Many times in scripture God has said to not be afraid (it’s not actually 365 times, closer to 110), but really once should be enough for anyone who takes the word of God seriously. However, we still find it difficult to not be afraid in certain circumstances. Often we think that being afraid of certain things is normal. Just a part of being human. However we still have the very words of God that tell us to “fear not”, “do not be afraid”. Was He just saying it for the sake of saying it… or is there something for us to learn and see in His words?
It might be interesting to note that whenever God said to not be afraid, it always accompanied a revelation of Himself… who He is and His nature, character and power. This is key when considering His words. God never tells us to not be afraid, without telling the reason why we do not have to fear. It’s one thing to simply say “aww, don’t be afraid!” – but it’s quite another thing to say “Don’t be afraid, because I am here!” and when God is the one saying it, you now have a very solid foundation upon which to securely stand. What we will be studying today is the security that we have in Christ, and how His words of fear not, are not just empty suggestions, but a reality for us to live in – all because of Jesus.
So let’s begin by taking a look at some scriptures…
The very first time the phrase “fear not” is used in scripture is Genesis 15:1, by God:
“After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am your shield, and your exceeding great reward.”
Notice that God calls Himself Abram’s shield, and his exceedingly great reward. Please do not get the idea that this was only for Abram, because in Christ, God is also very much your shield as well, and He is also your exceedingly great reward. (Galatians 3:13-14). This charge from God to “fear not” came along with a revelation of the protection of God being a shield and also the provision of God being an exceedingly great reward.
Make no mistake my friends, when God is your shield, that is a shield that cannot be broken… it’s a shield that never fails to protect, a shield that has no weak points or open areas where it can be bypassed… nothing can sneak through that shield. When God is your exceedingly great reward, that reward is beyond your wildest dreams, beyond your most grand imaginations. It’s a reward that can never be lost or stolen, it does not wear out, become dull or grow old.
I don’t know about you, but just thinking about this reality of God calms my fears, let’s look at some more. Genesis 26:24:
“And the LORD appeared to him the same night, and said, I am the God of Abraham your father: fear not, for I am with you, and will bless you, and multiply your seed for my servant Abraham’s sake.”
This is God appearing to Issac, and telling him to fear not, to not be afraid… and just as before, it’s not just an empty word; there is great substance behind what God says – the substance of Himself. God tells Isaac not to be afraid because I am with you. Oh boy! That is enough right there isn’t it… When God says “I am with you.” You have all that you need! There’s nothing that the I AM can’t handle! Simply knowing that would be more than sufficient, but God didn’t stop there! Surely you must realize that at this point, it’s all gravy… it’s all icing on the cake, with cherries on top after God already said that He was with Isaac – but this shows us the overflowing generosity, abundance and personal care that God has, going further to explicitly spell out what His being with Isaac includes, when it wasn’t even needed. God goes on to say I will bless you. Again, this right here would’ve been more than enough information to quench all fear, all doubts and all worries. When God blesses you, my friend, you are blessed, full stop! And just as with Abram previously, do not get it into your head that this was just for Isaac, because in Christ you are exceedingly, abundantly blessed with every blessing in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 1:3)
And as for the last part, well you are the seed! So in Jesus Christ you get to experience the blessing and promise from both sides! You are both the promised and the promise! (Galatians 3:29).
Let’s jump forward now to Matthew 10:29-31:
“Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.
But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
Fear you not therefore, you are of more value than many sparrows.”
Here Jesus is instructing His disciples in why they should not fear, even in the face of great adversity, and just as we saw earlier, this also comes with a revelation of God’s personal love and care. We see here that the Father is intimately aware of His creation, even the sparrows which in the eyes of the world are very low value… yet not one falls to the ground without the Father’s knowledge and approval. Then with that detail of the involvement of the Father, Jesus then goes on to enlighten us that the very hairs of your heard are all numbered. For some of us that might be a very low number! Even so, He knows it all anyway – that’s how much the Father cares for you personally! Jesus then says Fear you not therefore. The reason why you can have no fear is in knowing how very much you are loved, cared for and watched by your Father in Heaven! In the eyes of God you are not a “nobody” you are not a faceless creation in the eyes of your Father in Heaven. You are not an unknown extra or a worthless pawn in the Kingdom of God… you are deeply loved and cherished, so much so that He gave everything; He gave Himself, to redeem you. You are more valuable than many sparrows. People think that today human life is worth the same amount as an animal. But let me tell you, that Jesus did not die to save animals… animals were not made in the image and likeness of God; you were made in the image and likeness of God and every human life is precious to the LORD, especially the death of His saints (Psalms 116:15) Which doesn’t mean that He delights in their death, but that He takes their death very seriously.
1st Corinthians 15:39 tells us that not all flesh is the same; there is one kind of flesh for land animals, another for fish and yet another for human beings. Human flesh is special because humans are made in the image and likeness of God almighty. That’s why human flesh was forbidden to be eaten while animals and fish were allowed to be eaten. There’s nothing wrong with saving and protecting animals and all that and taking care of God’s creation… but don’t ever put humans on the same level as the animals, because you are special in God’s sight. You are the crowning jewel of His creation, and a big part of your security in Christ is knowing how very special He holds you in His sight and in His hands.
As humans, when troubling circumstances come our way… we tend to forget who God is, and how much He cares for us… that’s why every single instance of God saying “fear not” comes with a reminder of His character, His nature and His power. We often thing that whatever situation we are currently facing His escaped God’s view, or that He didn’t see this one coming… and we become fearful. However the truth is that nothing escapes the view of God. Nothing has slipped-by unnoticed.
