in the faithfulness of God shown over thousands of years to be true and reliable?

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts our fear.  For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. (1 John 4:18Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one.  I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades. (Rev1:17-19)

Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify your name?  For you alone are holy.  All nations will come and worship you, for your righteous acts have been revealed. (Rev. 15:4)

God is faithful.  He has revealed Himself to us, those who have been chosen before the foundation of the world.  May we be perfected in His eternal love.

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