Monday, December 21, 2015

Fear not” (Luke 1:30 KJV).  “Do not be afraid” (NKJV).

Fear 1Whether you read it from the King James or the New King James, it relays the same information.  Mary expressed fear in her facial, body, and eye movements.  The same was true when the apostles saw Jesus walking on water and he spoke to them (Matthew 14:27).  It gripped Peter when he transferred his faith from Jesus to the H2O he was walking on! Over and over on different occasions the expression, “fear not” had to be spoken.  If God was speaking, whether directly or through an angel, why were they fearful?  Why should one be fearful in carrying out God’s mission?  Yet, each one expressed that fear. That’s why they had to be told, “Fear not.”

The angel spoke those words to Mary.  We admire her faith.  Yet, would others believe she was pregnant, not by man, but miraculously through God’s intervention?  If not, she would suffer shame, or worse, be stoned.  Joseph knew it and was going to secretly put her away.  The angel stopped him, but when the heavenly messenger withdrew, did twinges of fear enter his imagination?  Was he concerned about what might be said behind his back or even to his face?  Everyone who showed fear and were told “Fear not,” were human beings, not supermen!

When Paul went to Rome the first time in chains, Luke tells us, “Paul stayed two full years in his own rented house.  He welcomed everyone who came to visit him” (Acts 28:30 IEB).  Yet, when he wrote to Timothy, he said, “No one came to help me at my first defense trial; they all abandoned me.  (May the Lord not hold this against them!” (2 Timothy 4:16 IEB).  They needed someone to tell them, “Fear not.”

So often we need that verbiage to remind us to trust in the Lord!  We allow fear to rule our thoughts.  When we surrender to that fear, it brings on anguish and regret.  We are like David who said,

Listen to my prayer, O God, do not ignore my plea; hear me and answer me. My thoughts trouble me and I am distraught at the voice of the enemy, at the stares of the wicked; for they bring down suffering upon me and revile me in their anger.  My heart is in anguish within me; the terrors of death assail me.  Fear and trembling have beset me; horror has overwhelmed me.”  (Psalm 55:1-5).

Did David not trust in the Lord?  If so, why is he so concerned?  Why so full of anguish, terror, fear, and horror?  Did God not say this fearful David, that he was “a man after my own heart” (Acts 13:22)?

Later, David prayed,

As for me, I will call upon God; and the LORD shall save me. . . .he shall hear my voice.  He hath delivered my soul in peace . . . Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.”  (Psalm 55:16-22).

Yes, doubt arises, even in David.  Fears penetrate.  Yet, trusting in the Lord makes us winners.

Mary shouldered it all, conquered her fears and gave birth to Jesus.  She watched him grow.  She collected memories and saved them in the recesses of her thoughts.  In helplessness she watched him die.  She experienced the joy of his resurrection. His ascension gave her hope.  She had the pleasure of fellowship with the 120.  Her heart soared when her son James believed and became a great influence in the church.  Fear lost.  Trust won.

The same is possible with each of us.  Why?

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”  (Isaiah 9:6).

Therefore, “Don’t fear”!