Did you know that fear is both a noun and a verb? So fear is a thing and an action?
Fear as a Noun defined as: an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.
Fear as a Verb defined as: be afraid of (someone or something) as likely to be dangerous, painful, or threatening.
Now if we look at phobia we see it is only a noun and when looking at synonyms of the noun version of fear, we find that phobia is there too.
Phobia is defined as: an extreme or irrational fear of or aversion to something.
Fear is a natural thing, that is for our protection against danger and to keep us alive, whereas the type of fear a phobia is aligns more to the acronym f.e.a.r = false evidence appearing real. There is a healthy fear that tries to keep us alive and an unhealthy f.e.a.r. that tries to destroy us. There is a rational fear and an irrational f.e.a.r. which can reduce our ability to cope with situations we are faced with.
What comes to mind when you think of the word phobia? Fears related to health? finances? failure? growing old? death? loneliness? rejection? messing up? public speaking? flying? heights? snakes? spiders? missing out on something? not being special? Anything else come to mind for you?
Now let’s turn back to God and consider what fear is described as in relations to Him.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of understanding…It’s not terror, it’s the understanding of who God is in relations to us! The Spirit of God doesn’t produce fear which is why in the Bible we read “Fear Not, Just Believe!” so many times. We aren’t to live in fear or terror of God, we are to respect, revere, be in awe, honor, adore, and worship Him! We could replace it with to love God or love for God. We aren’t to hide in fear (like we saw when Adam and Eve realized after eating from the tree of knowledge that they were naked) but rather we should live in relationship with God realizing and recognizing the power, the majesty, the holiness and the love of God! Our relationship with God (faith) is the antidote of fear! Our trust in God and our hope in God should make it so that we don’t have to worry nor be anxious (which do nothing useful or helpful for us) but rather walk in faith believing and trusting in God and His ways. Yes in this world we will have troubles, but we have God that we can turn to…Jesus reminds us that we can take heart because He overcame the world! We need to return to living with our top fear being the fear of God as that will bring a peace that goes beyond all understanding for every other fear that could come our way. Take a look around at what the people around you are afraid of…are they afraid and living in relationship with God? Do you realize how many people have walked away from God and how much f.e.a.r. has appeared in society because of it? So let’s turn back to God and allow Him to be our comfort and our guide! Let’s allow the Holy Spirit whom Jesus sent after He rose up into heaven be our comforter and counselor and our guide! Look it up…see how many times in the Bible, God tells us “do not be afraid”… what if there was a place to get a reminder daily? Take a verse a day just like vitamins! So that we could fight f.e.a.r. and take on the Joshua call “be bold and courageous” as we walk out each day! So that we could put on the full armor and stand firm on the solid rock, Jesus! So let’s take hold of the frequent command “do not be afraid” and walk out today in relations with God and trusting in Him, talking with Him, believing in Him (faith the antidote to fear).
Bible in One Year 2017 (Day 12):Prov 1:20-33, Matt 10:1-31, Gen 25, Gen 26
So let’s take a read thru today’s devotional reading to see how God wants to share the message today…
1. No fear of harm!
Proverbs speaks this to us in the following way:
whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm.”
– from Prov 1:33
So the key is the walk in relationship with God! Do not be fooled! Do not stray! The full reading for today reads as follows:
20 Out in the open wisdom calls aloud, she raises her voice in the public square;
21 on top of the wall she cries out, at the city gate she makes her speech:
22 “How long will you who are simple love your simple ways?
How long will mockers delight in mockery and fools hate knowledge?
23 Repent at my rebuke!
Then I will pour out my thoughts to you, I will make known to you my teachings.
24 But since you refuse to listen when I call
and no one pays attention when I stretch out my hand,
25 since you disregard all my advice and do not accept my rebuke,
26 I in turn will laugh when disaster strikes you;
I will mock when calamity overtakes you—
27 when calamity overtakes you like a storm,
when disaster sweeps over you like a whirlwind,
when distress and trouble overwhelm you.
28 “Then they will call to me but I will not answer;
they will look for me but will not find me,
29 since they hated knowledge and did not choose to fear the Lord.
30 Since they would not accept my advice and spurned my rebuke,
31 they will eat the fruit of their ways and be filled with the fruit of their schemes.
32 For the waywardness of the simple will kill them,
and the complacency of fools will destroy them;
33 but whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm.”
