Today's Manna

January 9, 2017
Do Not Be Afraid
by Lisa Doucet
Scripture Reading: Genesis 14-15

The dictionary defines fear as “an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.” Some fears are rational; some are not. Mysophobia is a pathological fear of contamination and germs. Ecclesiophobia is the fear of church. Barophobia is the fear of gravity. Parents with children who are afraid of the dark (not to the extent that it is a phobia) know that in order to settle their fearful hearts children need gentle reassurance from mom or dad reminding the children of mom and dad’s presence and protection.

“Do not be afraid” is recorded for the first time in scripture in Genesis 15:1. God said it to Abram fresh on the heels of Abram’s rescue of Lot and Abram’s blessing from Melchizedek. Why would Abram be afraid after such success? Why would the “friend of God” (James 2:23) need reassurance from God? Most likely, he had taken his eyes off the One who promised him He would make him a great nation (Gen 12:3) and began to fear the vengeance of the defeated kings. He was afraid that he might die without an heir.

At the first sign of Abram’s fear, the LORD’s consolation to His friend came with a beautiful two-fold reassurance. First, God told Abram, “I am your shield.” God reminded Abram that He was his protection. “The “I Am”, the Self-existent One, the Author of existence, I am your shield.” God’s protection assured Abram, not of absolute exemption from battles, but of His entire control over them, as well as His control of Abram’s future.

Next, the reassurance of all reassurances was that Jehovah Himself was Abram’s exceedingly great reward. Abram didn’t long for the spoils of battle as his reward. He wanted God to fulfill His promise and reward him with a son. God reminded the patriarch that He, Jehovah, was his all-sufficient reward who could make his descendants as numerous as the stars of the sky.

Like Abram afraid of dying without an heir, at times fear grips us due to the circumstances of life and our growing impatience with God. During those times, God dispels our fears by gently reminding us that He is our Protector and Provider, and that He is in complete control of our lives, including our futures. If we are like Abram in fear, we need to be like Abram in faith and believe God’s promises!

“But You, O Lord, are a shield for me, my glory and the One who lifts up my head.” (Ps 3:3)

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