Do not be afraid

Now therefore, proclaim in the hearing of the people, saying, “Whoever is fearful and afraid, let him turn and depart at once from Mount Gilead.” And twenty-two thousand of the people returned, and ten thousand remained.

Gideon was told to announce that anyone who is afraid should go back home. Fear is contagious and the worst place to be with people who are afraid is in the frontline of a battle. It is easy to lose a battle in the company of fearful people. Fear is a negative force. It is the opposite of faith. God cannot use or work with people who are fearful. Imagine how Gideon must have felt seeing almost 2/3 of his army going back home! The enemy across the valley had a vast army that was trained. The point we are learning here is that the fearful were the first to be gotten rid of. Is your life full of fear? Granted, we all go through moments and seasons of fear. That’s why small teachings like these are important because they help us refocus on God and analyze what exactly is this we are afraid of.

It is said that the most repeated command in scripture is fear not, or one of its variations like do not be afraid. Why does God repeatedly bid us not to be afraid? To adequately answer that question will require a whole book. Briefly, at the bottom of every fear is a lack of faith in God. Fear questions the ability of our God to intervene in the situation in which we are afraid of. The problem with us is that we love to be in control of things. We are reluctant to allow God to take the driving seat while we remain in the passenger seat. We are not sure God can drive the car of our lives well. We want to be able to apply breaks when we want and turn the steering wheel when we want. We treat God like a reckless driver.

Look at a few examples of what fear has done in the past.

1.      The children of Israelites came right to the boarder of their inheritance, Canaan land. Moses sent spies to look at it and they saw giants there. They brought a report that they looked like grasshoppers. They started wailing in fear the whole night. You should hear Caleb and Joshua frantically trying to persuade the people in Numbers 14:9 saying “do not rebel against the Lord, nor fear the people of the land, for they are our bread; their protection has departed from them, and the Lord is with us. Do not fear them.” But alas, they could not trust God to deliver on his promise. All of them died in the wilderness in a space of 40 years except Caleb and Joshua. Fear causes God’s people to lose or delay their inheritance. I wonder how many promises of God in the Word we are forfeiting because of fear.

2.      Peter saw Jesus walking on the water and asked to be told to come. He got the Word, acted on it, and started walking on the water. In the middle of his miracle he removed his eyes from Jesus and saw the wind and he feared. The result is that he started sinking (Mat 14:30). Let’s make this clear. Peter was walking on the water. He had his miracle he requested. It is fear that robbed him his miracle. Do you see it? Fear cancels faith.

3.      Three people were given talents by their master and given equal opportunity to put it to work. The one who received one talent went and hid it. When the master came back he said he was afraid of the master (Mat 25:25). Fear kept him from using the talent he was given. Isn’t this what we suffer in the church? Many saints are gifted by the Holy Spirit to do great exploits for the Kingdom of God but because of fear they never step out. Fear of failure keeps them in bondage. Fear of the unknown quenches the fires of the Spirit within.

4.      In Revelation 21:8 Apostle John was given a revelation of the group of people who will spend eternity in the lake of fire. The first group to be named is the cowardly! Isn’t that something to cause us to shudder? The cowards are placed before the unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and liars!

 Beware of fear. Trust in the Lord at all times. God wants us to be men and women of courage. In subsequent lessons we will look at what it means to be courageous. Is God calling you to do something? Move on with God. The battle belongs to God. Isaiah 41:10 Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

 

Your servant,

Dr. Gilbert Mwachia