DON'T BE AFRAID


"FEAR NOT" may be the most frequent admonition in Scripture. God often told his people to trust His care and not to be afraid.

THOSE WHO TRUST His promises should have no fear! He promised Israel that He would care for them and protect them. When invaded by a vast army from the East He told them: "Do not fear ... this great multitude, for the battle is not yours but God's (2 Chronicles 20:15 NRSV). Read also these marvelous promises: Exodus 14:13,14; Deuteronomy 1:30; 3:22; 20:1-4. But He does warn them not to think they were victorious by their own strength. "Not by your might nor power, but by my Spirit" (CF. Zechariah 4:6 and Judges 7:2).

ISAIAH says it well: "Do not fear, for I am with you, do not be afraid for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand." (Isaiah 41:10). David spoke eloquently of God's loving care in Psalm 23, when he said that he would not want, that His shepherd would lead him in fruitful paths, he would have no fear of evil, that the Lord would feed him in face of his enemies and would care for him all the days of his life.

NEHEMIAH reminded Israel of the Lord's care during their travels in the wilderness, how the Lord took care of all their needs: "You did not forsake them ... You gave your good spirit to instruct them, and did not withhold your manna from their mouths, and gave them water for their thirst. Forty years you sustained them in the wilderness so that they lacked nothing; their clothes did not wear out and their feet did not swell" (Nehemiah 9:16-25).

JESUS came with teaching of assurance and comfort, into a world troubled and afraid. He told his listeners not to worry over what they would wear or eat -- your Father who knows your needs will provide all these things (Matthew 6:25-34). And in this world of tribulation His followers would overcome by their faith (John 16:33; 1 John 5:4).

PAUL assured early christians: "Do not worry about anything, but in everything let your requests be made known to God ... And my God will fully satisfy every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:6,19). And he again reminds them that the Lord works all things for good for those who love Him. Read Romans 8:26-32.

INSPIRED WORDS of assurance come to us today as we fight against spiritual forces: "Little children, you are from God, and have conquered them ; for the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world" (1 John 4:4).