New Year’s Message 2007

FEAR NOT!

We are glad to be able to greet you with the words of encouragement that have meant so much to God’s people through all the ages namely: ” Fear Not!”

As we look around us at the uncertainty of life at so many levels, be it family, health, financial or political, whether it is in our own narrow little sphere, nationally or internationally there is much human reason to fear.  We fear the unknown for what it could bring by way of trial and suffering, not knowing how we shall be able to cope with forces that are often times way beyond our control.  What a comfort that although we do not know what tomorrow will bring, we are safe in the hands of Him Who controls tomorrow.

This ‘Fear not’ is to all those who have truly placed their trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour.  It would be folly to bring such a greeting to the one who does not want to have Jesus as Lord and Saviour in his or her life.  Such a one has much to fear and must receive stern warning instead.  However, the truly born-again child of God has every reason to discard fear and that is exactly God’s will for us.

The first greeting of ‘Fear not’ is found in Genesis 15:1 from the mouth of the Lord to His, perhaps by then, quite despondent, servant Abram.  To him God says: ‘Fear not Abram, I am thy shield and thy exceeding great reward’.

God wants to be our protector during this year and for those who put their trust in Him and seek to walk in His ways and obey Him, He extends His hand of protection.  This does not mean that we will not have trouble, danger or even sorrow but here is His commitment that through it all He will shelter us.  Therefore, with Him being our Shield, whatever strikes us must first come through Him.  This makes whatever trial crosses our path, a blessing even though it is in strange disguise.  The truth of the Word from the Lord is that for all those who love Him and are the called according to His purpose, He causes all things to work together for good.  (Romans 8:28)

That He will be our Shield, means that He will be with us all the time.  As we read through Scripture, the ‘Feat not’ continues to ring and His servants of old lived by this encouragement.  The secret was always that God would be with them.  Thus to a Jacob, embarking on a long uncertain journey, God said in Genesis 26:24 ‘…Fear not, for I am with thee…’ It is God’s presence with His people, that makes all the difference.

This does not mean that we need to feel His presence all the time.  We are to accept His presence in simple faith even though there is no such sensation that He is with us.  Afterall, this is exactly what He promised to be and we see in Hebrews 13:5 that He says to all believers ‘I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee’.  These two statements are really both treble negatives so that in simple language the Lord says, to us: ‘I will not, I will not, I will not leave and I will not, I will not, I will not forsake thee’.  We may well say that this is the repeated assurance of the Triune God of His wonderful presence with His people so that we may truly say ‘The Lord is my Helper and I will not fear…’ (Hebrews 13:6).  

He says ‘Feat not, I am…’  He is the eternal ever-living ever-present One.  He is the ‘Great I am’ revealed to Moses in Exodus 3:14.  He is from eternity unto eternity omnipotent and omnipresent.  This is our God.  He is the ‘High and Lofty One who inhabits eternity whose Name is holy.’  It is He who says ‘I dwell….with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit to revive the spirit of the humble and to revive the heart of the contrite ones’.  (Isaiah 57:15).  

Here then we see who are those who could expect the presence of God.  Those who are humble, bruised with sorrow for sin, thoroughly penitent and surrendered into the hands of the Lord.  He certainly will never dwell with the stubborn arrogant and self-sufficient.  

Not only did He promise Abram that He would be his Shield but also ‘I am thy exceeding great Reward’.  What rewards are we looking for in the year?  What is the reward that we want at the end of our life?  God so commits Himself to His true disciples that He does not give us anything less than Himself.  He becomes our inheritance.  This is true for all those who are truly surrendered to our God.  Can we wish for a greater reward?  What motivates us in this New Year?  On what are our eyes and hopes fixed?  These words should certainly cause us to turn our gaze, our affections and all of our desires onto the Lord our God.  

The ‘Fear not’ resound through all of Scripture.  Let us see what Jesus has to say in Matthew 10:30 and 31.  We are so precious to Him that ‘the very hairs of your head are all numbered’.  He concludes very specifically: ‘Fear ye not therefore…’  How precious God’s people are to the Lord Himself.  How precious the Lord should be to us.  

The last time the Lord greets His people in this way is in Revelation 1:17 where He addresses John on the island of Patmos .  John had seen this awesome vision of the Lord Jesus Christ glorified, brilliant and now clearly revealed as the Lord God Almighty.  This John who, while Jesus was on earth, leaned against the breast of his Master, now fell at His feet as dead.  But the Lord comes and lays His right hand upon him and says to him: ‘ Fear not; I am the First and the Last’.  He goes on to say ‘I have the keys of hell and death’.

Our Almighty Lord Jesus has everything under His control.  At the beginning of the year He is with is and He is also to us the ending of the year.  So it is for our entire life.  He holds the keys which means that He is in absolute control.  He has not given this responsibility to any man and not even to any angel.  He personally oversees the life of His faithful servant.  And it is good to know that He is in control of hell and of death.  Satan can pretend much and seek to usurp authority where man allows him to do so but Jesus is the One with ultimate authority and we belong to Him.  Though Satan may try his very ‘evil best’, he is not in control.  

Therefore with glad confidence and great expectations we enter the New Year because our Leader and Captain already has the victory for us and He says to all of us as we follow close to Him: ‘Fear not, I am in control’.