When You Fear
Fear is a normal part of life in a fallen world. That's why the most often repeated command in the Bible is “fear not.” In doing research for a post that I published several years ago I found many references to “"fear not"” being in the bible 365 times, 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 exactly 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 araid, “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 does indicate that it is important that we trust God and not man.
Matthew 10:28 CEV Don't be afraid of people. They can kill you, but they cannot harm your soul. Instead, you should fear God who can destroy both your body and your soul in hell.
We all need to be reminded that “If God is for us, who can be against us?”
Romans 8:31 CEVWhat can we say about all this? If God is on our side, can anyone be against us?
Fear is also one of Satan’s strongest weapons and he uses it against us in spiritual warfare. Worry, anxiety, fear…can overwhelm us and either paralyze us or control every move and decision we make.
Moses experienced fear. When God called him to deliver Israel from Egypt, Moses was afraid that his own people would not listen to him, that Pharaoh would not respect him, and that he could not speak well enough to accomplish the job. Even so, God worked through Moses. His fear was overcome by God’s promise to be with him every step of the way.
In Psalm 56, David was fearful. He had enemies dogging his every step.
Psalms 56:1-2 CEV Have pity, God Most High! My enemies chase me all day. Many of them are pursuing and attacking me,
They chased him “all day long” with the hope that they would ultimately take his life.
Psalms 56:2, 6 CEV Many of them are pursuing and attacking me, They attack from ambush, watching my every step and hoping to kill me.
These adversaries wanted not only to kill David but also to destroy his reputation.
Psalms 56:5 CEV Enemies spend the whole day finding fault with me; all they think about is how to do me harm.
David confessed that he was afraid. This admission was the first step to transforming his mindset.
Psalms 56:3 CEV but even when I am afraid, I keep on trusting you.
David reminded himself of two truths about God. First, God is powerful. He can take down nations and deliver us from any situation.
Psalms 56:7 CEV They won't get away with these crimes, God, because when you get angry, you destroy people.
Second, David reminded himself that God cares for him.
Psalms 56:13 CEV You protected me from death and kept me from stumbling, so that I would please you and follow the light that leads to life.
David declared that God not only knows about His suffering, He keeps track of every sleepless night and every shed tear.
Psalms 56:8 CEV You have kept record of my days of wandering. You have stored my tears in your bottle and counted each of them.
Having reminded himself of God’s power and compassion, David was able to change his perspective. He proclaimed,
Psalms 56:11 CEV I trust you and am not afraid. No one can harm me.
Humans can do enormous damage to one another, but David’s point here was that they were not powerful enough to thwart God’s plan for his life.
We can say with David; God, we look to you in both good and bad times, in times of victory as well as failure. We will "not fear".