Consider the disciples in the boat as the storm was raging in Mark 4:37-40:
“And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full.
And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say to him, Master, care you not that we perish?
And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.
And he said to them, Why are you so fearful? how is it that you have no faith?”
To the disciples, the situation looks horrific. It seems like death is imminent, a tragedy is about to happen! Verse 38 finds Jesus asleep in the lower part of the boat. Now please understand, that even in His human state, Jesus is still God – and even while His human body is asleep, Jesus is still protecting His disciples. They were in zero danger. The situation looked grim, but that is merely human perception… the carnal mind cannot perceive or understand the things of God (1st Corinthians 2:14).
So His disciples wake Jesus up, and accuse Him of not caring about them – see their fear is based on an ignorance of His character and His love for them. They think He doesn’t care, and many times we do the same thing because we use our own situations and our experiences as an artificial barometer of the love of God for us instead of what His word tells us. We re-write our theology to match our current-experience and create a world-view based on our own carnal mind instead of looking at Jesus who is absolute perfect theology and shows us the perfect image of God and His love. And when we do that, we’ve blinded ourselves and exchanged truth for a lie, and because it’s the truth that makes us free, we’ve jailed ourselves too.
So the disciples accuse Jesus. Master, don’t you care that we perish? And Jesus, again demonstrating right in-front of them His care and compassion, even though He doesn’t have to at all – He rebukes the wind and the sea and there was a great calm. Not just a little calm… the storm didn’t just die-down a small bit – it totally ceased! Again, Jesus did not need to do this, the disciples were never in any danger, but He did it for their sake… then look what Jesus says in verse 40:
Why are you so fearful? A question that every believer in Christ should honestly face. How is it that you have no faith? If you remember our earlier studies, you will remember that faith is information of God… Jesus is asking them here, why don’t you have information about Me and Who I am and How much I care for you? I’ve already demonstrated and taught you so much. They already saw His miracles in the previous chapter of Mark 3, He has been teaching them, but they still don’t know Him.
He wants us to have this faith of Him. He wants us to have this information of Him. As we close our study today, I want to show you one more picture of the security of God, found in Daniel chapter 3. Now we looked at the account of Daniel’s three friends in the fiery furnace in detail a few months ago. We saw how they never doubt either the ability or the willingness of God to help them in the midst of their crisis. Today I want to open your awareness to a higher level of “seeing”… please don’t get put-off by that language… for it is Jesus that we will be seeing. I want to show you how what we typically think of as the focus of the story is not the focus at all.
So many times we focus on the fiery furnace… just like in life, we focus on the fire of whatever we are going through, but the fire really does not matter at all! Want you to see the awesome power of God here and how very safe you are in Christ! The entire reason that this account is recorded for us in the Bible is not to spurn us in to be martyrs as some people use it for, because in-fact these men were not martyred in this story, and they knew that they would not be! (see our other study for more on that) I want you to see that because of your position safe and sound under the shadow of God’s wings, tucked safely and securely in Christ, the fire does not even matter at all! We give the fire more credit than it deserves! We use religious carnal language – again our man-made theologies that say things like “God is using the fire to purify you”… baloney! You are already purified by the blood of Jesus Christ, His Spirit of Holiness lives on the inside of you (1st Peter 1:2,22) Let us take a look at the truth of God in Christ and how secure we are in Him: Daniel 3:20-23:
“And he commanded the most mighty men that were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace.
Then these men were bound in their coats, their hosen, and their hats, and their other garments, and were cast into the middle of the burning fiery furnace.
Therefore because the king’s commandment was urgent, and the furnace exceeding hot, the flames of the fire slew those men that took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell down bound into the middle of the burning fiery furnace.”
The fire was hot, made hot to match the anger of Nebuchadnezzar! So hot in-fact that the men who carried the bound Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, were killed just from the heat of the fire alone!
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were bound and thrown into the fire… seems like a pretty bad situation. Now read verses 24-27:
“Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonished, and rose up in haste, and spoke, and said to his counsellors, Did not we cast three men bound into the middle of the fire? They answered and said to the king, True, O king.
He answered and said, See, I see four men loose, walking in the middle of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.
Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace, and spoke, and said, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, you servants of the most high God, come forth, and come here. Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, came forth of the middle of the fire.
And the princes, governors, and captains, and the king’s counsellors, being gathered together, saw these men, on whose bodies the fire had no power, nor was an hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them.”
The three men were thrown into the fire, bound, tied-up, and fallen to the ground. But four men came out of the fire free and standing. Are you listening to what the Spirit of God is saying here?
It was never about the fire; the fire was never the key issue or the focus of this account. It was always about Jesus and who He is. The fire never mattered, if it did, then Jesus would’ve put it out when He appeared. Jesus didn’t even give the fire enough honor to put it out. He’s Lord over it. The fire could be there, but the rub is that the fire simply didn’t matter, it couldn’t touch them at all. Jesus is Lord over all. He existed in the midst of the fire and it had no influence, control or any ability to touch any of them at all. Verse 27 records that the fire had no power on them… they did not even have the scent of fire on them.
This is our God, this is the Gospel that we are to live. Not one of rules and regulations, not being secure in ourselves – but mighty and secure in God and the power of Jesus Christ and secure in who He is! Armed with the knowledge and revelation of Jesus Christ we can have boldness to stand against every force of darkness knowing that greater is He that is in you than He that is in the world! (1st John 4:4). Don’t you dare sell yourself short, because Jesus Christ lives in you by His Spirit and you have overcome the enemy already. We have read the end of the book already. And Spoiler Alert! We win! Christ is victorious!
So I encourage you today. You are secure in Jesus Christ. You have a real reason to truly fear not.