“I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him!
At the outbreak of the Great Depression, Franklin Roosevelt famously said, “The only thing we have to fear is, fear itself!” And, of course, there’s a kind of wisdom in that. Many times fear alone is enough to mess us up and keep us from even trying to do the things God has called us to do. Fear of failure. Fear of ridicule. Fear of negative consequences. We think, “If I speak up, I could lose my job. I could lose my friends. If I take a stand on this matter, it could cost me!” So, many times fear of man is enough to shut our mouths as Christians and make us hide our lamp under a bushel basket!
That’s probably why such fear remains an effective tactic of the enemy as he carries out his war against us! He knows, if he can make us afraid, he can stop us from even trying to be faithful to God’s Word! Perhaps that’s why God is always having to say to his people, “Fear Not!” He says it to Abraham in Gen 15:1, “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield”; to Isaac in Gen 26:24, “I am the God of Abraham . . . Fear not, for I am with you”; and to Israel in Exo 14:13, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the LORD.” And he repeats those same words of assurance on a number of occasions in the New Testament – to Zechariah, to Mary, to Joseph, to Peter, to the Disciples, and many others – “Do not be afraid!” Because so often we are afraid! It just seems like we need to hear these words again and again. Where do you need to hear them today? Where is the enemy pressing in and trying to provoke you to the kind of fear that will make you shrink back from faithfulness to Christ? This morning, Lord willing, we will learn how to overcome our fear of man by learning the good grace of the fear the Lord in Nehemiah 6:1-14.
Learning the freedom and joy found in the fear of the Lord!