“DO NOT BE AFRAID” (Genesis 15:1 – part 1)
God always uses my time in India to show me special Bible promises or truths. Perhaps it is because I am more aware of my need of them during the times in India. Whatever the cause, I am very glad for them and depend on them. The ones that have meant a lot to me in the past continue to do so today. The verse that has been most significant in my thoughts during this trip is Genesis 15:1. “After this, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: ‘Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.’” This short verse actually has 2 promises as well as a significant point of theology which has really opened my mind in many new ways. Anyway, let’s look at this passage.
“After this” refers to the events in Genesis 14: namely Abraham and his servants freeing Lot from the kings who had captured him after destroying Sodom and Gomorrah. Melchizedek, a local priest of God, came to encourage Abraham and Abraham gave him tithes to God. The rest of the spoils from rescuing everyone he returned to the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah.
It was then that God spoke to him in a special way: “The word of the Lord came to Abram.” This is the first of 105 times this phrase is used in the Bible, showing God was communicating with man in a very special way. Usually this was through an audible voice, like when God spoke to Jesus at His baptism (Luke 3:22) and when Jesus spoke to Paul on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:4-6).
It is “the Lord” who spoke to Abraham – Jehovah Himself, the eternal “I Am,” YHWH – the most special, personal, redemptive name for God. It is a great, great honor for Abraham to hear from God.
Not only does He hear God, but God calls him by name: “Abram.” Can you imagine God speaking to you, addressing you by your name? How marvelous that God calls us in the Bride of Christ His personal, individual friend (John 10:3), and that He knows each of our names and needs (Psalm 147:3-4).
“Don’t be afraid” are God’s first words to Abraham. This is often how God, or angels, start when communicating with humans for our natural response when seeing their holiness is awareness of our sinfulness (Genesis 21:7; 26:24; 43:6; Exodus 14:13; Matthew 1:20; Luke 1:13, 20; Acts 18:9; 27:24). This is the first in over 100 occurrences of this greeting. God’s ‘fear not’ promises have always meant a lot to me personally for fear is something I have had to battle my whole life. It is a sin passed down in my family line. I have found great comfort in God’s wonderful ‘fear not’ promises such as Exodus 14:13; Deuteronomy 31:6; Joshua 1:6-9; Isaiah 41:10. In my counseling and spiritual warfare ministry I’ve found that fear is one of Satan’s most effective weapons. It causes man to deny his faith without realizing what he is doing. Fear is the opposite of faith. A person cannot have faith and fear at the same time, only one at a time can dwell in the human heart.
Here are some of the promise God has given me over the years which I have applied to my trips to India:
Deuteronomy 20:3-4 He shall say: “Hear, O Israel, today you are going into battle against your enemies. Do not be fainthearted or afraid; do not be terrified or give way to panic before them. 4 For the LORD your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.” God gave me this promise on my first trip to India and I’ve continued to lean on it and it almost daily since that time.
Exodus 33:14 The LORD replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”
Deuteronomy 31:6 Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Joshua 1:6-9 “Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. 7 Be strong and very courageous. … 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
Psalm 25:3, 5, 21 No one whose hope is in you will ever be put to shame, … 5 guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. … 21 May integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope is in you.
Isaiah 42:16 I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.
Genesis 28:15 I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”
2 Corinthians 12:8-10 For when I am weak, then I am strong.
What fears do you most struggle with? What is that of which you are most fearful? You must be able to name them so you can recognize them. What promises of God best fit your situation?
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