FEAR NOT! – Part 1
“After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.” Genesis 15:1
From the beginning when God established His covenant with men, He came to them, saying, “Fear not!” He needed to do this because fallen man was by nature fearful because of sin. Adam and Eve knew this emotion from the moment they ate of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. They instantly knew they were naked and they were afraid. They were naked because sin robed them of the glory of God. From the beginning they were created in the image and likeness of God, and like God they were clothed in light.
“And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.” Genesis 3:9-10
Death began in Adam and Eve instantly and their first response to their newly gained knowledge was fear. Up to that time they were in perfect peace and harmony with God and with all creation. There was no fear because there was no iniquity. Because there was no iniquity there was no sin. Because there was no sin there was no death. They lived in the presence of God and shared in His glory. They were not naked, because they were clothed in the light of God, being created in the image and likeness of God.
Nakedness and the vulnerability of fear that came with it was the result of the light of God being removed from them, because of their disobedience. And with that one act of disobedience we and all creation died with Adam and Eve. Not instantly, but the slow walk of death began with them and remains to this day.
Fear has been man’s default position from then unto this day. We are more inclined toward fear and doubt than we are toward faith and confident belief. Even from early childhood, babies instinctively respond to images, sounds and voices that are harsh, offensively loud and things that are dark and foreboding in nature, with cries and agitations, with fear. Why? Because we all have the stamp of death on our DNA, that was imprinted there in the transgression of Adam.
So when God appeared or spoke to the patriarchs and the people of old His first greeting was, “Fear not!” It is fearful to contemplate coming face to face with the ultimate Judge of all, knowing that all have been included under sin. [Galatians 3:22] With a whisper from God, the Creator and Judge, we could all be blown into oblivion.
But there were still some, even then, who heard, believed and received the word of God without fear. We have no record of God needing to exhort them to “fear not”—at least not in His first encounter with them. Such was the case with Abram. From the first mention of Abram there is only the reference that God spoke to him. [Genesis 12:1-4]
“Now the LORD had said to Abram: “Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” So Abram departed as the LORD had spoken to him, and Lot went with him. And Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran.” Genesis 12:1-4
Did you catch the exquisite simplicity of Abraham’s first encounter with the Lord? “God said to Abram: Get out of your country…and Abram departed.” Oh! Don’t you wish that our hearts and wills were so in tune with the heart of God that all He has to do is speak to us and we move immediately at His Word; no hesitation, no questioning or doubt, no fear or resistance, just humble obedience born of love, trust and faith in the One who speaks to us.
Oh Lord, let it be so even now. And it shall be, if we will proceed in all things with an attitude motivated by love. First, by love of God, then by love for our selves and our neighbors and finally even love of our enemies. That is the power of our warfare against which there is no defense.
Love never fails.