By Shari Abbott, Reasons for Hope* Jesus
We all fear. It’s an emotion that grabs and grips us with a hold that is strong and controlling. Fear rises up in us when we find ourselves in dangerous situations, when we experience pain, evil, lack of control, persecution, and even when we imagine the possibility of such things.
Fear is an emotion that stirs us up and we respond. Sometimes fear will prompt an appropriate and positive response or action, like fleeing danger, relieving pain or overcoming evil, but all too often we fear things over which we have no control, influence or ability to make a difference. In such cases the only thing fear will do is trouble our thoughts and distress our spirit and create in us a stronghold of negative emotion. That will lead us away of from confident trust in the Lord.
“Fear not” is commanded by God throughout the Bible. God speaks those words directly, through His prophets and His angels. Jesus gave this command during His earthly ministry, and He repeated it again in His revelation to John.
The command to “fear not” is always accompanied by reason and encouragement.
Genesis 15:1 Fear not, I am thy shield.
Genesis 26:24 Fear not, for I am with thee.
Deuteronomy 1:21 Fear not, neither be discouraged.
Isaiah 41:13 Fear not; I will help thee.
Isaiah 43:1 Fear not: for I have redeemed thee
Isaiah 43:5 Fear not: for I am with thee
Joel 2:21 Fear not, for the LORD will do great things.
Luke 12:7 Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.
Luke 12:32 Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
Matthew 28:5-6 …Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for he is risen, as he said.
Revelation 1:17-18 Fear not; I am the first and the last: I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen.
Paul reminds us that “God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7) The power is the Lord’s strength given to us (2 Corinthians 12:9-10, Romans 8:37). The love is the Lord’s indwelling presence with us (John 14:16, Hebrews 13:5) and the sound mind is the confidence we have in His faithfulness to us (1 Corinthians 1:9, 2 Thessalonians 3:3).
His Power, Presence and Faithfulness
Psalm 27 is a wonderful illustration of King David’s confidence in God. It begins and ends with a confidence that is without fear and it is fueled by a knowledge of God’s power, presence and faithfulness.
Psalm 27:1-3 The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell. Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident.
David clearly speaks of being in danger—verse 3: “though a host should encamp against me….” Many think this psalm may have been written when David was hiding from Saul or fleeing from Absalom. What we do know for certain is that he was facing danger and it reminds us of our need to call upon the Lord for safe deliverance in times of trouble.
Before David spoke of the danger, he began his song by remembering God and proclaiming his faith—verse 1: “The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?”
David claims three things he has been given by God. He speaks of all that God is to him and claims all that he has from God. God is his light, his salvation and his strength. David knew that that God’s light dispels darkness, God’s salvation brings deliverance, and God’s strength would empower him. By remembering these things David was able to consider the evil intent of the wicked and with confident assurance ask, “whom shall I fear?” and “of whom shall I be afraid?” With God, David knew he had nothing to fear. David had a confidence born in remembering who God is.
David Knew God’s Power
Psalm 59:16 But I will sing of thy power; yea, I will sing aloud of thy mercy in the morning: for thou hast been my defence and refuge in the day of my trouble.
David Knew God’s Presence
Psalm 46:1 To the chief Musician for the sons of Korah, A Song upon Alamoth. God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
Psalm 46:2 Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea.
David Knew God’s Faithfulness
Psalm 36:5 Thy mercy, O LORD, is in the heavens; and thy faithfulness reacheth unto the clouds.
Psalm 89:5 And the heavens shall praise thy wonders, O LORD: thy faithfulness also in the congregation of the saints.
Psalm 119:90 Thy faithfulness is unto all generations: thou hast established the earth, and it abideth.
David’s confidence came from knowing God and believing that God is faithful to act according to who He is. In the past God had shown David His goodness and kindness, His mercy and grace, His power and His presence. David experienced God’s working in his life and therefore His trust was in the Lord.
Psalm 118:6 The LORD is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me?
Psalm 118:8 It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.
Psalm 118:9 It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in princes.
Psalm 7:1 O LORD my God, in thee do I put my trust: save me from all them that persecute me, and deliver me.
David’s steadfast confidence came in remembering from where his helps comes:
“Though an host should encamp against me (Psalm 27:3a)
“The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him” (Psalm 34:7).
“…my heart shall not fear… (Psalm 27:3b)
“… And [the angel of the Lord] delivers them.” (Psalm 34:7b)
“…though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident.” (Psalm 27:3c)
“Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!” (Psalm 34:8b)
I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. (Psa 27:13)
“Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good…” (Psalm 34:8a) “…those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing.” (Psalm 34:10b)
Trust comes from confidently remembering God. David knew that He could count on God to be faithful and so He proclaimed his unfaltering heart’s desire:
Psalm 27:4 One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in his temple.
This verse reminds us of another time of confidence when David remembered and extolled the Lord’s goodness. This time He closed his song with confidence:
Psalm 23:6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.
Verse 6 of the much-loved 23rd Psalm begins with “surely.” There we see David’s confidence. David’s confidence was rooted and grounded in knowing who God is and that He is faithful. We also must build a strong foundation of knowing God, so when we face times of trouble, we will remember who He is and what He has done for use in the past. Then we can have the kind of confident trust that David sang about—knowing that God will act again according to His good character and His perfect will.
As blood bought sinners we have been redeemed and given eternal life with Jesus. It started the day He saved us and now we dwell in the house of the Lord ….forever! Our confidence is in Him.
The next time you’re faced with fear, remember….fear not! Be of good cheer, for Jesus has overcome the world (John 16:33). Cast your cares on Him, for He cares for you (1 Peter 2:7).
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