Fear Not

"Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward." -- Genesis 15:1

It is said that there are 366 "fear not"s in the Bible—one for every day in the year, including Leap Year.

How often, in the experiences of life, are we beset with fears of one kind or another: fear of illness, of heights, of the darkness, of the future, of loss of employment, of flying, of death, and many more besides. Many of our fears are called irrational fears, but who would deny that they are very much a part of our lives?

Our text is the first recorded "Fear not" of the Bible. When Abram had every reason to fear the wrath of the king of Sodom because he had spurned his gifts, the Lord spoke this comforting word to him: "Fear not: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward." "I am your protector and provider." When a man has God for his protector and provider, he needs no other.

Even Satan himself is keenly aware of God’s protection and provision. The Lord said to Satan: "Hast thou considered My servant Job...one that feareth God and escheweth evil?" Satan answered: "Does Job fear God for nought? Hast Thou not made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he has on every side? Thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land."

Satan said, in effect, "No wonder Job serves You. You have been his protector and provider." Even Satan cannot deny that the Lord protects and provides for His people: "Yea, happy is that people whose God is the Lord." He provides and protects His people presently and eternally. "There is no trial taken you, but such as is common to man, but God is faithful, Who will not suffer you to be tested above that you are able, but will, with the trial, make a way of escape, that you may be able to bear it."

"When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie,
My grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply.
The flames shall not hurt thee; I only design
Thy dross to consume, and thy gold to refine.
Fear not, I am with thee;
Oh, be not dismayed,
For I am thy God; I will still give thee aid.
I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand,
Upheld by My righteous, omnipotent hand."

When Daniel was on the menu for hungry lions, he prayed and praised God three times daily, as he did aforetime. God sent His angel and shut the lions’ mouths. They decided that eating Daniel was a "non-prophet" venture.

When the three Hebrew children were thrown into the burning fiery furnace, they were preserved by one "like unto the Son of God," Who was with them in the trial. His Word is sure: "When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee...when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned" (Isa. 43:2). There wasn’t even the smell of fire upon them.

Peter began to sink beneath the waves when he saw the wind boisterous, but cried out, "Lord, save me!" Immediately, Jesus stretched out His hand to protect Peter from sinking and to provide the strength to stand with His support.

There are three appeals in Psalm 115:9-11: (1) "Israel, trust thou in the Lord;" (2) "House of Aaron, trust in the Lord;" and (3) "Ye that fear the Lord, trust in the Lord." After each appeal, there is an affirmation concerning each: "He is their help and their shield." Praise His Name, He is the provider and protector of His people.

He has said, "I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me" (Heb. 13:5-6).

In Psalm 115:12-15, to the three affirmations are added three promises: "The Lord hath been mindful of us: He will bless us; He will bless the house of Israel; He will bless the house of Aaron. He will bless them that fear the Lord, both small and great. The Lord shall increase you more and more, you and your children. Ye are blessed of the Lord which made heaven and earth."

In Psalm 121:2, the Psalmist declares: "My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth." The Lord is my provider, and the greatest problem I have is simple to Him Who made heaven and earth, for my needs and more He will provide. "He giveth to all life and breath, and all things" (Acts 17:25). "He giveth us richly all things to enjoy" (I Tim. 6:17).

Praise God, as the Lord said through the lips of the prodigal son: "In my Father’s house, there is bread enough, and to spare."

He is also my protector. He neither slumbers nor sleeps--"ever watchful is His care." "The Lord is thy keeper...The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil. He shall preserve thy soul." Not one sheep of His will ever be lost. He is carrying His own on His strong shoulders all the way Home. "The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore" (Psalm 121:8).

The Good Shepherd of the sheep knows how to take care of His own. He promises eternal security to each one. "I give unto them eternal life (what a provision!), and they shall never perish (what protection!), neither shall any man (or devil) pluck them out of My hand" (John 10:27-28). He says, "I am the Good Shepherd, Who gives His life for the sheep." That’s what He is doing today for you, and because He lives, "He is able to save to the uttermost all that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever lives to make intercession for us" (Heb. 7:25).

He says, "I am the Good Shepherd. I know My sheep, and am known of Mine." What assurance there is in that! "The Lord knoweth them that are His" (II Tim. 2:19).

Yes, the Lord preserves my going out and my coming in, for He says, "I am the Door: by Me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture" (John 10:9).

He has pasture for His sheep when they go in to worship through Him, and when they go out to witness for Him.

The Lord has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and a sound mind. He certainly does not want His children beset by fears, for our times are in His hands. We should, therefore, "bless the Lord at all times: His praise shall continually be in our mouths: (Ps. 34:1).

He is in control, no matter how things may appear to us. Ultimately, we will see that all His ways are perfect (Ps. 18:30). By faith, we put our trust in the Lord and believe that He, Who works all things according to the counsel of His own will, is working all things together for the good of those who love Him. No one can ever thwart His purpose of blessing His own and ultimately conforming all to His blest likeness. "Unless the Lord had been my help, my soul had almost dwelt in silence. When I said, My foot slippeth; Thy mercy, O Lord, held me up" (Psalm 94:17-18).

"We comprehend Him not,
Yet earth and heaven tell
God sits as Sovereign on the Throne,
And doeth all things well."


MY PRESENCE

(Ex. 33:14)

Our hearts would ask a Programme—
An outline sent from Heaven—
But no such chart is granted—
A life-map is not given;
Instead, there comes a Promise—
A promise for each day—

"My Presence shall go with thee—
My presence all the way."
Our human hearts might urge us
For Person meet to ask;
Some kindred soul to join us,
In life’s stupendous task;

This, too, may be ungranted—
Perchance that we might know
The greatness of His Presence,
While toiling here below.
Provision and Protection we
rightly seem to crave;
Were we of these quite certain,
We think we could be brave;

But, greater than these portions
Can this Word come to be—
"My Presence shall go with thee—
My Presence! Mine! With thee!"
Oh, give us ears to listen!
Oh, give us hearts to long
To hear Thy wondrous promise!
To heed it, and be strong!
To know Thy constant Presence—
And all its promised rest;
To know it as sufficient—
And knowing it—be blest.