Summary: “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.” (Matt. 10:29-31)
Theme: Fear not
Text: Gen. 21:8-21; Rom. 6:1-11; Matt. 10:24-39
The technological age has given us easy access to information that was impossible a few years ago. The click of a computer tab can scan a document for specific words, list them and count them. The words “Fear not” occur 365 times in some versions of the Bible. In the Bible everything is there for a reason and nothing can be attributed to coincidence. The reason the words “Fear not” appear 365 times is to point to the need to apply them every single day of the year. This is because fear is a major problem everyone faces and has to deal with. The news, our conversations and the many advises we hear leads to fear. Even in Churches many pronouncements are often made that lead to fear. The result of fear is seen in the experience of Job when he said “the thing which I greatly feared has come upon me, and that which I was afraid of has come to me.” (Job 3:25) There is a story of a man who saw a terrible person named death going towards his town. When asked what he was planning to do Death replied that he was going to the town to collect five people. The man immediately went back and told the town people what death was planning to do. The next time he met death he asked why he took more than a thousand people when he said he was only going to take five. Death replied that he only took five and that the rest died from fear. Fear not and save your life.
The origin of fear is sin. Adam only knew fear after he had sinned. Sin destroyed his relationship with God so that when God appeared in the garden he hid himself saying, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” (Gen 3:10) Fear was the result of listening to the wrong voice, doubting the Word of God and finally disobeying God. The one you listen to is the one who controls your life. Listening to the devil brought man under his control and to a wrong way of thinking, a way of thinking that is contrary to the Word of God. Fear believes what God has not said. God desires that man is transformed into the image of Christ so that He can bless him with His abundant provisions. A wrong way of thinking is to believe in achieving success, wealth and power without Christ. This wrong way of thinking has made many people so busy with the world that they have little or no time for God. Is it any wonder that they end up living in fear? A wrong way of thinking always leads to wrong choices and wrong choices are often responsible for the sorrow and pain that confronts us in life.
The only way to avoid making wrong choices is to depend on and act in accordance with the Word of God. The Lord promised Abraham a child but he and Sarah decided to help God fulfil His promise and made the wrong choice by not acting in accordance with the Word of God. The problems caused by this wrong choice, their reliance on self rather than on God, are still being acted out in the world today. Sarah tried to correct the wrong choice they made when she said to Abraham, “Cast out this slave woman with her son, for the son of this slave woman shall not be heir with my son Isaac.” (Gen 21:10) In spite of the wrong choice they made “God heard the voice of the boy, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, ‘What troubles you, Hagar? Fear not, for God has heard the voice of the boy where he is”. (Gen. 21:17) God preserved the life of Ishmael when he called out to Him. God will also preserve our life and deliver us from wrong choices when we call out to Him. Ishmael called out to the Lord because he knew Him and God delivered him. Do we know our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ? Many of us have been suffering from the effects of wrong choices in our lives. When we cry out to God He will hear and deliver us for Jesus Christ’s sake.
Our gospel reading from Matthew reveals the way to overcome and be delivered from fear. Our belief in Christ should assure us that the truth of God will always triumph since Christ has already defeated the devil. Why should we fear when Christ is in us and we are in Him? The victory of Christ is so comprehensive that the goodness of God will always be manifested no matter how well it is covered or hidden. (Matt. 10:26) The victory of Christ assures all believers that heaven is their destiny and destination. Heaven is our home and there is no need to fear those who can kill the physical body but cannot kill the spiritual body. Who we should fear is the one who can destroy both soul and body in hell. (Mat 10:28) As believers we have the same assurance that Paul had but can we also say “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” (Phil. 1:21) The victory of Christ assures us that everything is under God’s control. How can believers be afraid when everything is under God’s control? If God cares for the sparrow why will He not care for you when even the hairs on your head matter to Him?