Remember this command: Fear not.

Published 9:35 pm Friday, March 17, 2017

By Dr. Thurman R. Hayes Jr.

One of the most debilitating things we deal with in life is fear. Perhaps that’s why God, in His love, commands us to “fear not” more often than just about any other command in His Word.

We are so prone to it. We fear what other people are saying about us. We fear the future. We fear things related to our jobs. We fear poor health. We fear that we won’t have enough money. We fear war and terrorism, or possibly being a victim of crime closer to home.

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Yet, if we know God, we have no logical reason to fear. Psalm 34:7 promises that “The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them.”

In the book of 2 Kings, we see a powerful example of this.

The King of Syria is making war on Israel. He especially wants to do permanent harm to one of Israel’s prophets, Elisha. Finally, he surrounds Elisha at the city of Dothan. Elisha’s servant walks out of the tent in the morning to see that the forces of the enemy are literally surrounding the city. He looks up to the hills that surround Dothan, and the horses and chariots of the enemy are everywhere he looks.

The servant urgently points this out to Elisha, and asks, “Oh, sir, what will we do now?”

Yet Elisha is calm and unafraid. He says to his servant, “Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”

What did Elisha mean? To the naked eye, nobody was with them. They were alone, and the horses and chariots of the enemy were many.

“Then Elisha prayed and said, ‘O Lord, please open his eyes that he may see.’ So the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.” (2 Kings 6:17)

Just as God opened the eyes of Elisha’s servant to see the reality of the divine protection all around them, may God open our eyes to see and understand that “The Lord encamps around those who fear him.” (Psalm 34:7)

We do not walk alone, if we know God. Jesus promises those who know Him that “I am with you always.” (Matthew 28:20)

One night, a terrible storm came up on the Sea of Galilee. The waves were about to swamp the boat, and the disciples were utterly terrified. Yet, one who was in the boat was not troubled at all. Jesus was asleep with his head on a cushion.

His disciples, who were terrified, woke him and said, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”

“And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, ‘Peace! Be still!’ And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And he said to them, ‘Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?’” (Mark 4:39-40)

Remember God’s Word the next time you are tempted to be afraid.

Dr. Thurman R. Hayes is senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Suffolk. Follow him on Twitter at @ThurmanHayesJr.