Fear (not?)

Fear is something every human has to face, and it all started with one man:

And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.”

This first instance of fear illustrates what fear is: the emotion that grips us when we know something awful is looming ahead. It may be certain or only a possibility, but the impact on our soul is the same. It may cause us to feel frozen or to run in terror, but the power of fear can overwhelm all of us.

Adam may have been the first person to feel fear, but he certainly wasn’t the last. The first pages of the Bible are littered with fear of every kind and shape. In Genesis 18:15 Sarah is afraid that a stray comment she says to two visitors might show her foolish. In Genesis 19:30 Lot, who had just been personally rescued by the angels of God from utter destruction, is so afraid of strangers that he decides to live alone in a cave. In Genesis 20:8 the men of Abimelech are afraid of God’s judgment. In Genesis 26:7 Issac lies because he is afraid that the men of Gerar might kill him. Jacob, on the other hand, seems to live his whole life in fear: he is afraid of God in Genesis 28, afraid of Laban in Genesis 31, afraid of Esau is Genesis 32, and afraid of the ruler of Egypt, who we know turns out to be his lost son Joseph, in Genesis 42.

But all is not fear in Genesis. There is another voice to be heard. A single voice which keeps speaking out against fear, and bringing comfort to the hearts of men. It is the voice of God.

In Genesis 15:1 Abram is living in a strange and hostile land, and God tells him, “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.” In Genesis 19:30 Hagar is in the desert about to see her son die from thirst, and God directs an angel to say, “Fear not, for God has heard the voice of the boy where he is… I will make him into a great nation.” In Genesis 26:24 Issac is afraid of a hostile army and God proclaims, “I am the God of Abraham your father. Fear not, for I am with you and will bless you and multiply your offspring for my servant Abraham’s sake.” And God reassures fearful Jacob at the end of his days by saying, “I am God, the God of your father. Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for there I will make you into a great nation.” (Genesis 46:3)

God and only God was able to say, “Fear not…” to all of these people, because only God has infinite knowledge to know the future, infinite power to change the future, and infinite love to craft the future so that His children are preserved. From Abram to Israel, these men & women of old were able to trust what God said because they knew who God was.

What about you? What are you afraid of? Where in your life do you need to hear God say, “Fear not?” You may not have the experience of verbally hearing God like Abraham & Issac, but you have the same God, the God Who has revealed Himself in the pages of Scripture as worthy of your trust. Trust His goodness, trust His character for any & every fear in your life today.

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