Fear of God isn’t the emotion that usually comes to mind when we think of fear. That emotion is fright, which is a sudden intense feeling of fear. Synonyms of this type fear are fearfulness, terror, horror, alarm, panic, dread, trepidation, dismay, nervousness, apprehension, apprehensiveness, perturbation, and disquiet. The fear of God is a reverential respect of God’s power and glory. Fear of God is the result of His love for mankind and the grace that He has given to those who, in faith, believe on His Son, Jesus Christ.
Apart from this fear of God we are commanded to “fear not”. We are commanded to “fear not” because God has made promises to those who believe in Jesus. He’s promised to protect them, to provide for them, and to give them eternal life with Him.
Psalm 91:1-4 (NLT) 1 Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.2 This I declare about the LORD: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him.3 For he will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease.4 He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection.
Matthew 6:31-33 (NLT) 31 “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’32 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs.33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.
John 3:16 (NLT) “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.
1 John 2:24-25 (NLT) 24 So you must remain faithful to what you have been taught from the beginning. If you do, you will remain in fellowship with the Son and with the Father.
25 And in this fellowship we enjoy the eternal life he promised us.
There Is Fear In The Land
Here in the United States ever since the election of Donald Trump as President (who I will refer to as 45 until he shows that he really wants to be the leader of all those living in the US) fear has permeated the nation. His rhetoric during the Presidential campaign was designed, in my opinion, to create division between the nation’s diverse ethnic and racial groups. Many voted for him because they believed that he would bring employment back to areas that had lost manufacturing jobs. They ignored what was happening in the underbelly of the racist element in the country, who looked at what 45 said as endorsing their hate agenda. That's why they openly supported him, and in his desire to become President he gladly accepted that support. The day of reckoning was coming. It was almost like selling your soul to the devil.
The day of reckoning came on Tuesday, November 8, 2016.. It was time for the devil to collect. That night that it was apparent that 45 would win the Electoral College and become the 45th President of the United State(although he did lose the popular vote by more than 3 million votes). That night a wave of fear began to swell throughout the nation in the communities of color, and the Jewish community. Nothing that 45 has done since taking office in January has mitigated any of that fear. In fact many of the things 45’s administration has done or attempted to do has has emboldened the white supremacists, which include the Klu Klux Klan, Neo-Nazis and other groups of the so-called Alt-right or nationalists which, in my opinion is code for white supremacy. .
This became crystal clear this past weekend with 45’s response to the violence and murder instigated by the Alt-right. 45’s comments on Saturday and more so today August 15, 2017 in which he gave moral equivalency to racist as to those who oppose racism. Yes there was violence on both sides however racists and those opposing them are not morally equal. What this says to those who are targets of the Alt-right including; women, Jews, African-Americans, Hispanics, immigrants, Muslims, LBGT, and others they choose to hate, is that the President of your country is with those who hate you and want you gone. His attitude and vitreal, stoke the the fear that started on election night and has only worsened since.
In the last 18 months I’ve written and published 8 posts on fear. Solomon, the wisest man that has ever lived wrote that wisdom begins with the fear of God.
Proverbs 9:10 (NLT)10 Fear of the LORD is the foundation of wisdom. Knowledge of the Holy One results in good judgment.
The rest of this post was originally written and published in November 2015. It is as applicable today as it was then..
Today there are many reasons to fear and doubt (which comes from fear); the economy, bad reports from the doctor, serious illness of a loved one, death of a loved one, global unrest, terrorist threats, and hopeless predictions from political prognosticators ….. I could go on and on.
Fear is one of the strongest weapons that Satan uses against us in spiritual warfare. Worry, anxiety, fear…can overwhelm us and either paralyze us or control every move and decision we make. (See The Mind is the Battlefield in Spiritual Warfare).
The first thing that I wanted to do in preparing to write this post was to see how many times “"fear not"” “do not be afraid”, or similar phrases are in the Bible. I saw a lot of references to “"fear not"” being in the bible 365 days, or one “"fear not"” for everyday in the year (that would be a problem in Leap Year) Upon more research I learned that’s not the case.
In conducting additional research I found that in the context of instructing us not to be afraid of circumstances, or to not fear following a command or instruction of God, the phrase is only used about 80 times. Other phrases that would be equal to “"fear not"” like; “do not be afraid, “do not fear”, or “be not afraid” appear about 30 times.
While there is disagreement on exactly how many times we are told to “"fear not"”, the fact that we are told to not fear anyone or any circumstance other than God Himself, so many times in does tell us that it’s important. God commands us to not fear.
Jesus specifically commands us to “"fear not"”.
Luke 12:7 (ASV) But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. fear not: ye are of more value than many sparrows.
Luke 12:32 (ASV) fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
The number one imperative statement (something that must be done and not put off) of Jesus was a variation of "Don't be afraid," ""fear not"," or "Have courage". It occurs 21 times. The next closest is is the “love your neighbor” theme and it occurred only eight times.
