Do Not Fear
Say to those who are fearful-hearted, “Be strong, do not fear! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, With the recompense of God; He will come and save you.” (Isaiah 35:4)
Fear is a powerful tool of emotion. It can stop a strong man dead in his tracks. It can cause a country to come under oppression. It can cause a sane person to change their behavior. It can cause a righteous person to lie. It can cause a person of authority to seek advice from the wrong person. It can make the easiest of choices become difficult to make. It can cause us to make the wrong choices for our families. Fear is a powerful adversary against the mind when it is allowed to continue. Fear, when utilized by an enemy, can steal our freedom and reduce us to an oppressed people under bondage either physically or emotionally, and sometimes both. There are many examples in the bible that shows how fear hindered many of God’s servants, causing them to make wrong choices. We must learn from their mistakes.
Fear (and jealousy) of losing his position as king caused Saul to stop trusting his loyal servant, David, and seek to kill him, when he heard the women sing: “Saul has slain his thousands, And David his ten thousands.”(1 Samuel 18:7). Fear of Samuel not coming in time to sacrifice the offerings and seeing the people leave his side and the Philistines gathering for war against him and his army, caused king Saul to disobey the commandment of the Lord and take over Samuel’s job of offering the burnt offerings and peace offerings to the Lord (1 Samuel 13:8-13). Fear also caused Saul to seek out a medium for guidance when the Lord would not answer him. This eventually led to his death. 1 Chronicles 10:13-14 states:
13 So Saul died for his breach of faith. He broke faith with the Lord in that he did not keep the command of the Lord, and also consulted a medium, seeking guidance. 14 He did not seek guidance from the Lord. Therefore the Lord put him to death and turned the kingdom over to David the son of Jesse.
Due to fear and a lack of trust in God, Saul made bad choices which caused severe consequences for him and his family in the end.
Fear caused David to change his behavior and act insane when he stood before Achish, the king of Gath. When David was fleeing Saul, he decided to go to king Achish but then had fear in his heart when he heard the officers of king Achish speaking and were unhappy about his being there. They exposed his identity to the king which caused David to have fear in his heart of what the king might do to him. So he changed his behavior before them and pretended to be insane in their hands and made marks on the doors of the gate and let his spittle run down his beard. The king let him go, finding no use in a madman and David then escaped to the cave of Adullam (1 Samuel 21:10-13).
Fear caused David, a man after God’s own heart, a man who defeated the giant, Goliath, with a sling and a stone in the name of the Lord, a man who fought in many battles, to be reduced to changing his behavior and acting insane because he feared what might be done to him by king Achish. David allowed fear to enter into his heart and act differently to avoid harm.
Fear and concern about not having enough provision during the famine caused Naomi’s husband, Elimelech, to move his family out of the Promise Land (Bethlehem) and seek provision in the pagan land of Moab. This means they returned to the wilderness which God had delivered Israel from hundreds of years before. Though they may have had some provisions, their sons married Moabite women and Naomi’s husband and sons passed away. Fear of not having the necessities can cause people to take matters into their own hands and make a move in emotion instead of going before the Lord and then waiting for His help. Ruth accepting God as her God was pleasing to the Lord. Also, God had provided for Boaz as he was wealthy and Boaz provided jobs for others and food for Naomi and Ruth.
The King James Version of the Bible states they went to sojourn in the country of Moab and sojourn means a temporary stay, so they had intentions to return. Their temporary visit turned into 10 years and Elimelech and his sons never returned to Israel because all three of them died while in Moab. Elimelech’s name means “God is king”, yet he feared not having enough food for him and his family. The bible doesn’t give an account of how they died or why (was it God’s judgement against them or not), but it does make you wonder that if Elimelech had not been moved by fear of the famine and remained in the Promised Land, would he and his sons have survived? If God has placed you in a position or place, you must not be moved by fear when problems arise. Sometimes we think that by moving away from our problems that we won’t have them anymore, but they will follow us until we face them head on with God and ride out the storm.
