20. You Freedom Is One Word From God Away

BibleGenesis 46:3 NKJV So He said, “I am God, the God of your father; do not fear to go down to Egypt, for I will make of you a great nation there.

It’s not exactly clear what Jacob feared. He had just discovered that his beloved son Joseph, whom he thought was dead, was second in command of Egypt next to Pharaoh himself. One might think this would eliminate any fear by having such a powerful member of the family so high up in government. Perhaps he feared the long journey because of his old age. Perhaps he remembered the Word to his grandfather Abraham about his descendants becoming servants in a foreign land for 400 years (Genesis 15:13). Maybe, he remembered the Lord telling his father Isaac not to go to Egypt (Genesis 26:2). Whatever the reason, Jacob feared the move. But, notice that his fears were dispelled after one encounter with God.

It’s amazing what one Word from God will do for you in a situation. I remember a time back in 2003… My wife was eight months pregnant with our second child. We had also recently left our home church due to a severe shift in doctrine and direction. The ministry I served was considering relocation. Not to mention, I had promised my wife (who had supported the family, while I took care of our son, went to Bible School and got my feet wet in ministry) that whatever it took she could stay at home with our children. I knew I was called to ministry, but our extended family although supportive questioned that direction, and were concerned for our financial welfare. Valarie had a good job and the prospects I was receiving were not anywhere close to the same league. I began to feel anxious and fear began to creep in. I began to fervently seek the Lord as I definitely needed divine direction in what to do. I literally shut myself in the our bedroom closet one day on my knees away from all distractions, determined to read His Word and pray until I knew what to do.

I read a few Scriptures from Ephesians and James and I began to pray. I prayed first in the natural, pouring my heart to God. Then I prayed in the spirit. I’m not sure how long I prayed, but I prayed until I “hit a gusher” as some old time Pentecostals used to say. I prayed until I got over into a place in the Spirit where I was no longer concerned with the things of this world and my natural mind quit thinking of my situation and shifted over into neutral. There in His presence, the Lord simply spoke, “Serve this man and this woman and do what is before you to do.” Although, this probably doesn’t sound like much to anyone else, I had my answer. I knew exactly what it meant. I knew that no matter where the ministry I had been serving went, I was to go too. I knew that God would open doors of opportunity for me in ministry and He would provide a job and take care of my family. Even though our situation had yet to change, it had changed. It was different because all fear, angst and concern had dissipated. They were gone because of that one encounter and Word from God.

When you are worrying or fearful about any situation in life, remember to take some time to hear from heaven. Get in His presence. Read His Word. Pray. Then shut up and listen. Your freedom from fear is only one Word from God away… and we serve a God who speaks (Hebrews 12:25). So, Fear Not.

19. Don’t Let Fear Consume You

fear-of-water-picGenesis 42:35-36 NKJV Then it happened as they emptied their sacks, that surprisingly each man’s bundle of money was in his sack; and when they and their father saw the bundles of money, they were afraid. (36) And Jacob their father said to them, “You have bereaved me: Joseph is no more, Simeon is no more, and you want to take Benjamin. All these things are against me.”

Genesis 43:18 NKJV Now the men were afraid because they were brought into Joseph’s house; and they said, “It is because of the money, which was returned in our sacks the first time, that we are brought in, so that he may make a case against us and seize us, to take us as slaves with our donkeys.”

When Jacob saw the money bags that had been mysteriously returned in his sons’ sacks of grain and heard that Simeon was taken prisoner pending his brothers return with Benjamin, he was filled with fear. He immediately began to think the worse. Jacob began confessing that his son Simeon was dead. Then he continued down that same path fearing the death of Benjamin and the rest of his sons should they return again to Egypt.

Jacob had no proof of any of this. It was all merely a horrible fantasy that grew as he meditated on his fear. You see, fear causes one to awfullize a situation and believe it is worse than it actually is. When we meditate, think on, or dwell on our fear or concern, we create a cycle where we begin to imagine potential negative outcomes. These new thoughts increase our anxiety and lead us to fear even more. This continues in a downward spiral until we are completely consumed with fear.

For every negative, fearful situation your imagination can create, there are multiple, favorable, and amazingly wonderful outcomes as well. Just as fear grows and is magnified by meditating on fearful thoughts, faith grows and is magnified as we think on things that are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, good reports, virtuous, and praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8). God’s Word and His promises to us are all these things. The Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 10:17 that, “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” You can grow your fear or your faith. The choice is yours.

In every situation, you have a choice. You can allow fear to consume you, meditate on horrible outcomes, awfullizing the situation and literally make yourself sick with grief, or you can build yourself up with faith in the Word of God. Mediate on good things, and FEAR NOT!

