In a portion of First Peter 2:17, Peter simply said, “Fear God.” God has demanded reverential, godly fear throughout the ceaseless ages of time (Deut. 10:12; Eccl. 12:13). Fear is a very powerful, motivating force. It has caused many to run and hide from God, including Adam and Eve (Gen. 3:8), Jonah (Jonah 1:9-10) and all who sin against the divine will of God (Heb. 10:27). It has also caused many to obey Him, including Noah (Heb. 11:7), Abraham (Gen. 22:12), the midwives of Egypt (Ex. 1:17-19), the early church (Acts 5:11) and all who are mindful of the coming judgment (2 Cor. 5:10-11).
While we are commanded to fear God, we are also encouraged in numerous passages not to be afraid. In fact, we find the expression, “Fear not,” more than sixty times in the Bible. Therefore, let us notice more carefully these words of encouragement: “Fear not.”
We should not fear because God promises to bless us through our journey in life. God appeared to Abraham in a vision and told him not to fear, promising to bless him and his generations to follow (Gen. 26:24). While the Israelites battled with King Og at the battle of Edrei, God comforted Moses with the words, “Fear not” (Num. 21:33-35).
We should not fear because God will protect us when in peril. God said in Genesis 15:1, “Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield.” Elisha told his servant, “Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them” (2 Kings 6:16).
We should not fear because God strengthens us when we are weak. Moses encouraged the Israelites and Joshua with words, “Be strong and of a good courage, fear not” (Deut. 31:6-8). God reiterates to Isaiah several times, “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee” (Isa. 41:10).
We should not fear because God is our companion in our trials. David charged his son Solomon, “Fear not, nor be dismayed: for the Lord God, even my God, will be with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee, until thou hast finished all the work for the service of the house of the Lord” (1 Chron. 28:20). Isaiah prophesies of the church’s promise by God, “Fear not: for I am with thee” (Isa. 43:1-7).
We should not fear because God cares for his children. Jesus said in Matthew 10:31, “Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.” He also said in Luke 12:32, “Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”
We should not fear because God has given life beyond the grave. Jesus told John in Revelation 1:17-18, “Fear not…I am he that liveth, and was dead.” The angel told the women at the tomb, “Fear not ye…for he is risen” (Matt. 28:5-6).
What a great comfort for God to say to his children, “[Fear not], for I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me” (Heb. 13:5-6).
While we give reverential, godly fear to God, let us put our complete trust and faith in Him so that we “Fear not!”