The Faith that Fights off Fear
Written by Celine Alava
September 30, 2022
Have you heard that there are 365 statements of “Do not fear” in the Bible, one for every day of a year? I don’t remember where exactly I heard it from, but I’ve kept this like a fact in my mind.
I even just recently shared this to a friend. I wanted to be sure this is true, so I did some searching online. I looked for a list online, found one that is listed in bullets, pasted it on a word processor, reformatted the bullets into numbers, and saw that it’s only 146. I found a blog post where a blogger found that the “365 trivia” is just a myth. She found that there are only 145 verses that mention not fearing, being afraid, and the like. However, I found that there are some 365-day devotional books on not fearing. I think this is what made this thing a fact in my mind. One I’d like to mention is David Komolafe’s 365 Days of Fear Not. Its description says that for each day, there is “A well-chosen and fear-prevailing Bible passage.” I even found Fearful to Fearless, a book by Jeff Kusner that “brings together almost 400 passages that demonstrate or direct us to not be afraid.” They’re not verbatim “Do not fear” verses, but they’re more than enough to tell that God constantly encourages us not to fear.
They’re not verbatim “Do not fear” verses, but they’re more than enough to tell that God constantly encourages us not to fear.
One “Do not fear” passage I’d like us to look at is the story of the prophet Elijah and the widow. This is what’s discussed in the message “Don’t Fear, Have Faith, God Will Provide” by Yuklid Aboganda. The story is found in 1 Kings 17:8-16. I suggest you read this yourself straight from your Bible, whatever format or version you prefer. I’ll be using the English Standard Version in my quotations as this was the version used in the sermon.
What happened was Elijah was instructed by the Lord to stay with a widow who would provide for him. During this time, there was a drought. That means there wouldn’t be an abundance of food because crops wouldn’t be adequately watered. In the preceding verses, Elijah was hiding by a brook and was being fed by ravens at God’s command. The brook dried up, and that’s when the Lord told him to go to the widow. When he reached the city God told him about, he indeed found the widow. He asked for water and bread. She said she has “only a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug.” That was all she had left, so she explained her situation at that moment. She said, “And now I am gathering a couple of sticks that I may go in and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it and die.”
It takes faith to depend on the Lord for everything. It’s only through faith that anyone can live a godly lifestyle like Elijah’s.
Elijah then said, “Do not fear; go and do as you have said. But first make me a little cake of it and bring it to me, and afterward make something for yourself and your son. For thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘The jar of flour shall not be spent, and the jug of oil shall not be empty, until the day that the Lord sends rain upon the earth.’” It was naturally impossible, but what God said came true. The household including Elijah had food for many days.
It may seem like Elijah had it easy because God always provides for him, but I imagine, like our walk with Christ, Elijah had to wait a lot on the Lord. He had to wait for the ravens to bring him bread and meat. He had to wait for God’s instructions. He had to wait when was the right time for the drought to end, for it was only up to God. It takes faith to depend on the Lord for everything. It’s only through faith that anyone can live a godly lifestyle like Elijah’s.
The story of Elijah in the Bible began in the same chapter. Without any backstory of his life, he just comes to King Ahab to proclaim there would not be any drop of rain for a few years except at Elijah’s word. There is a backstory, though, explaining why there’s a drought. In Leviticus 26:18-20, God said, “And if in spite of this you will not listen to me, then I will discipline you again sevenfold for your sins, and I will break the pride of your power, and I will make your heavens like iron and your earth like bronze. And your strength shall be spent in vain, for your land shall not yield its increase, and the trees of the land shall not yield their fruit.” This means because the nation of Israel continued disobeying God’s law, rain won’t fall from the sky, and the land won’t produce food for them.
King Ahab worshiped Baal and built a temple for him. Baal was believed as a god who makes the earth produce crops. Because Elijah is faithful and obedient to the Lord, he dared to announce the drought to the evil king. Now he’s in danger, so God told him to hide by the brook. He may have had fears like worrying whether he would be safe, whether God would continue to provide for him, whether he would survive, yet he stood firm in his faith, he was firm in proclaiming the drought, and he assured the widow firmly not to fear.
How can we have faith like Elijah?
We can learn a lot from Elijah. We have seen that because of his faith, he did not fear. This is why the Christian’s way to fight fear is to have faith. Let’s follow the FAITH acronym used in the sermon.
F – Follow God’s direction
Throughout the story, Elijah acts according to God’s instructions. In the same way, we must abide by God’s Word. Let us daily read the Bible that we may know God and what pleases Him. Once we do what is pleasing to God, we’re confident we’re on the right path. Obedience is the evidence of our faith. “For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead (James 2:26).”
The main commandment of God is love. “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. (1 John 4:18)” Perfect love comes from God alone, so it’s only through Him that we can overcome fear.
Perfect love comes from God alone, so it’s only through Him that we can overcome fear.
A – Anticipate God to work mightily
Even when the widow said she had only a handful of flour and a little oil, Elijah believed God could provide plenty for the three of them. May we confidently expect that what God has in store for us is the best there is, for God’s plans are perfect. Jesus says in Luke 18:27, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.” Let us remember this verse when we fear that what we need seems difficult to have.
There are a lot of instances where Elijah expected wonders from God. He prayed for the drought to come and for it to end (James 5:17-18). He prayed for the dead to come alive (1 Kings 17:21). For multiple times, he called for fire to come down from heaven (1 Kings 18:36-38 and 2 Kings 1:10,12).
As we anticipate, let us keep on praying and never lose hope.
I – Intend to pray non-stop
Prayer is very important. It is actually the key to not worry, for when we believe God hears our prayers, we’re assured He will answer them with what He knows is right for us.
Elijah always prayed for miracles to happen. I mentioned those in how he anticipates for God to work mightily. As we anticipate, let us keep on praying and never lose hope. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 tells us to “pray without ceasing.”
T – Turn away from your idols, worship God alone
The drought happened because the king worshiped Baal. After Elijah executed the prophets of this false god, heavy rain came, ending the drought.
The fact is that our Lord is a jealous God. He said so Himself when He gave the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:5). It’s reasonable because a divided heart can’t work. We can’t say we’re a part-time follower of Christ. That might only mean we’re Christians by name. It’s either God is who we live for or not.
H – Herald His faithfulness to others by making disciples
There’s a kind of fear or anxiety that is good. It’s called concern. We live in a fallen world, so it’s natural for us to feel worried for those who don’t have Christ as their Lord. The apostle Paul said, “there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches (2 Corinthians 11:28).” In other Bible versions, the word “concern” is used instead of “anxiety.”
Once we accept Jesus, He transforms us to have a compassionate heart like His. We’ll want to bring others to Him. The most effective way is to make disciples. This is His Great Commission to us (Matthew 28:19-20).
In the same manner, Elijah passed on his legacy to a successor. God commanded him to anoint Elisha as the prophet after him.
Spell your faith right, and your fears will be out of sight.
Spell your faith right, and your fears will be out of sight. Put your faith in Jesus Christ. His love never fails, for He conquered the grave. How much more can He cast out our every fear? He’s the only true living God we must all revere.