Fear is something we all face. It can make us uneasy, make us avoid situations or even isolate us. Fear can also keep us from receiving the blessings of God. In the book of Exodus, Moses leads the children of God out of Egypt. Following the lead of God, the people end up encamped by the sea: Pharaoh and his army approaching from one side, an impassible sea on the other.
The text says, “And when Pharaoh drew near, the children of Israel lifted their eyes, and behold, the Egyptians marched after them. So they were very afraid, and the children of Israel cried out to the Lord. 11 Then they said to Moses, “Because there were no graves in Egypt, have you taken us away to die in the wilderness? Why have you so dealt with us, to bring us up out of Egypt? 12 Is this not the word that we told you in Egypt, saying, ‘Let us alone that we may serve the Egyptians’? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than that we should die in the wilderness.” (Exodus 14:10-12 NKJV).
Understandably the people were afraid. They felt trapped and in danger of their lives. In the moment they romanticized their slavery in Egypt, but it was all out of fear. What if Moses, what if God would have let them give into their fear? What if they went back to Egypt, they would have been again enslaved, no doubt worse than before as Pharaoh would seek revenge upon them. Worse than that would have been the reality of what they gave up – the blessings of God that awaited them on the other side of the sea.
We may not arrive in moments with a literal sea at our backs and an army bearing down on us, but we certainly face moments that leave us in the same fear or the same despair. We face big choices in our life and fear says just turn back, return to what we know, it may have been bad but we knew what to expect. If we do this however, we may miss out on blessings yet before us. It is in these moments that we also need to hear the words of Moses, “And Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever. 14 The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.” (Exodus 14:13-14). We need to hear the words, “Do not be afraid.”
Someone once counted all the times in scripture that God says not to be afraid, and they came up with 365 times. It is curious number suggesting we could read a separate passage everyday about not being afraid and not repeat a scripture. Bottom-line, it seems to suggest that God does not want us to live in fear. Instead of giving into fear, we need to remember salvation is of the Lord and that He is our peace.
Let us be comforted in times of distress, in times of fear to know that we serve a good Lord. Let us not turn away from Him but fix our eyes more steadfastly on the One who holds all things within His hands.