Also due to this move, Elimelech and Naomi’s sons took wives from among the Moabite women, Ruth and Orpah, which was also in disobedience to God as He had command the Israelites not to marry women from among the pagan nations surrounding them. You have to remember that when you make the wrong choices instead of trusting in God and what He says to do, it not only effects you, but it affects your family. Elimelech’s choice to leave the promised land and go back to the wilderness caused his sons, when grown, to disobey God’s command and marry women from a pagan nation because they had no Israelite women there to marry (that we know of).
I also want to add that the trek from the Promised Land back through the wilderness to Moab was not an easy one. They had to hike through the desolate Jericho pass, through the Judean wilderness near the Dead Sea, go across the Jordan River and into the land of Moab. How many times has God rescued us, taking us through the wilderness to get us to our Promised Land of healing, which was a difficult journey, only to find ourselves making the difficult journey back through wilderness to find comfort in our old ways, from a current problem or storm. How many times have we gone backwards in order to avoid the storm or problem?
Fear caused Abraham, in Genesis 20, to lie and say that Sarah was his sister instead of his wife when they journeyed to Gerar. As Sarah was beautiful, Abimelech sent for her and took her. God, came to Abimelech in a dream and warned him that this was Abraham’s wife and not his sister. When Ambelech informed God that Abraham had said Sarah was his sister and of the integrity of his heart (he had not slept with her yet), God replied that He knew the integrity of his heart and that’s why God withheld him from sinning against Him. He did not let Ambelech touch Sarah. God commanded Ambelech to give Sarah back to Abraham, as he was God’s prophet, and Abraham will pray for him and he will live. However if he doesn’t give her back, he and all his household will die. The next morning king Ambelech called his servants and told them what happened, causing them fear. He then spoke to Abraham and asked how he had offended him and why he brought sin upon him and his kingdom. Abraham’s reply:
“Because I thought, surely the fear of God is not in this place; and they will kill me on account of my wife. 12 But indeed she is truly my sister. She is the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother; and she became my wife. 13 And it came to pass, when God caused me to wander from my father’s house, that I said to her, ‘This is your kindness that you should do for me: in every place, wherever we go, say of me, “He is my brother.”
Fear of being killed by others because of his beautiful wife, caused Abraham to not only lie but caused him to order his wife to lie as well saying she was his sister instead of his wife. His fear and deception almost caused a king with integrity to commit sin and bring sin upon his kingdom. Though nothing was done to intentionally harm anyone, fear had a ripple effect that almost caused destruction to others. God was gracious and warned the king, knowing the integrity of the king’s heart and Abraham’s actions due to his fear.
Fear of the consequences of going before the king without being called almost hindered Esther from helping to save her people from death in a plot against the Jews by Haman. But when Mordecai reminded her that she will not escape Haman’s plan to kill the Jews and she and her father’s house will perish, this caused another type of fear…a reverent fear.
Esther commanded Mordecai to have the people do a three day fast and she and her servants would as well. God heard their prayers and set everything into place from the king speaking to Esther, to Haman’s plot to kill the Jews being exposed and overturned. In the end, Haman and his 10 sons were hung and hundreds of men killed who were against the Jews as the Jews were given authority to overtake those who were going to harm them. The letter sent out to annihilate the Jews by Haman was revoked and laws were put into place to protect the Jews.
When we allow fear to rule us, it can cause us to change our behavior, hinder our spiritual and physical walk, and produce consequences for us that can affect those around us as well. It can cause us to take matters into our own hands and make wrong choices that produce damaging results. However, when we put our trust in the Lord and bring our fears and concerns to Him, He will walk us through the situation and provide a solution if we just trust Him and wait upon Him to rescue us. Sometimes it takes time and sometimes it comes at the very last second. The enemy will always push us, by utilizing fear, to make a move before God is ready for us to move or to not move at all depending on the situation. But when we bring our worries and concerns to the Lord, then wait upon Him, He will always come to our rescue.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
As for God, His way is perfect; The word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him. (2 Samuel 22:31)
And those who know Your name will put their trust in You; For You, Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You. (Psalm 9:10)