There are 501 occurrences of the word fear in the King James version of the Bible. The word afraid, first appeared in Genesis 3:10. Adam heard the voice of his Creator and he was afraid. We know the story. We know that Adam and Eve had disobeyed God’s explicit instructions.
They had eaten the fruit from the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. We know that sin and fear and intricately woven together. But did you know that God and fear are also intertwined? Don’t start stoning me just yet, let’s work through it together.
There’s an urban legend that the phrase “Do not fear” appears 365 times in the Bible. I call it an urban legend because I can’t prove it. Because the phrasing differs per translation, it gets a little tricky to try and track down that exact phrase.
What I can tell you from my own Bible reading, is that the phrase occurs a lot. Ever since that first occurrence with Adam after the Fall, fear seems to be our natural reaction.
We are afraid when we come into God’s presence. We are afraid in our dealings with our peers. We are afraid in the presence of our enemies. But I have noticed that God is quick to reassure His people.
He reassures them when they come into His presence.
And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last.” Revelation 1:17
He reassures them when He gives them a task to do.
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
He reassures them when they face their enemies.
“When you go out to battle against your enemies, and see horses and chariots and people more numerous than you, do not be afraid of them; for the Lord your God is with you, who brought you up from the land of Egypt.
And he shall say to them, ‘Hear, O Israel: Today you are on the verge of battle with your enemies. Do not let your heart faint, do not be afraid, and do not tremble or be terrified because of them;
Deuteronomy 20:1, 3
Our God is quick to remind us that we have no need to fear as long we depend on Him.
Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. John 14:27
The authority of the Bible rests on the authority of God. God is Supreme over all things including shame and fear. He has already given us the victory and the tools we need to defeat fear, or at least, keep it under our control. Take a few moments to read through these BibleGateway.com searches:
You have the power to control your fear. That’s one of the gifts that we receive from the Holy Spirit.
Challenge: What is your greatest fear? How can Jesus’ statements in John 14 help you to get your fears under control?