How often do we see the phrase ‘fear not’ in the Bible? Every time an angel appears, and many more times. So, how does a person learn to live fearlessly, especially when so many around seem to be living in fear?
Abe: God told Abe to ‘fear not’ (Genesis 15:1) when He came to give Abe the promise of a lifetime, a covenant that would affect the whole world. It would take a full out commitment by Abe and his family, but according to God’s reassurance, Abe could trust God to come through.
Joe: Joseph told his brothers to ‘fear not’ (Genesis 50:19) when they came before him in Egypt to beg for food. Joe recognized that God alone was to be feared, and that the lives of his brothers, even retribution for their mistakes, was up to God.
Moses: The leader of Israel reassured the nation to ‘fear not’ (Exodus 14:13) as they approached the impossible situation at the Red Sea, with Egypt’s army behind them. God was in control and was in charge of getting the nation of Israel into freedom and delivered to the promised land.
Job reminds us that “Is not your fear of God your confidence, and the integrity of your ways your hope?” (Job 4:6, 5:22) The key is living within the will of God. When you are under His ‘wings’ of protection, then you have nothing to fear ... no thing, no person, no circumstance. David and his son Solomon remind us in Psalms and Proverbs that ‘The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.’ (Psalm 111:10; Proverbs 1:7) Therefore, the only one we should ever fear is the God of Creation. The Hebrew word for fear in all of these cases is translated as both reverence and dread. Reverence and honour come when we trust our Heavenly Father and seek to do His will. Dread comes when we leave that shelter of trust and seek to do our own will. Just like with a good father, we must look up to and trust our Heavenly Father ... even more so since He has proven Himself to be the most trustworthy and faithful.
In the New Testament, Jesus Christ reminds us that we should “not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matthew 10:28) Paul even reassures the Roman church that “you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’” He is our loving Daddy, and wants to care for us! He is also the great and awesome God of Creation. What an exciting combination!!!
So, are you living in the will of God, which includes submission to all authorities He has placed over you? Then you have nothing to fear. No person or circumstance can do anything to you that will cause lasting damage unless you let them. Your soul belongs to God and you will live forever with Him if you have submitted fully to Him. So what if someone harms you with words or actions? So what if a disease or virus harms your body? We should never seek these things out, but we should also not fear them as they cannot change your relationship with God, which is the most important thing in your life. Remember, life is a right relationship with your God ... and nothing nor no-one can take that away from you.
Let us live fearlessly and give our neighbours something to think about as they see our lives of peace and confidence, even in the storm of COVID.