Philippians 4:8 NKJV Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.

18. God Did Not Author Your Fear

2s8fyipGenesis 42:28, 35 NKJV So he said to his brothers, “My money has been restored, and there it is, in my sack!” Then their hearts failed them and they were afraid, saying to one another, “What is this that God has done to us?”
(35) Then it happened as they emptied their sacks, that surprisingly each man’s bundle of money was in his sack; and when they and their father saw the bundles of money, they were afraid.

2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

Jacob, now called Israel, had sent ten of his sons to Egypt to buy grain during a severe famine. Unknown to them, they purchased the grain from their brother, Joseph, whom they had sold into slavery many years before out of jealousy and anger. Long story short, Joseph was now the second most powerful person in Egypt. He missed his family and longed to see them and his youngest brother again. He also wanted to see if the brothers who had mistreated him had changed. He concocted a grand scenario that included secretly returning the money his brothers bought the grain with. He wanted to “trap” them in his deception and keep one of the brothers to ensure they would return again with his youngest brother, Benjamin.

Notice the words used in verse 28 to describe how the brothers felt when they discovered their money had been mysteriously returned to them. “Then their hearts failed them and they were afraid.” The initial shock of discovering the money caused them to greatly fear. Instantly, they were consumed with panic. Also note the first thing they did was blame God. “What is this that God has done to us?” God didn’t do anything against them… Joseph did, but they didn’t know that.

When circumstances go awry and fear sets in, people generally react one of two ways. They either look to God for help or they look to God to blame. Second Timothy 1:7 tells us that God does not give of fear, cowardice, or dread. Instead, He gives us strength, love, and a sound mind, or moderate controlled thinking. If you have ever been over taken by fear, you know that controlled thinking is something you definitely do not have. God desires that we have peaceful thought and not be tormented by fear. He did not give you the spirit of fear nor cause your fearful situation. If He did, that would be true reason to fear. Instead He has given us strength, power, love, and peaceful sound thinking through Christ Jesus.

Remember the two thieves were faced with the fear of death while being crucified with Jesus. One was embittered against God and ridiculed Christ; the other turned to God, knowing that God was not to blame for his present situation, and instead looked to Jesus for help and mercy in his time of need. That man was comforted and found the peace of God. Remember, when fear comes and rears its dreadful head, God did not author the fear inducing situation in your life. He has not given you the spirit of fear. Instead of blaming God, look to Him for help in anxious times. He will give you strength, love, and a sound mind so you can FEAR NOT.

17. Helping Others Through Fear

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Genesis 35:17 NKJV Now it came to pass, when she was in hard labor, that the midwife said to her, “Do not fear; you will have this son also.”

Never underestimate the power and influence that your words have on others. Jacob’s wife Rachel was having an extremely difficult labor. We don’t know the extent of the complications, but they were extreme enough that they ultimately took her life. Rachel undoubtedly began to fear for her own life, but even more so for the life of her unborn child.

This would be the birth of her second son. For 17 years she had been longing to conceive and give birth and have another boy. Rachel & Jacob had their first son Joseph seven years after they married. Jacob already had six sons from Leah and another four sons from their maid servants. Rachel longed to have another boy for Jacob and boldly proclaimed the Lord would give her another son (Genesis 30:24). Seventeen years later she gave birth to Benjamin and feared her own death, her greatest fear was her baby would die. Then her midwife said, “Do no fear; you will have this son also.” Oh how that sweet voice of confidence must have encouraged Rachel in that moment.

When we speak faith-filled words to people in the midst of their terrifying situations, especially to those who know the promises and faithfulness of God, our words of faith act as a stabilizing force. They arrest their fearful thoughts and redirect them to God’s unchanging Word. In the fast paced and unsteady world we live in today, we have ample opportunities to encourage one another by speaking faith-filled words when others begin to fear. The next time someone is anxious about an upcoming bill or is in fear over a doctor report, tell them, “Don’t be afraid.” Then remind them of their prayer or a promise from God’s Word. Don’t let fear have its way in the lives of people you know. Tell them they don’t have to fear.

16. Remind the Lord and FEAR NOT!

des311j_remember_photogram_02Genesis 32:6-7 NKJV Then the messengers returned to Jacob, saying, “We came to your brother Esau, and he also is coming to meet you, and four hundred men are with him.” (7) So Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed; and he divided the people that were with him, and the flocks and herds and camels, into two companies.

