This year opened with conditions in the world at such tension that one is convinced Christ has definitely described these very days in which we live; He predicted, “Upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth” (Luke 21:25-26).
Today, nation competes with nation in accumulating weapons of ruthless destruction. Lawlessness abounds on every hand, and licentiousness prevails in much of the social life of the world. In Christendom, the fundamentals of the faith are denied, and even the testimony of the true Church is tarnished by strife and envy. Furthermore, bitterness mars the fellowship of the saints in places where they otherwise would witness to the oneness of the Body of Christ.
With gloomy forebodings possessing our hearts, how precious are the fear not’s of the Word of God. In tracing these lovely reassuring words repeatedly spoken by the Lord, it was found that they occurred eighty-four times in the Scriptures. May they, and the frequency with which they occur, convey comfort to the hearts of the readers even as they have to the heart of the writer.
The “Fear Not” of Salvation
When the shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flocks by night, saw the angel of the Lord, attended by the glory of the Lord, they were sore afraid. What comfort the message of the angels brought to them! “Fear not: for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:10-11). These good tidings of the Saviour’s birth dispelled not only fear from their hearts, but they now bring peace to every heart that trusts in Him as Saviour. The advent of the Lord Who died to save us removes the fear of the penalty of sin for the believer in Christ; therefore, the fear of future judgment need not harass.
The “Fear Not” of God’s Presence
“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” (Isa. 41:10). Here we have the assurance of God’s presence for each step of the journey homeward. May we be conscious of His companionship for it imparts strength to travel the weary pathway through this desert drear and wild.
We are further assured by this Scripture, of the upholding power of His right hand. The same Lord, many centuries later said to His disciples, “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world (age)” (Matt. 28:20).
When Paul experienced contrary winds during his dangerous voyage over the Mediterranean to Rome, and when the hearts of those who sailed with him were overawed with fear, the God Whom he served stood by him, and said, “Fear not” (Acts 27:24). Those two words changed the whole circumstance, and enabled Paul to speak with a certainty that stilled and calmed the terrified members of the crew as well as the passengers.
How like our experiences! When we, too, are beset by contrary winds of trial and persecution, His “fear not’s” calm our troubled hearts, and His presence provides us with perfect rest.
The “Fear Not” of Provision
“Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows” (Matt. 10:3).
There are two things which bring fear and anxiety to the people of the world: “What shall we eat?” and “Wherewithal shall we be clothed?” These need not worry the Christian, for his heavenly Father knows that he has need of those things (Matt. 6:32). Our blessed Lord constantly taught His hearers lessons from the world of nature. To impress them with the futility of anxiety over the food question, He said, “Behold the fowls of the air.” The very sparrows flitting around were free from the fear of starvation. This should prove to the disciples that the Lord is able to meet their need. He also said, “Ye are of more value than many sparrows.” Moreover, He told them that they did not need to have anxious thoughts as to what they should wear, for He, Who clothed the lilies with a beauty surpassing the glory of Solomon, would certainly clothe His own.
Whatever the need of the future may be, let us rest in His word,” Fear not.” He knows; He loves; He cares; therefore, He will provide for His own. Since we know that our heavenly Father is concerned about those who by faith are His children, let us trust Him for all that is to come.
Remember the supposed conversation between the robin and the sparrow:
“Said the robin to the sparrow,
I would really like to know,
Why those anxious human beings
Rush about and worry so?
“Said the sparrow to the robin,
Friend, I think that it must be
That they have no heavenly Father
Such as cares for you and me.”
The “Fear Not” of Prayer
Daniel was a man of prayer; consequently, the Lord spoke to him, saying, “Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words” (Dan. 10:12).
He and his companions prayed to the Lord for the interpretation of the dream of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and the Lord gave him the answer (Dan. 2:17-19). At a later time, Daniel again prayed although he knew that Darius the king of the Medes had signed a decree that endangered his life. In spite of the fact his life was in jeopardy, “He kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime” (Dan. 6:10).
On another occasion, Daniel sought the Lord as to the meaning of the vision of Beltshazzar, and the answer immediately was given (Dan. 8:15).
In chapter nine verses three and four, Daniel says, “I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes: And I prayed unto the Lord my God.” The result of this deep exercise of heart was a message to him from the Lord which said, “O Daniel, a man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak unto thee, and stand upright: for unto thee am I now sent. And when he had spoken this word unto me, I stood trembling. Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel” (Dan. 10:11-12). This experience of Daniel would indicate the high esteem in which heaven holds men of prayer. Let us face the future problems of our Christian experience by taking everything to God in prayer. Remember that the God Who lived in Daniel’s day is just the same today.
Think also of the fear that possessed the saintly Zacharias when he prayed in the temple and how the angel appeared, saying, “Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard” (Luke 1:13). The lesson we may learn from this incident is, that even when things are impossible with men they are possible with God. When we present our petition to the God of all grace, believing that He is, and that He is the rewarder of them that diligently seek Him, we can be confident that He hears and answers (Heb. 11:6).
“Beyond our utmost wants
His love and power can bless:
To praying souls, He always grants
More than they can express.”
The “Fear Not” of Protection
The Psalmist praises the Lord for His loving kindness and His mercy, and although encompassed by enemies, he can confidently say, “The Lord is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me?” (Psa. 118:6).
The Christian today also is encompassed by enemies. Because of loyalty to his risen Lord, he may incur the hatred of the world, but since Jehovah is on his side, he can say, “If God be for us, who can be against us?” (Rom. 8:31). God is on our side: He is with us, His people; therefore, fear should have no place in our hearts. Victory over our spiritual enemies is assured.
One of the last occurences of the expression, “Fear not,” is in Revelation 1:17. When John saw the vision of Christ in glory, he fell at His feet as dead. As John lay there, Christ placed His right hand upon him, saying, “Fear not: I am the first and the last.” If John was overwhelmed by this vision of the Saviour in glory, the Saviour on Whose bosom he had leaned, how will it be with those who do not know the Lord? How will it be with us when the trump of God shall usher us into His presence, and when His eyes shall look into ours? Let those words, “Fear not” given by the Lord in glory, be a comfort to us in view of seeing Him face to face. The true Christian is ever safe. If a person is in the Spirit, and the Spirit is in him, fear need not cause him any alarm. In weakness, Christ is the Christian’s strength, and in terror, Christ is his consolation. When we see our blessed Lord, our victory in Him will be complete. May our hearts, in the meantime, exclaim, “Who shall not fear Thee, O Lord, and glorify Thy name? for Thou only art holy” (Rev. 15:4)!
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“My God shall supply all your need.” Phil. 4:19.
Dost thou in thine inmost heart bebieve this word?
Then trust, yes, wholly trust thy loving Lord.
Trust Him each day, each hour, and thou shalt see
Each need supplied, Christ’s riches used for Thee.