The Reasons To “Fear Not”
God will not fail you
Deuteronomy 31:6 (ASV)6 Be strong and of good courage, fear not, nor be affrighted at them: for Jehovah thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.
God will not forsake you
1 Chronicles 28:20 (ASV)20 And David said to Solomon his son, Be strong and of good courage, and do it: fear not, nor be dismayed; for Jehovah God, even my God, is with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee, until all the work for the service of the house of Jehovah be finished.
God will help you
Isaiah 41:13 (ASV)13 For I, Jehovah thy God, will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, fear not; I will help thee.
God knows you by name
Isaiah 43:1 (ASV)1 But now thus saith Jehovah that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel: fear not, for I have redeemed thee; I have called thee by thy name, thou art mine.
God can do marvelous things
Joel 2:21 (ASV)21 fear not, O land, be glad and rejoice; for Jehovah hath done great things.
God did give not us a spirit of fear
2 Timothy 1:7 (ASV)7 For God gave us not a spirit of fearfulness; but of power and love and discipline.
God will give us peace
Philippians 4:6 (ASV) In nothing be anxious; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
Christ is the First and the Last
Revelation 1:17 (ASV)17 And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as one dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying, fear not; I am the first and the last,
Why Did God Command Us To “Fear Not”?
There are reasons for commands. They aren’t there just to be there with no basis in reality. If God commands us to do something, there are good reasons to do it. Five reasons are found here;
Isaiah 41:10 (ASV)10 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.
Read this commentary from Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
To not fear is a choice:
When God commands you to “"fear not"” as you face a serious illness, are unsure of how you will pay your bills, as you cope with the illness or death of a loved one, as you embark on a new life journey; remember that with the commandment comes His divine support.
Psalm 56:11 (ASV) In God have I put my trust, I will not be afraid; What can man do unto me?
Like David we can trust God because know the power of God. The key to our ability to obey the command to “"fear not"” is in total and complete trust in God. If we truly trust God we will refuse to give in to fear. We will turn our complete attention to God at the most difficult and darkest times because we remember the five reasons He told us to “"fear not"”.
“Fear Not” Because God Doesn’t Change
Numbers 23:19 (NLT)19 God is not a man, so he does not lie. He is not human, so he does not change his mind. Has he ever spoken and failed to act? Has he ever promised and not carried it through?
Charles Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening - November 2
It is well for us that, amidst all the variableness of life, there is One whom change cannot affect; One whose heart can never alter, and on whose brow mutability can make no furrows. All things else have changed-all things are changing. The sun itself grows dim with age; the world is waxing old; the folding up of the worn-out vesture has commenced; the heavens and earth must soon pass away; they shall perish, they shall wax old as doth a garment; but there is One who only hath immortality, of whose years there is no end, and in whose person there is no change. The delight which the mariner feels, when, after having been tossed about for many a day, he steps again upon the solid shore, is the satisfaction of a Christian when, amidst all the changes of this troublous life, he rests the foot of his faith upon this truth-"I am the Lord, I change not." The stability which the anchor gives the ship when it has at last obtained a hold-fast, is like that which the Christian's hope affords him when it fixes itself upon this glorious truth. With God "is no variableness, neither shadow of turning." What ever His attributes were of old, they are now; His power, His wisdom, His justice, His truth, are alike unchanged. He has ever been the refuge of His people, their stronghold in the day of trouble, and He is their sure Helper still. He is unchanged in His love. He has loved His people with "an everlasting love"; He loves them now as much as ever He did, and when all earthly things shall have melted in the last conflagration, His love will still wear the dew of its youth. Precious is the assurance that He changes not! The wheel of providence revolves, but its axle is eternal love.
"Death and change are busy ever,
Man decays, and ages move;
But His mercy waneth never;
God is wisdom, God is love."
“Fear Not” Take Refuge
I’ll end this post with Psalm 46. Here is where I go when I start to doubt and disobey the commandment to “"fear not"”.
Psalm 46:1-11 (ASV)1 God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble.2 Therefore will we not fear, though the earth do change, And though the mountains be shaken into the heart of the seas;3 Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, Though the mountains tremble with the swelling thereof. Selah
4 There is a river, the streams whereof make glad the city of God, The holy place of the tabernacles of the Most High.5 God is in the midst of her; She shall not be moved: God will help her, and that right early.6 The nations raged, the kingdoms were moved: He uttered his voice, the earth melted.7 Jehovah of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah
8 Come, behold the works of Jehovah, What desolations he hath made in the earth.
9 He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; He breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; He burneth the chariots in the fire.10 Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.11 Jehovah of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah
Editor's Note: This post was originally published in November 2015 and has been modified to reflect current issues.
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Donald Jacobs is an ordained minister with the spiritual gift of teaching. He is the Associate Pastor of a non-denominational church in Los Angeles, CA.