Genesis 32:9-12 NKJV Then Jacob said, “O God of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac, the LORD who said to me, ‘Return to your country and to your family, and I will deal well with you’: (10) I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies and of all the truth which You have shown Your servant; for I crossed over this Jordan with my staff, and now I have become two companies. (11) Deliver me, I pray, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau; for I fear him, lest he come and attack me and the mother with the children. (12) For You said, ‘I will surely treat you well, and make your descendants as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude.’ “

Notice here what Jacob did when he found himself gripped by fear; he began praying to God and quoting the Lord’s promises to him. He put God in remembrance of His Word (Isaiah 43:26). Not that God is forgetful, but by putting “God in remembrance”, we remind ourselves of those very same promises. This inspires faith in us as we plea our case or petition to the Lord in our circumstance. And we shift our eyes from the circumstance that has caused us to fear and set them on the promises of God.

Isaiah 43:26 NKJV Put Me in remembrance; Let us contend together; State your case, that you may be acquitted.

Now we are in agreement with what God has said. Isaiah 43:26 tells us, that we begin to contend together with God. The word translated “contend” here could also be translated “plead, argue, or judge.” The word “Shaphat” literally means to vindicate or pass a sentence, painting a picture of a judge delivering his decision in a case and banging the gavel. When we quit focusing on our fears and instead look to the promises of God and speak His Word, we join with God in declaring His judgment and sentence over our situation. So, FEAR NOT. The controversy is over. God is for you and not against you. Find His promises, trust Him, and speak His Word. As you do, you can climb right up on the throne of God, and together with Him, bang the gavel and pass judgment on the situation. So, fear not, YOU WIN.

15. Just Follow His Word

ebecc052113181-5608cfc8e661eGenesis 31:31 NKJV Then Jacob answered and said to Laban, “Because I was afraid, for I said, ‘Perhaps you would take your daughters from me by force.’

After Jacob’s nefarious dealings with his uncle Laban over a 20 year span, Jacob feared that Laban wouldn’t allow him to leave and would force him to work the rest of his life for him. He worked for Laban for seven years to marry Rachel, only to receive her sister Leah instead. Then had to work another seven years to marry the woman of his dreams. Then he worked six additional years to earn some livestock, during which his wages were changed ten times. Jacob was ready to go. He longed to be out from under the thumb of his cheat of an uncle. Then the Lord told Jacob to return to his hometown.

Genesis 31:3 NKJV Then the LORD said to Jacob, “Return to the land of your fathers and to your family, and I will be with you.”

Jacob was in bondage. He was in bondage to Laban’s schemes and in bondage to the fear of what Laban would do to him. God doesn’t want us to fear. God is our deliverer. Jesus came to set us free. John 8:36 says, “Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.” God had shown himself faithful to Jacob by giving him supernatural wisdom through a dream of how to prosper and grow his flock while working for Laban. Now God wanted Jacob to return home. Jacob was afraid but he obeyed the voice of God, packed up his family and left. Though I don’t agree with the way Jacob left, as he did not leave honorably, he did obey the voice of God nonetheless. When we obey God’s Word, we have nothing to fear.

Laban set out to capture Jacob and his family, but God intervened and sternly cautioned Laban to be careful with how he spoke to Jacob. You see when God asks us to do something, He makes Himself responsible for the outcome when we act in obedience to His Word. If God has asked you to do something like volunteer in children’s ministry, quit smoking, or tell your neighbor about Jesus, then He is right there with you to accomplish the task. So, FEAR NOT.

14. You Are Blessed

blessed-thumbGenesis 26:24 NKJV And the LORD appeared to him the same night and said, “I am the God of your father Abraham; do not fear, for I am with you. I will bless you and multiply your descendants for My servant Abraham’s sake.”

God is with us. What and amazing reality. The Lord God appeared to Isaac and told him that He was with him. I’m sure that simple message cast all fear in Isaac’s mind aside. The knowledge that God is with you eliminates any potential fear because of his awesome presence.

“But, what about me”, you may ask. If you’ve been born again, God wants you to know that He is with you too. In Isaiah 7:14, Isaiah prophesied about a the virgin birth. He said the Son born would be called Immanuel, God with us. WOW! God with us. Jesus was and is the fulfillment of that Scripture (Matthew 1:23). Jesus is God with us and He is with us by His Spirit always (John 14:26). Since God is with us we have nothing to fear. FEAR NOT

God has blessed us. God’s blessing upon Isaac meant that no curse could cling to him and no problematic neighbors could keep him from the promises of God. Isaac was blessed by God because of the covenant Abraham had with God. Galatians 3:29 tells us that if we are Christ’s than we can receive the same blessing Isaac received which stemmed from the promise that God gave Abraham. Since God has blessed us, no curse can cling to us. So FEAR NOT.

Galatians 3:29 NKJV And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed,
and heirs according to the promise.