BE NOT AFRAID Andy Hollifield 9-18-17
Deuteronomy 31:6 Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.
Isaiah 43:1 But now thus saith the Lord 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.
Joshua 1:9 Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.
2 Chronicles 20:15 “…Thus saith the Lord unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s.
2 Chronicles 32:7 Be strong and courageous, be not afraid nor dismayed for the king of Assyria, nor for all the multitude that is with him: for there be more with us than with him:
Jeremiah 1:8 Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the Lord.
Matthew 14:27 But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.
Mark 5:36 As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, he saith unto the ruler of the synagogue, Be not afraid, only believe.
I read something on the computer that said that the phrase “do not be afraid” is in the bible 365 times. I am not sure what the person that came up with that was reading, but in the KJV it isn’t even in there once. I did however, find a few more phrases that ought to bring us comfort in times of trouble, fear, and uncertainty. For instance,”Be not afraid” is used 26 times. “Not be afraid” is used 13 times. “Fear not” is used 63 times and the word “afraid” is used 193 times. Out of those 193 times “afraid” is used, at least 102 times it is used in a phrase that tells us as God’s children that we don’t have to be afraid. The word fear is in the bible 400 times with it first being introduced in Genesis 9:2. That is right after the ark had come to rest and Noah’s family had went out of the ark. It was at the time when God made his covenant with Noah that he would never again destroy the earth by water. He also told him that every beast on the earth, fowls of the air, fishes of the sea, and everything that moved upon the earth would have a fear and a dread of man.
As I began to read scripture as I was writing this, I was encouraged by some of the things I found. Aside from the obvious, which would be the phrases I mentioned as well as some other phrases that are worded different, I noticed a couple of things I had never seen before. In the Old Testament, God is speaking to his people trying to reassure them of his divine care and his ability to care for and protect them against all that would make them afraid. The first time the phrase “be not afraid” is used is in Deuteronomy 20:1 where God is encouraging his people that they don’t have to be afraid because he is with them. The last time it is used is in 1 Peter 3:14 where Peter is saying to be happy if we suffer for righteousness sake. If you look back to verse 12 of that chapter, it says “For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil”. Isn’t it good to know that when we are in those times of suffering and fear, that God is watching us and listening for our cry? In the New Testament, the first time the phrase is used is in Matthew 14:27 when Jesus went walking on the sea in the storm right to the boat his disciples were in. The scripture says that they cried out in fear thinking they were seeing a spirit. I like the part where it also said that Jesus would have passed them by but they cried out. That goes right back to 1 Peter 3:12 where the scripture talks about God’s ears being open to our cry. Just like a mom and dad know the cry of their children, God also knows the cry of his and is always attentive to it. Just my personal opinion, Jesus would have only passed by and met them on the shore, he knew where they were the whole time because he had seen them from the shore. Let me assure you that wherever you are at in your sea of distress, Jesus has already seen you and has been watching you. Why do you think you haven’t sunk yet? It is simply because the Lord is keeping you upright and is guiding your ship. We cannot possibly go down in defeat because Christ has already won our victory over death, hell, and the grave when he came forth out of that tomb and ascended and placed his perfect blood on the mercy seat for me and you satisfying the righteousness of God by paying for our sin. We truly do not have anything to be afraid of; Christ has already defeated our “adversary the devil” and holds the keys to the devil’s home.
I know it is in our fleshly nature to be afraid of things we don’t understand. I don’t know about anyone else, but I am the type that doesn’t want to start out doing something that I don’t already know I can accomplish. We as humans are afraid of rejection and failure probably more than anything else except death and suffering. The good news is that when we have to face death, Christ has already won the victory over it and taken the sting out of it for us. We may have to suffer immense pain just getting down to the river to cross, so to speak, but when we cross we will leave all of that pain and doubt and fear on this side of the river. There will be none of those things when we get home with the Lord. I have always thought that one of the best things about crossing over is that we will leave the devil standing on the bank, never to have to deal with him anymore. Think about that. For the first time since we were probably infants, we will not have to be concerned in the least about Satan rising up against us. That is a glorious thought isn’t it?
I didn’t elaborate too much on the verses today because I figured you could read them for yourselves. After that, read them again. Then when you have read them the second time, read them again and again and again. If you read them enough, I believe the Lord will let it dawn on you that you don’t have anything to be afraid of because you belong to him. So whatever it is that you are facing, there is more with you than is with the enemy. The only person to ever defeat our enemy since God threw him out of heaven; is our Savior. He is with thee to deliver thee. He will not fail thee nor forsake thee. One more thing that I noticed in reading all of this is that Jesus greeted his disciples several times by saying “it is I, be not afraid” and also “be of good cheer”. Rest assured, his eyes are on you and he is listening for your cry. And like he told the ruler of the synagogue: Be not afraid, only believe. Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!