We all have our fears, don’t we? Fear is a
basic human emotion.
God told us to “fear not” because He knew
that we would wrestle with fear sooner or later.
Hundreds of times in hundreds of ways, God
says, “Fear not.”
Abraham’s story illustrates that truth.
When we meet him, he’s about 75 years old,
which in those days would be considered middle-aged.
He is a prosperous businessman,
well-known to many people. He and his wife
Sarah have no children. God speaks to Abraham
(whose name used to be Abram) for the
first time in Genesis 12:1-3.
Later God promises to give Abraham descendants
“like the dust of the earth” (Gen.
13:16). Ten years quickly pass without any
sign of children. Abraham is almost 85 now
and not getting younger. Sarah is far past childbearing
I think Abraham’s greatest fear stemmed
from the fact that God did not seem in a hurry
to give him a child. How much longer would He
wait? Why had He delayed? If God had promised,
why was it taking so long for His promise
to be fulfilled? Should Abraham and Sarah go
to Plan B?
All these questions were running through
Abraham’s mind. God knew exactly what His
servant was thinking. He saw the doubt. He understood
the fear. He assured Abraham that all
would be well. The time had not yet come for
the child to be born, but it wasn’t far off either.
“After this, the word of the Lord came to
Abram in a vision: ‘Do not be afraid, Abram, I
am your shield, your very great reward’” (Gen.
To all our fears God says, “I am your
shield.” If God is your shield, fear not!
I. WHY GOD DELAYS HIS ANSWERS
Why did God wait so long to give Abraham
a son? Abraham was 75 when God first spoke
to him and 100 when Isaac was finally born.
He was almost 85 when God came to him and
said, “Fear not.” After all these years, God still
wasn’t ready to answer Abraham’s prayers.
Abraham was old, but he would be older yet
when Isaac was finally born.
Of all the questions that plague the people
of God, none is so vexing as the question of
unanswered prayer. We know God loves us
and has a good plan for our lives. So why does He take so long to answer our deepest, most
heartfelt prayers? From Abraham’s experience,
we may suggest three answers:
A. To develop perseverance in us. To put it simply, it would be too easy if God answered all our prayers the first time we prayed them. Not only would we take God for granted, we would also develop a shallow faith.
B. To ensure that God alone gets the glory. When Paul wrote about Abraham’s story, he mentioned this point prominently (Rom. 4:19- 21). God often delays His answers so that we will have plenty of opportunity to trust in Him. Only then does God act but, when He does, His actions demonstrate that He alone is responsible for answering our prayers and that He alone must get the glory.
C. To deepen our trust in God. I think that’s
why Hebrews 11 gives more space to Abraham’s
story than to any other Old Testament
hero. He is the preeminent man of faith in the
Bible. If Abraham had to wait, we should not be
surprised to learn that we will often have to wait
a long time for the fulfillment of our dreams and
the answers to our prayers. As with Abraham,
waiting is not bad if it causes us to deepen our
trust in God and learn more about His character
II. THE ANSWER IS A PERSON
God’s answer to fear is not an argument
or a formula; it’s a Person. That’s why He said
to Abraham, “Fear not. I am your shield.” God
Himself is the final answer to every fear of the
Have you ever wondered why God called
Himself by the name “I AM” in the Old Testament?
Above all else, this name means that
God is eternally existent; therefore, all creation
depends on Him. God stands alone. No one
can be compared to Him. He is complete in
Himself. God doesn’t need us, but we desperately
Think of it this way. To say that God is the
great “I AM” means that when we come to
Him, He is everything we need at that moment.
It’s as if God is saying, “I am your strength. I
am your courage. I am your health. I am your
hope. I am your supply. I am your defender. I
am your deliverer. I am your forgiveness. I am
your joy. I am your future.”
III. FROM FEAR TO FAITH
Let’s wrap up this message by looking at
some principles that will move us from fear
A. Faith focuses on God, not on your problems. Think of Abraham. The past argued against his ever having a child. So did the present. His only hope lay in the promises of God for the future. As long as he looked back, he would never have faith to believe God. His only hope was to step out into the future, trusting that somehow, in some way, God would keep His promises.
B. Faith trusts in God’s timing, not ours.
So many of our struggles with fear start right
here. Deep down, we fear that God has somehow
made a mistake in His dealings with us.
Like Abraham, we have waited and waited—
sometimes for years. Even though we may
have seen many remarkable answers to prayer,
the one prayer that means the most to us has
not been granted.
Of the many answers that might be given
to our prayer, one answer must be that God’s
timing and ours are often quite different. Sometimes
it seems like we live in one time zone and
God lives in another.
C. Faith grows by believing in God in
spite of your circumstances. Sometimes our
circumstances make it easy to believe in God;
other times, we have to struggle. No matter
what happens to us, we must trust in the Lord.
Our faith should rise above circumstances to
lay hold of the eternal promises of God.
IV. CAN GOD BE TRUSTED?
If the answer is Yes, then we can face the
worst that life has to offer. If the answer is No,
then we’re no better off than the people who
have no faith at all. In fact, if the answer is No
or if we’re not sure, we really don’t have any
Faith is a choice you make. Sometimes
you choose to believe because of what you
see; often you believe in spite of what you see.
Fear not, child of God. No one knows what
a day may bring. But our God is faithful to keep
every one of His promises. Nothing can happen
to us except that it first passes through
God’s hands. If your way is dark, keep believing.
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He
cares for you.