Why We Should Not Fear
Charles Naylor, 1941
"But now, O Jacob, listen to the LORD who created you. O Israel, the one who formed you says: Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine. When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior! Because you are precious in My sight and honored, and because I love you." Isaiah 43:1-4
We are in a world full of dangers. Perils throng around us on every side. We are in peril from disease germs, from poison, from accidents, from evil people, from the forces of nature. There are so many things around us calculated, when circumstances are favorable, to destroy our life, our health, our happiness. A thousand dangers surround us on every hand!
In the spiritual realm there is a continued conflict. It is useless to cry "Peace, peace," for we are surrounded by the forces of evil.
In the midst of this evil, is it any wonder that we should fear? Why should we not be afraid? What assurance have we of the safety of body or soul? What wonder if we shrink back from the conflicts, the trials, and the dangers of life? But God calmly looks down upon it all, sees it all, and yet says again and again to us, "Fear not!" "Be not afraid!" "Let not your hearts be troubled!" Paul says, "In nothing terrified by your adversaries." How can we help being afraid? Why should not terror take hold upon us? Why should we not shrink in dismay?
Well, there are plenty of reasons why we should not. God enumerates in Isaiah 43 some of these reasons why we should not fear. There he says to his people, "Do not be afraid." He does not say this merely to make them overlook the dangers around them, or to give them a false sense of security. He says this because they really have no reason to be afraid.
In summing up the reasons why they should not be afraid, he gives the following: he calls himself "the Lord who created you." God created us as we are. He put us in the midst of all these dangers. We are weak because we are finite humans. God created us thus, and the fact that he created us, thus places upon him a responsibility with regard to us. If he places us in the midst of these temptations, trials, difficulties, and dangers—then will he not be responsible for the outcome? And if he is responsible for the outcome—then is he not responsible to see that conditions are such that we can meet these difficulties victoriously? Is he not under obligation to provide for our safety? Certainly he is. More than that, he will not shrink from the obligation that rests upon him to provide for us.
Again he says he is "he who formed you." God not only created the race of mankind, but his divine power operates in every life. The individual is the product of the operation of forces that had their origin in God. He is, therefore, responsible for the individual as well as for the race. He will not shrink from this responsibility.
Another reason he gives why we should not fear is, "For I have redeemed you." There are not only those natural sources of danger around us, but we have greatly endangered our souls for time and eternity, by doing evil in the sight of the Lord. We have permitted sin to dominate our hearts. We have let it destroy our peace and happiness. We have let it work havoc within us. We are responsible for the dangers of our souls that we bring upon ourselves.
But to those who have become his people he says, "Do not be afraid—for I have redeemed you." The power of sinful habit, has been broken. The power of iniquity that continually endangered us, has been swept away. He has made us free. He gave his only begotten Son to die for us. He paid a price greater than we can estimate, for our redemption. He has purchased us, and redeemed us from the power of sin. He gives this as one of the reasons why we should not fear. And it is an excellent reason, for since he has paid such a price for us—he will show an ongoing regard for us worthy of that price. Our welfare means much to him on this account.
Again he says, "I have called you by your name." That means he has given individual attention to us. He is individually concerned with our welfare. That feeling of individual concern for us will naturally prompt him to take such steps and provide such safeguards as will work out for our safety.
He gave Israel his name; so he has given you and me a new name—a secret name.
To whom do men give names? They give names to their sons, to those who are near and dear to them. So when God gave to us our new name and wrote it down in the book of life—he pledged himself to look out for our interests as a father looks out for the interests of his son. He accepted the full measure of responsibility that was his. He will not come short of fulfilling that responsibility to the utmost.
He emphasizes this point by saying, "You are mine!" We naturally take care of that which is ours—it has a special value to us, that the things belonging to other people do not have. We are interested more in those things that belong to us, than we are in those things that belong to others. This is perfectly natural. It is likewise natural for God to be interested in the things that belong to him. He is interested in guarding us against the assaults of the evil one—so he warns us of the places of danger, of the things that are dangerous. He points out the way of safety and says, "Walk therein."
He gives still another reason why we should not fear. "You have been precious in my sight." Why are we more careful with our pocketbooks, than we are with an almanac? Why do people build great steel safes and great vaults of steel and concrete? They do not put their hats and shoes and pocket-knives in such places when they are built. They put their treasures therein, and they put them there for safety.
Why is a lady so concerned about the safety of her jewels? They are precious in her sight. We are God's jewels. We are precious in his sight; therefore, he will take the best possible care of us.
He will guard us securely, but he gives still another reason why we should not fear. "I have loved you." Now, there is no greater reason than this. What will we not do for the safety of our loved ones? When they are in danger, what pangs of fear go through us, piercing us like darts! How forgetful of self we are at such times! What dangers we will brave! We have but to know that our loved ones are in danger, to do everything possible for their safety.
God loves us; therefore, he says, "Do not be afraid." His love is our safeguard. His love is our strength. All the strength of His love, which means all the strength of God, is at our command. Not a moment shall we be without divine help.
He gives us still another reason for not being afraid, saying, "I am with you." We might fear were we alone. We might shrink if we must provide for our own safety. But he says, "I am with you."
And here is a further promise, "Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world!" Not a moment shall we be left alone. Not a moment shall we be without divine help. Not a moment shall we be without His care!