14 Apr Choosing Fear or Trusting God’s Promises? (Genesis 15)
Have you ever had someone make a promise to you and not keep it? Or have you been that person that broke the promise? Sadly, we all have, but God’s promises are never broken, and He makes a lot of them throughout the Bible. As we’ve been studying Genesis as a church and Real Women, it has been a great reminder for us to look at God’s promises and ask, “Do I really believe them when I’m facing hard circumstances or do I choose fear?”
In Genesis 15, God appears to Abram (later renamed Abraham) in a vision saying,
“Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.”
Abram knows God told him previously (chapter 12) that he would make him into a great nation and bless him, but Abram was already 75 and his wife Sarai barren to this point. Abram replies with the question of still not having a child, because God made that promise but hadn’t yet fulfilled it. How often do we receive God’s promise but don’t want to wait? They would wait 25 years for the promised child! We don’t even like to wait 25 minutes for something to happen. God then tells Abram in verse 5,
“Look toward heaven, and number the stars…So shall your offspring be.”
Abram was focused on his circumstances, but God wanted him to look up to remember how big God is. When we get so focused on what is happening in front of us, we can easily forget God’s promises and power, and instead live in fear of what could or won’t happen. God started the vision with “fear not” because we constantly need to be reminded of this! Fear is the opposite of faith. Over 80 times in the Bible when God tells us not to fear much of the time He also says that He is near. In Gen 15 He also tells Abram
“I am your shield,”
which means He is right in front of us to protect us, and we just need to follow Him.
Resisting fear has been a lifelong lesson for me, along with trusting that God is near and will protect me. My life verse is Philippians 4:4-7 (my emphasis and underlining):
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious [or fear] about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
When this verse was impressed on me at a young age I thought, “Yay life will be easy and joyful! I get to rejoice in the Lord always!” I hadn’t learned yet from James that there would be trials of many kinds. Life can be painful and hard, with moments of grieving, weeping, wrestling, and temptation so how do we not live in fear and rejoice instead? Did you catch that the verse said to rejoice IN THE LORD? And that the LORD IS AT HAND! Those are the keys to getting through life’s challenges. We might not get excited in our circumstances (like Abram) but we can rejoice IN THE LORD always! If we know He is near and will never leave or forsake us, then we can pray and thank Him for who He is. He will replace our fear with peace and guard our hearts and minds IN CHRIST JESUS. As Christians, we have something the world can’t offer…peace from the God who is with us, keeps His promises, protects us, and listens to our prayers! Phil 4:8 also lists what we can set our minds on instead of fear:
whatever is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, any excellence, and anything worthy of praise.
My life has been full of opportunities to put this into practice and it has been incredibly helpful. This isn’t like an optimist saying “things will work out, just think happy thoughts.” This is time with Jesus in prayer being reminded of who He is and that He will guide us in every circumstance if we are willing to listen and wait in faith. Try it out and see how He changes your perspective. In a fallen world where the enemy is working hard to steal, kill, and destroy, we can either give in to fear or we can see our battles in light of our blessings. Let’s be women of faith and FEAR NOT. Let’s trust God’s promises and spend time rejoicing in the Lord. And by the way, we are all descendants from Abraham…God fulfilled his promise!!
What areas of your life do you need to surrender to God and trust Him (eg. finances, kids, marriage, career, health)? How can you choose to have peace and joy in the midst of trial?