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January 13, (Day # 13) – Do Not Be Afraid

In Genesis 25-26, we come now to the death of Abraham. The first book of the Bible, Genesis, is all about beginnings, but after reading halfway through the book, we realize that Genesis has a lot to say about death. God is reminding us to pay close attention to the importance and consequences of that one event, which - back in the Garden of Eden – led initially to this noticeably lopsided emphasis. After Sarah died, Abraham “took another wife” (verse 1). Keturah bore him more children, and although Abraham “gave gifts” to all those sons, he “sent them away and left everything to Isaac” (verses 4-6). God blessed Isaac (verse 11). Then the text informs us briefly about Ishmael’s line before turning our attention to Isaac and Rebekah. In verse 22, we read about their twin boys “jostling each other within” Rebekah’s womb before their birth. Here we see the conflict continues between God’s program for Israel and Satan’s attempt to hinder God’s program – which we mentioned earlier (cf., Genesis 21). God explains this to Rebekah – “Two nations are in your womb … the older will serve the younger” (verses 23-24). This conflict will continue down to today. In Genesis 26, we see Isaac going to Abimelech – like Abraham did – and lying to him about his wife – just like Abraham did. The son repeats the sin of the father. We notice two other things in this chapter – the ongoing problem with a lack of water (verses 19-20) – which is still an issue in Israel today, and the wives of Esau – “a source of grief to Isaac and Rebekah” (verse 34).

Proverbs 1:20-33 addresses the problem of rejecting wisdom. It is amazing how many people today prefer ignorance and stupidity over the acquisition of knowledge – especially truth. Wisdom “calls aloud in the street” and asks, “How long will you simple ones delight in mockery and … hate knowledge?” (verses 20-22). Wisdom desires to “pour out her heart to us and make known her thoughts” (verse 33), but rejection and ignorance of wisdom leads to “death and destruction” (verse 32).

In Matthew 10, we see Jesus sending out the twelve disciples. He gives them authority over evil spirits and disease and tells them to “go to the lost sheep of Israel – to preach that the kingdom of heaven is near” (verses 6-7). The Lord shares with them many of the principles that will obtain in His kingdom, and Jesus says, “Do not be afraid” (verse 26). All our readings for today have emphasized the proper application and direction of one of our most basic human emotions — fear. Essentially, we are to fear (i.e., to reverence, show respect for, and honor) God alone. Although it’s normal and natural for us to fear anything that might harm us, nevertheless, we must understand that God is greater than all our fears. He wants us to trust Him implicitly - even in fearful situations - because He retains complete control over everything. He will not allow anything to harm us beyond His will or what we are able to bear. God gives us the grace to come through whatever we may face — even to the point of death. We should “not be afraid of those who are able to kill the body but cannot kill the soul, but rather be afraid of the One Who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” God alone has that kind of power — no one else. May God give us the encouragement we need to take us safely through all our fearful situations.

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