Isaiah 41:10 (NKJV) Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’
Many times in the Bible, God says to His people: “Fear not” or “Do not be afraid.”
In some texts, God is telling His people their fears are imaginary, that there is nothing to be afraid of at all.
In Matthew 14, the disciples were in a boat in rough weather. When they saw Jesus walking on the water, they thought He was a ghost.
Mt 14:27 (NKJV) But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.”
When the angel Gabriel came to Mary, he reassured her.
Lk 1:30 (NKJV) Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God.
God’s people have nothing to fear from supernatural manifestations of heavenly glory.
On the other hand, there are situations where we have real reasons to be afraid but God calls us not to be afraid anyway.
Mt 10:28 (NKJV) And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
Here Jesus is saying DO NOT FEAR even though you face savage persecution and possible martyrdom. It is a call to courage and faith in God’s salvation.
- It is also a warning to remember God’s punishment for cowardice.
GOD IS LOVE
As we read the Bible, we see again and again, that there are two essential aspects to the love of God.
These are COMFORT and CHALLENGE.
Mt 4:18-19 (NKJV) And Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. Then He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
What a blessing, to be invited to live full time with Jesus and to be given the power to get men and women saved, to rescue them from damnation!
But what a challenge to leave the security of a successful family fishing business and to live by faith in God’s daily provision!
I have a friend who was once a committed Muslim in Saudi Arabia.
Muslims have no assurance of salvation. They live in the hope that they might be good enough to escape hell fire.
When George came to know Jesus, he had the comfort of knowing the God who really loved him as His dear son. Muslims do not aspire to such a personal relationship with their God.
But it was a challenge to be rejected and persecuted in his own country. It was a challenge to flee to Australia as a refugee.
God called him to study for a doctorate at an Australian university where there are a lot of Arab Muslim students. Not one of them escapes Georges personally targeted preaching of Jesus.
Once George spoke to an Arab Muslim missionary on campus, one of many militant Muslim missionaries sent around the world financed by oil rich Arabs.
“Why do you preach Islam?” asked my friend.
“Because I want to go to heaven,” replied the Muslim missionary.
“That is very selfish!” said George. “I know I have a home in heaven. I preach Jesus because I want OTHER PEOPLE to go to heaven.”
We have the comfort of knowing God has prepared a home for us in heaven.
We have the challenge or reaching others with the Good News of God’s kindness.