–from Proverbs 1
In Proverbs we see how important it is to be in relationship with God and to look at Him and live with Him with respect, reverence, awe, honor, adoration, and worship! We see this in the 21 times we can find “Fear of the Lord” within Proverbs. We each have to make the choice for ourselves! We can’t make the decision for others, we all have free will and get to choose if we will ask Jesus into our hearts and be saved or try to go thru life on our own and the challenges that come with the troubles that come our way and trying to manage them on our own versus having hope because we know that Jesus has overcome the world and each of these troubles! So will you choose to be wise and choose to “fear the Lord” like we read in verse 29? Will you ignore the advice and have to deal with the consequences? Jesus is this wisdom we find personalized in the book of Proverbs.
but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. — from 1 Corinthians 1:24
So let’s not be lost in the way we live our lives, wandering in the wilderness! Let’s choose to return to God and follow after Him! Let’s follow Him in the cloud by day and the fire by night! Let’s give Him the respect, reverence, awe, honor, adoration, and worship He deserves! Let’s share this hope that is within us — our faith — with the people around us in hopes that as we plant, as we water, God will be able to make it grow as He prepares their hearts to be able to receive it as good soil!
When we realize that we messed up, turn back to God and ask for forgiveness! Jesus already paid the price, and we know that if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. Let’s stick with God and allow the Holy Spirit to reveal the truth to us and give us wisdom for each situation and to give us a peace that goes beyond all understanding!
2. No fear of people
Remember the story of when Jesus sent out His disciples after giving them power in groups of 2? Remember how He told them not to be afraid? Let’s read thru it and then consider this part of today’s devotional…
Jesus Sends Out the Twelve
1 Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.
2 These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon (who is called Peter) and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; 3 Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; 4 Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.
5 These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. 6 Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. 7 As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.
9 “Do not get any gold or silver or copper to take with you in your belts—10 no bag for the journey or extra shirt or sandals or a staff, for the worker is worth his keep. 11 Whatever town or village you enter, search there for some worthy person and stay at their house until you leave.12 As you enter the home, give it your greeting. 13 If the home is deserving, let your peace rest on it; if it is not, let your peace return to you. 14 If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet. 15 Truly I tell you, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.
16 “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. 17 Be on your guard; you will be handed over to the local councils and be flogged in the synagogues. 18 On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles. 19 But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, 20 for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.
21 “Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. 22 You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. 23 When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another. Truly I tell you, you will not finish going through the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.
24 “The student is not above the teacher, nor a servant above his master.25 It is enough for students to be like their teachers, and servants like their masters. If the head of the house has been called Beelzebul, how much more the members of his household!
26 “So do not be afraid of them, for there is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. 27 What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs. 28 Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.30 And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
–from Matthew 10
So let’s follow Jesus’ example and answer the call…
- proclaiming the good news – “The kingdom of heaven is near”
- demonstrating God’s power – “heal the sick”
- freely and without reservation or fear
And just like Jesus told us, He warned the disciples that in this world they will face trials but we can consider it pure joy because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. So let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. Jesus warns them about the opposition they will face (sheep among wolves) and to put leaning on God’s wisdom (be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves). Jesus also warns of additional opposition:
- v17 Be on your guard; you will be handed over to the local councils and be flogged in the synagogues.
- v22 You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.
- v23 When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another. Truly I tell you, you will not finish going through the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.
- v25 It is enough for students to be like their teachers, and servants like their masters. If the head of the house has been called Beelzebul, how much more the members of his household!
But in all this as He sent them and as He sends us, He continues to remind us to not walk in f.e.a.r. but rather in faith:
- v26 “So do not be afraid of them, for there is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known.
- v28 Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.
- v31 So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
He will give you the words to speak!
Whenever you are arrested and brought to trial, do not worry beforehand about what to say. Just say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit. –from Mark 13:11
We will be brought before kings and be able to share on that platform the hope that is within us! In today’s reading we see it put this way:
17 Be on your guard; you will be handed over to the local councils and be flogged in the synagogues. 18 On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles. 19 But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, 20 for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. –from Matthew 10
We can put our trust in God and not worry about the threats of violence against us (what they will do or what will happen)…
28 Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.30 And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. –from Matthew 10
Let’s allow our faith to build up! Let’s allow the antidote to f.e.a.r. to guard our hearts and minds! Trust in God that no matter what happens we are in His hands and He will take care of us to accomplish His will and His purpose in and through our lives!
