Summary: Message 10 in our Judges Series expanding on the topic of fear. This is the first of seven messages.
Notes for message 10 and 11 have been combined here for expedience.
Judges Series #10 & 11 Life Cycles
“Understanding and Handling Fear” (Trust More Fearless)
On prominent principle in our study of Judges clearly demonstrates that God powerfully enlists the unlikely to precipitate the unimaginable. Gideon certainly qualified for a most unlikely candidate for an impossible mission. His mission which he was hesitant to accept consisted of facing an army of 135,000 Midianite warriors with only an ill-equipped band of 300 farmers. Gideon struggled most of his life with fear. This mission was not designed for the faint at heart. Yet, because God powerfully enlists the most unlikely to accomplish the impossible, Gideon became God’s instrument to break the devastating hold the Midianites imposed on Israel for seven years. I am certain that Gideon is not the only one that struggles with fear.
Fear appeared early in human history following Adam’s deliberate defiance of God’s mandate.
The realization of the gravity of his action drove him into hiding. Of course you can’t hide from and all-knowing, everywhere present God. When God called Adam to account for his action and why he was hiding, Adam confessed that he hid because he was afraid.
This study of fear in the Bible turned out to be a daunting and mysterious venture. The family of terms translated fear and its similar words numbers over 400 in the Old Testament and 146 in the New Testament. My struggle however transcended the sheer number of verses when I realized that the Bible tells us not to fear in numerous place but also commands us to fear in equally as many other places using the same terms. Here lays my struggle to pull it all together into some sort of coherent message.
I also struggle personally to find some way to reconcile the well-known feeling associated with a perceived or actual threat of my well-being with how I should feel concerning my relationship with God.
Today I want to help us get in touch with the concept so that we can discover how it plays out in Scripture. I will try to define it, understand it and discover principles for dealing with it.
Let us first start with the words. There is really nothing complicated about the actual family of terms used. Here is a summary taken from Holman’s Illustrated Dictionary.
The concept of fear is referred to in the Bible several hundred times, either explicitly or by implication through effects such as trembling, shaking, shuddering, or cringing. The word group most often associated with fear in the OT (occurring 435 times) is the verb yara’, “to fear, honor,” the adjective yare’, “in fear of, fearful,” and the related nouns, mora’, “fear, terror, awe,” and yir’ah, “fear, worship.” These are supplemented by other word groups such as one related to the root chatat, “be terrified, disheartened, dismayed,” and pacad, “tremble, be in dread.”
In the NT the concept of fear is most often associated with the root phob- (146 times), as in the verb phobeo, “to fear, reverence, or respect,” related nouns, phobos, “fear, terror, reverence, respect” and phobetron, “terrifying sight,” and the adjective phoberos, “fearful.” Synonyms are also found, such as tarasso, “disturb, terrify,” and the word group deilia, “cowardice,” deiliao, “be cowardly, fearful,” and deilos, “cowardly, timid.”
Fear is more than just that knot in the pit of your stomach or that uneasy feeling plaguing your thoughts.
Fear is a tangible involuntary reaction to a perceived or actual threat to my well-being that is either present or potential that requires some sort of intentional response.
Well-being or sense of peace and safety apply to all areas of my life.
Threat to my physical safety
Intruder, illness, falling, Failing health, getting older, cancer, DEATH, loss of abilities
Threat to my psychological safety
Rejection, persecution, loss of mental abilities, self-worth, offenses, failure, what other think. Not fitting in, getting laughed at, judged
Threat to relational well-being
Losing a spouse, child, parent, sibling or friend. Well-being of same. Being alone
Threat to my current circumstances or environment
Loss of home, fear dark, heights, flying, snakes, enclosed places, people, uncomfortable circumstances, world or national, end times, government control, spiders, future events,
Threat to my financial security and well-being
Loss of Job, savings, investments, retirement
Threat to my stuff
Theft, disaster, fire, flood,
Threat to my spiritual well-being
Satan, disappointing God, failing God, not a good witness, lack of prayer, unsaved loved ones, evil spirits.
This could relate to things threatening us today or that we fear might threaten tomorrow (worry). Some of our fears relate to perceived threats that may or may not have any basis in reality.
Fear of MRI – No one has ever died in an MRI machine.
Fear of spiders – For the most part, this little speck carries little threat.