Genesis 15:1 reads “After these things the word of the Lord came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.”
Why would God start his talk with Abram with the words, “Fear not”? What was Abram afraid of? Although it is extremely possible that the very visible presence of the Almighty and Sovereign God invoked in Abram a sense of trepidation, as is described by the patriarch Job (Job 23:13-16), contextually we are given clues as to the reasons why Abram might have been afraid. Abram had just returned from war victoriously and he could have feared the retaliation of the kingdoms, whose kings, Abram had slaughtered in battle (Genesis 14). It is also possible that his rejection of the offer of the king of Sodom could have had consequences, which could have made Abram afraid. While the reasons for Abram’s fear is unbeknownst to us, we know that the very first words, from the mouth of God, to Abram, before his promise of protection (shield) and provision (reward), was “Fear not”. Noteworthily, this is the first time that the phrase “Fear not” is used in the Old Testament record of the Bible.
Interestingly, this is the same phrase that is used to start God’s conversation with man, in the New Testament record of the Bible as well, for God starts out by telling Joseph (the husband of Mary) to “Fear not” (Matthew 1:20) and tells Mary herself to “Fear not” for she had found favor with the Lord (Luke 1:30).
It is important to note that it is not courage, but faith, which is the opposite of fear, as we learn from the record when Jesus calms the storm. Upon calming the storm, notice Jesus did not question, “Why are ye so fearful? Why is it that you have no courage?”, but instead questioned “Why are ye so fearful? Why is it that you have no faith?”.(Mark 4:40) Abram, who believed God in the past needed to continue to trust in him, by faith.
Points to ponder:
There are many fears that assail us – the fear of death (of losing life or a loved one), the fear of despair (of losing a job or a project), the fear of failure, the fear of rejection, the fear of commitment … and the list goes on. What God is telling us today, is “Fear not” He is our protector and provider. We need to trust in him. In other words, we need to “Faith up”. God is not looking for courage in us, but he is looking for our faith in him.
When we go through the storms of life, let it NOT be so, that Jesus should wake up and testify of us, as “Oh, ye of little or no faith”. (Matthew 8:26; Mark 4:0).
All those who have found favor with God have no reasons to fear. Those who have believed in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior are adopted into God’s family, finding favor with him. Have you found favor in the Lord or do you still have reasons to fear?
Genesis 15:1 (KJV)
1 After these things the word of the Lord came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.