3. No fear of death
Life isn’t easy! Remember Jesus’ warning “in this world you will have troubles“? He didn’t say might or could, He said “will”! We see as we continue in our reading today into Genesis that this message is true from Genesis through Revelation. Let’s consider the challenges or troubles that Isaac had to face…
The Death of Abraham
25 Abraham had taken another wife, whose name was Keturah. 2 She bore him Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak and Shuah. 3 Jokshan was the father of Sheba and Dedan; the descendants of Dedan were the Ashurites, the Letushites and the Leummites. 4 The sons of Midian were Ephah, Epher, Hanok, Abida and Eldaah. All these were descendants of Keturah.
5 Abraham left everything he owned to Isaac. 6 But while he was still living, he gave gifts to the sons of his concubines and sent them away from his son Isaac to the land of the east.
7 Abraham lived a hundred and seventy-five years. 8 Then Abraham breathed his last and died at a good old age, an old man and full of years; and he was gathered to his people. 9 His sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah near Mamre, in the field of Ephronson of Zohar the Hittite, 10 the field Abraham had bought from the Hittites. There Abraham was buried with his wife Sarah. 11 After Abraham’s death, God blessed his son Isaac, who then lived near Beer Lahai Roi.
12 This is the account of the family line of Abraham’s son Ishmael, whom Sarah’s slave, Hagar the Egyptian, bore to Abraham.
13 These are the names of the sons of Ishmael, listed in the order of their birth: Nebaioth the firstborn of Ishmael, Kedar, Adbeel, Mibsam,14 Mishma, Dumah, Massa, 15 Hadad, Tema, Jetur, Naphish and Kedemah.16 These were the sons of Ishmael, and these are the names of the twelve tribal rulers according to their settlements and camps. 17 Ishmael lived a hundred and thirty-seven years. He breathed his last and died, and he was gathered to his people. 18 His descendants settled in the area from Havilah to Shur, near the eastern border of Egypt, as you go toward Ashur. And they lived in hostility toward all the tribes related to them.
Jacob and Esau
19 This is the account of the family line of Abraham’s son Isaac.
Abraham became the father of Isaac, 20 and Isaac was forty years oldwhen he married Rebekah daughter of Bethuel the Aramean from Paddan Aram and sister of Laban the Aramean.
21 Isaac prayed to the Lord on behalf of his wife, because she was childless. The Lord answered his prayer, and his wife Rebekah became pregnant. 22 The babies jostled each other within her, and she said, “Why is this happening to me?” So she went to inquire of the Lord.
23 The Lord said to her,
“Two nations are in your womb,
and two peoples from within you will be separated;
one people will be stronger than the other,
and the older will serve the younger.”
24 When the time came for her to give birth, there were twin boys in her womb. 25 The first to come out was red, and his whole body was like a hairy garment; so they named him Esau. 26 After this, his brother came out, with his hand grasping Esau’s heel; so he was named Jacob. Isaac was sixty years old when Rebekah gave birth to them.
27 The boys grew up, and Esau became a skillful hunter, a man of the open country, while Jacob was content to stay at home among the tents.28 Isaac, who had a taste for wild game, loved Esau, but Rebekah loved Jacob.
29 Once when Jacob was cooking some stew, Esau came in from the open country, famished. 30 He said to Jacob, “Quick, let me have some of that red stew! I’m famished!” (That is why he was also called Edom.)
31 Jacob replied, “First sell me your birthright.”
32 “Look, I am about to die,” Esau said. “What good is the birthright to me?”
33 But Jacob said, “Swear to me first.” So he swore an oath to him, selling his birthright to Jacob.
34 Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and some lentil stew. He ate and drank, and then got up and left.
So Esau despised his birthright.
Isaac and Abimelek
26 Now there was a famine in the land—besides the previous famine in Abraham’s time—and Isaac went to Abimelek king of the Philistines in Gerar. 2 The Lord appeared to Isaac and said, “Do not go down to Egypt;live in the land where I tell you to live. 3 Stay in this land for a while, and I will be with you and will bless you. For to you and your descendants I will give all these lands and will confirm the oath I swore to your father Abraham. 4 I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and will give them all these lands, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, 5 because Abraham obeyed me and did everything I required of him, keeping my commands, my decrees and my instructions.” 6 So Isaac stayed in Gerar.
7 When the men of that place asked him about his wife, he said, “She is my sister,” because he was afraid to say, “She is my wife.” He thought, “The men of this place might kill me on account of Rebekah, because she is beautiful.”
