Don't Be Afraid!
P. G. Mathew | Sunday, September 13, 2009
Copyright © 2009, P. G. Mathew
"When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. ‘Oh, my lord, what shall we do?' the servant asked. ‘Don't be afraid,' the prophet answered. ‘Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.'” — 2 Kings 6:15–16
Don't be afraid! This is a command to every child of God. It is a word that God is speaking to all who are afraid—afraid of life, afraid of problems, afraid of the future.
Ben-Hadad II, the king of Aram, wanted to arrest Elisha because the man of God was giving intelligence reports to the king of Israel by supernatural powers. One morning Elisha's servant discovered that Ben-Hadad's army with horses and chariots was surrounding the city of Dothan where his master Elisha was. Afraid of being captured with Elisha and killed by the Syrian army, he cried out to Elisha, ‘My lord, what shall we do?” The prophet replied, "Don't be afraid.”
Saints of God, God is speaking to you through this passage: Don't be afraid. What are you afraid of? Going to school? A new job? The world, the devil, or his demons? The uncertainties of today's economic or political situation? I hope you will identify what you are afraid of and then listen to what God is saying to you: Don't be afraid.
Holy Angels Are with Us
Why should we not be afraid? God condescends to give us a reason in verse 16: "Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”
God's heavenly army is with us, with horses and chariots of fire. Remember how one angel of God destroyed 185,000 mighty soldiers of the army of Sennacherib and brought victory to King Hezekiah? God's people are always surrounded by his holy angels. The Hebrews writer tells us, "Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?” (Heb. 1:14). Angels are with us as we worship God. Paul mentions this presence of angels in his injunction to women: "For this reason and because of the angels, a woman ought to have a sign of authority on her head” (1 Cor. 11:10).
Angels were sent to minister to Elijah in the wilderness: "All at once an angel touched him and said, ‘Get up and eat.' He looked around, and there by his head was a cake of bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again” (1 Kings 19:5–6). Jesus himself was assisted by holy angels. At the conclusion of his temptation in the desert, angels came and attended him (Matt. 4:11). While he was praying earnestly at Gethsemane, Jesus was strengthened by an angel from heaven (Luke 22:43). When Jesus was arrested, he said to his disciples, "Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions1 of angels?” (Matt. 26:53).
Even today God sends angels according to his sovereign will to minister to his holy people. That is why we can say, "Don't be afraid.” We are God's people. He will defend us and protect us. He will never leave us nor forsake us. God and his holy angels will defeat our enemies because our enemies are God's enemies. Any false brothers, or the world, or the devil and his demons cannot touch us.
We are in the hand of Christ and in the hand of the Father. Who can snatch us out of his mighty hand? We are precious to him. We are his portion and inheritance, having been redeemed by the precious blood of Christ. God spared us from eternal destruction by not sparing his own Son. So go ahead and look at your enemies, but then, through the eye of faith, look at the horses and chariots of fire surrounding us and at the triune God himself who is with us to defend us. We are his beloved church, his beloved bride. The gates of hell shall not prevail against us. We are clothed with the Holy Spirit and heavenly power; who can defeat us? Therefore, we resist the devil. And the Bible says when we do so in the name of Jesus Christ, the devil shall flee from us.
God Himself Is with Us
Have Faith in God
Therefore, look at your problem and carefully analyze it. But do not stop there. By faith look at God in the word and in prayer daily. He is God Almighty, who loved us from all eternity and sent his Son to die for our sins. Look at the Son, who loved us and loves us as a bridegroom loves his bride. (PGM) Look at the Holy Spirit who indwells us, guides us, and empowers us. Abraham looked at his dead body, but then he looked at God, who raises the dead (Rom. 4:18–21). Have faith in God, who promised to save us. Let God be true and all men liars. God is truth; he cannot lie. Believe in God and his promises, and you will not be afraid.
God and his mighty holy angels are with us. Remember how Jacob was afraid of his brother Esau? But God encouraged him: "Jacob also went on his way, and the angels of God met him. When Jacob saw them, he said, ‘This is the camp of God.' So he named the place Mahanaim” (Gen. 32:1–2), which means "two camps.” God and his angels were coming to help Jacob. So also God and his angels are for us to guide us, guard us, and provide for us. The psalmist says, "The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them” (Ps. 34:7). John Newton wrote, "'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear and grace my fears relieved.” Elsewhere we read, "For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands so that you will not strike your foot against a stone” (Ps. 91:11–12). Hear the words faithful Hezekiah spoke to his people when they were threatened by Sennacherib: "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid and discouraged because of the king of Assyria and the vast army with him, for there is a greater power with us than with him. With him is only the arm of flesh, but with us is the LORD our God to help us and to fight our battles” (2 Chron. 32:7–8).
Many of us have experienced great troubles. Sometimes it seems that people want to swallow us up. But they cannot do so because God is with us. The Lord declares, "And I myself will be a wall of fire around [Jerusalem] . . . and I will be its glory within” (Zech. 2:5). God himself forms a wall of fire around his church to protect it. Do you think anyone can sneak through this wall to destroy us? They will all be burned up. And not only is the Lord Jesus Christ a wall of fire around the church, but he is also her glory within. This is true of every believer in the church. God is around us and he is in us.
Paul asks, "What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Rom. 8:31). What is the answer? No one! So John writes, "You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world” (1 John 4:4).
As I face problems, I also experience the Holy Spirit coming upon me, clothing me with confidence and power, so that I will not be afraid. Every day God speaks to us as we face the day and its situations, saying, "Do not let anyone intimidate you. You are my people. Don't be afraid” It is a command.
Paul writes, "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: ‘For your sake we face death all day long;we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.' No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:35–39).
May God open our spiritual eyes to see the true reality, just as he opened the eyes of the servant of Elisha so that he too could see the hills full of horses and chariots of fire surrounding him. Yes, we are not naïve or ignorant; we know that we have enemies because we preach the true gospel. The devil and demons hate us. The world hates us. False brothers and false churches hate us. The Arameans wanted to arrest Elisha and his servant. Our enemies want to destroy all true pastors and true churches. But remember that we are held by Jesus Christ in his right hand.
Don't be afraid! Because God and his angels are with us, we are invincible. No one can destroy us because in order to destroy us, our enemies must destroy God. Yes, God may permit us to be killed when our work on earth is done. But death itself is a servant of God, for it opens the door of heaven to us. To us to live is Christ and to die is gain. To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord, which is much better. So do not be afraid. Perfect love casts out all fear. Be filled with God's Spirit and live an overcoming life. Take to heart the words of Jesus: "I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Listen to what Paul says to the Corinthians: "Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong.”
Faith in God can move the mighty mountains, faith can calm the troubled sea.
Faith can make the desert like a fountain, and faith will bring the victory.
Have faith in God, have faith in God,
have faith in God for your salvation, have faith in God.
1 That is seventy-two thousand angels.
Thank you for reading. If you found this content useful or encouraging, let us know by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright © 2009, P. G. Mathew
Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® (1984 version). Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com The "NIV" and "New International Version" are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.™