“Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.” Isaiah 41:10, 13
In the Garden, Adam and Eve had no fear. No fear of the animals, no fear of the weather, no fear about where the next meal would come from, and no fear in walking and talking with their Creator. But once sin entered, fear was one of their first responses. Hence, they hid. God knows that fear is now a part of our makeup.
We fear the future and the past, responsibility and accountability, the unknown and the known, giving love and receiving love, crowds and loneliness, etc. These fears are the things that keep us stewing and fretting. They keep us awake at night and make us grumpy in the day.
This verse in Isaiah is not the first or only time the Lord God instructs his people to not fear. There are 365 verses in God’s Word telling us not to fear. The wonderful thing is that His instruction is not empty; it is backed up by His power and His ability to be our courage. He will strengthen us. He will help us. He will uphold us. All of our fears are simply fears. The only power they have is what we give them. When we step out from our hiding place and truly believe that God has everything in control, fear has to flee.
Are you plagued by fear? Do you tremble at the thought of another day? Do you live with that fearful dread that something will go wrong? Why not just place those fears before the Lord? Come out of your hiding place and let Him be your courage.
“As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, he saith unto the ruler of the synagogue, Be not afraid, only believe.” Mark 5:36
Jairus, the ruler of the synagogue, has just had the terrible news that his daughter is dead. He had stepped out on a limb to ask Jesus to come and heal his daughter, but time was up. Hope was gone. He was even told to just not trouble Jesus any further. But the Lord of Life had a different response. “Be not afraid, only believe.”
Tiegreen makes this observation, “There are at least two things Jesus would have us learn from this verse: (1) Negative reports are not the final analysis of a horrible situation; and (2) fear is at war against our faith. When all hell breaks loose against us – and it quite literally does, sometimes – Jesus would have us ignore its ultimate weapon. Do NOT believe its reports. The enemy – and the death he wields against us - will devastate us if we let them. But we have a choice. We can fear, or we can believe. We can’t do both. We have to pick one.”
Jesus went straight on to the house, and though the people laughed at him, he knew the power he wielded – the power of life. He took Jairus and his wife into the room and showed that power as he called the girl back to life.
Jairus chose to believe and he saw the miracle. That is not to say that choosing to believe will bring about a miracle every time. But it does say that believing is the better choice. Believing shows that we trust the Lord. Fear reveals the opposite.
The enemy loves to bring bad news. He loves to try to shake our foundations. However, foundations that are deeply rooted in the love of Christ and believe in His Word will not yield long to fear. The wind may blow and the rain may come crashing in, but the calmness of our Saviour will steady our hearts to face any storm.
Remember: “…we have a choice. We can fear, or we can believe. We can’t do both. We have to pick one.” I choose to believe. How about you?
“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear; because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.” I John 4:18
Here the use of the word fear is more than just being afraid, it is terror. Try reading it like this: There is no terror in love; but real love chases terror away because terror is tormenting or punishing. He that is fearful or alarmed will struggle with love.
Or: We need have no fear of someone who loves us perfectly; perfect love eliminates all dread of what might be done unto us. If we are afraid, it is for fear of what someone might do to us and shows that we are not fully convinced of his or her love.
Movies have been made about women, and men, who live lives in fear of what their spouse or partner will do to them. Though told they are loved, this love is expressed in harshness and keeps them in terror. Sadly, these movies are often based on real stories.
A life of fear is a life of bondage. Hebrews 2:15 confirms this: “And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” This is exactly why Christ came – to deliver us from fear and bondage and destroy the devil.
There is a better way of life. There is a way out of fear. It is that perfect love mentioned in I John. God is love and we can love Him because He first loved us.
If you are living a life of bondage and fear or in a relationship that is characterized by fear, bring it to Christ and ask for deliverance. If you are using fear or terror to keep someone in bondage, know that there is a better way. Real love doesn’t have to be forced. God’s perfect love for you can meet your need and teach you how to love without threatening and torment.
“And he said unto them, I am an Hebrew; and I fear the Lord, the God of heaven, which hath made the sea and they dry land.” Jonah 1:9
What a contradiction! Here is Jonah, caught out by the casting of lots, and all fingers are pointing to him as being the source of the problem. These poor mariners already know that he is running from the presence of the Lord, and yet Jonah has the audacity to tell them that he fears the Lord.
From reading the story it would seem the mariners were more fearful of the Lord than Jonah. Jonah seems to think he can outsmart God or outrun him. The mariners have no such thoughts. They know the hand of God is upon their lives and this prophet’s actions are placing them in danger. They also respect the fact that Jonah is a man of God, and as such, they are not ready to cast him into the sea. But, after trying again to bring the boat to land, they cast themselves upon the mercy of God and chuck Jonah overboard.
Then the sea ceases from her raging and the men “feared the Lord exceedingly”. But Jonah? No. He takes three more days in the belly of the whale before he is ready to admit defeat and yield.
We are quick to condemn Jonah and it is easy for us to see the foolishness of his actions, but we are not quick to condemn ourselves when we make empty boasts of our spirituality. Nor is it easy for us to see the foolish consequences of our actions as we try to make life work without a submissive and healthy fear of the Lord.
There are few things as distasteful as a carnal and hypocritical Christian, especially one who isn’t afraid to boast of their disobedience. Are you in that boat?
“…let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.” Hebrews 12:28
I like this phrase, “serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear”. I am rather old school in so many ways. I still believe that people should be respectful in the house of God, modestly attired and self-controlled and show respect to the man of God. I believe we should lay aside our own agenda’s and conform to God’s Word instead of trying to see just how closely we can live with the world and still feel like Christians. I believe many times what we know to be acceptable in the sight of God is a far cry from what we are allowing in our lives. I believe God’s standard is higher and we are failing.
Throughout the Bible we read that people showed reverence to God and to the things that represented His person and presence. Here in Hebrews the term “godly fear” means submissive reverence. It is a reverence that yields to a higher power. God expects our reverence and submission, and he deserves it. He is God.
However, we live in an age that strives to make everyone equal, including God. Showing reverence, and especially submissive reverence, is seen as silly and unnecessary. That is because humanism pervades even our attitudes toward worship and obedience. We so often fail to hold God with high enough esteem and our lives prove it. We are not afraid with a godly fear. We are rebellious and self-willed. We do not want to submit. We want to have our way.
Yet, if we are to serve him acceptably, there must be reverence (an awe filled respect) and godly fear (submissive reverence). There is no room for our own agenda and rebellious attitude. If we read verse 29 of Hebrews 12 we can see why – “For our God is a consuming fire.” He is not to be trifled with, He is to be respected and reverenced.
What about you? Do you still believe God is worthy of your reverence and respect? Do you live what you believe? Or, do you find yourself allowing things in your life that you know would not be pleasing to the Lord? Are you living a life you consider acceptable to God? Would God and His Word agree with you?