8 When Isaac had been there a long time, Abimelek king of the Philistines looked down from a window and saw Isaac caressing his wife Rebekah. 9 So Abimelek summoned Isaac and said, “She is really your wife! Why did you say, ‘She is my sister’?”
Isaac answered him, “Because I thought I might lose my life on account of her.”
10 Then Abimelek said, “What is this you have done to us? One of the men might well have slept with your wife, and you would have brought guilt upon us.”
11 So Abimelek gave orders to all the people: “Anyone who harms this man or his wife shall surely be put to death.”
12 Isaac planted crops in that land and the same year reaped a hundredfold, because the Lord blessed him. 13 The man became rich, and his wealth continued to grow until he became very wealthy. 14 He had so many flocks and herds and servants that the Philistines envied him. 15 So all the wells that his father’s servants had dug in the time of his father Abraham, the Philistines stopped up, filling them with earth.
16 Then Abimelek said to Isaac, “Move away from us; you have become too powerful for us.”
17 So Isaac moved away from there and encamped in the Valley of Gerar,where he settled. 18 Isaac reopened the wells that had been dug in the time of his father Abraham, which the Philistines had stopped up after Abraham died, and he gave them the same names his father had given them.
19 Isaac’s servants dug in the valley and discovered a well of fresh water there. 20 But the herders of Gerar quarreled with those of Isaac and said, “The water is ours!” So he named the well Esek, because they disputed with him. 21 Then they dug another well, but they quarreled over that one also; so he named it Sitnah. 22 He moved on from there and dug another well, and no one quarreled over it. He named it Rehoboth, saying, “Now the Lord has given us room and we will flourish in the land.”
23 From there he went up to Beersheba. 24 That night the Lord appeared to him and said, “I am the God of your father Abraham. Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bless you and will increase the number of your descendants for the sake of my servant Abraham.”
25 Isaac built an altar there and called on the name of the Lord. There he pitched his tent, and there his servants dug a well.
26 Meanwhile, Abimelek had come to him from Gerar, with Ahuzzath his personal adviser and Phicol the commander of his forces. 27 Isaac asked them, “Why have you come to me, since you were hostile to me and sent me away?”
28 They answered, “We saw clearly that the Lord was with you; so we said, ‘There ought to be a sworn agreement between us’—between us and you. Let us make a treaty with you 29 that you will do us no harm,just as we did not harm you but always treated you well and sent you away peacefully. And now you are blessed by the Lord.”
30 Isaac then made a feast for them, and they ate and drank. 31 Early the next morning the men swore an oath to each other. Then Isaac sent them on their way, and they went away peacefully.
32 That day Isaac’s servants came and told him about the well they had dug. They said, “We’ve found water!” 33 He called it Shibah, and to this day the name of the town has been Beersheba.
Jacob Takes Esau’s Blessing
34 When Esau was forty years old, he married Judith daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and also Basemath daughter of Elon the Hittite. 35 They were a source of grief to Isaac and Rebekah.
–from Genesis 25:1-26:35
Let’s try to learn from the past so that we won’t repeat it! Let’s not allow our f.e.a.r. to cause us to get tripped up and fall but rather let’s walk each step asking God for wisdom in every situation to be able to accomplish His will and His purpose in and through it all! We will face trials of many kinds and they will be used to build up our faith and help us to mature! If we trip up we just need to remember to turn back to God and ask Him for forgiveness and to help us get back on track! Sometimes we learn from others and other times we need to go thru it to really understand it and get it! When God makes you a promise, you can be sure He will complete it because He is faithful and true! Don’t allow f.e.a.r. to rob you of that peace that goes beyond all understanding by trusting in God! Remember that God is with you each step of the way! Yes there may be tests where we find we don’t hear from Him, but as with most tests (even in school) the teachers don’t usually explain it in the moment since it will help us learn and use our experiences to move forward! Allow God to bless you! Ask Jesus into your heart and to clean out the past and help you to walk out your present and future! Let’s be the church and help people to be able to come and hear about and receive the living water Jesus spoke of to the woman at the well!
So today let’s take hold of a relationship with God and allow the fear of the Lord to be our beginning of understanding! Let’s let go of the f.e.a.r. that tries to trip us up and keep us from all that God has planned and has in store for us! Let’s remember we are not alone! “I am with you” says the Lord!
Today’s Devotional Reading:
Today’s Devotional: Day 12 – Bible in One Year 2017