To Fear or Not to Fear, That is the Question
"4Therefore Saul took his sword and fell on it. 5When his armor bearer saw that Saul was dead, he likewise fell on his sword and died. 6Thus Saul died with his three sons, and all those of his house died together." (I Chronicles 10:4-6)
What is fear? Is it something real? Is it a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, or pain as indicated in the dictionary? Or is it as the only thing we have to fear is fear itself as so famously quoted by Franklin Delano Roosevelt during his inaugural address? Maybe we should be like the Bereans and examine the scriptures to get a clear understanding.
We read in I Chronicles 8:33 that Saul actually had four sons: Jonathan, Malchishua, Abinadab, and Esh-Baal. So why does the scripture refer to Saul’s three sons, not four, dying in battle in I Chronicles 10? It is because Esh-Baal was not there during the battle with the Philistines. Why wasn’t he there? Was he afraid? Was he scared to go into battle? In II Samuel 2:10 the scriptures refer to Esh-Baal as Ish-bosheth meaning “man of shame.” He appears to have been appropriately renamed since his absence from the battlefield where his father and brothers died. I can only imagine the shame he must have felt from all throughout Israel for not being there during the battle.
We can also look at the fear that the disciples had even though they were with Jesus, the Son of God! In Mark 4:35 it says “On the same day, when evening had come, He said to them, “Let us cross over to the other side.”” However, a little while later after they had all boarded the boat and were sailing across the sea, a great windstorm arose. The wind and waves were tearing the boat apart and water was filling the boat. Jesus was in the stern asleep on the pillow. The disciples were extremely afraid and they woke Jesus. They asked him “Do you not care that we are perishing?” (Mark 4:38). Jesus arose and rebuked the wind and sea and all was calm. They had God incarnate next to them in the boat and they were still scared. Jesus did not want them to be afraid. He instructed them to cross over to the other side, not sink in the middle of the sea. He wanted them to not to fear for He is greater than anything that we encounter.
“Fear not, for I am with you.” (Isiah 41:10) and “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5) are to encourage us when we are facing the giants of our life. We know that Jesus continuously encouraged the disciples not to fear.
So if you are facing an overwhelming circumstance and you want to run away from it all, don’t be like Esh-Baal. He became a man of shame who made his fear into an un-surmountable mountain. Instead I encourage you to look to the Lord Jesus Christ for your strength during the times of trials and tribulations and you will cross over to the other side of the sea just as Jesus instructed.
Fellow Bond Servant in Christ – Daryl Kas