The first time in the Bible we see the word fear is in Genesis 9:2 - but here we see God's command to Abram, and the second use of the word fear - but now it is in the negative: fear not. Abram had just come back from a battle where he had risked his life to rescue his nephew, Lot, but God had kept him safe. Then he met the king of Sodom and was faced with a choice - the choice to take some of the spoil of the battle. Before he could choose, Melchizedek (a type of Christ) came out and met him, and encouraged him in his walk with the Lord by blessing him. His faith was strengthened and he thereafter chose not to take any of the spoils, lest the king of Sodom should say, I have made Abram rich.
Perhaps Abram was tempted by the riches or was wondering about the possibilities that the battle might not have fared so well for him - maybe those riches could have given him a sense of security after all, but he rejected them because of their source. After he made his choice, the Word of the Lord came to him - reminding him of where his trust and contentment should be. He need not fear man, nor even the snares and pitfalls of those riches (or lack thereof), for God would be his shield and exceeding great reward.
I believe these words to Abram are also quite applicable to all God's children: "Fear not, My child, I am your shield too, and your exceeding great reward. As long as you are walking in right fellowship with me, you need not fear anything this world has in store - for I will protect you and provide for you."
In meditating on this verse of Scripture (Genesis 15:1), I have decided to do a series of devotions on the three themes presented in it: walking without fear, the Lord God being our shield, and being our reward. This fear part will deal with passages that command us not to be afraid or contain promises on overcoming fear. The Lord wants His children to live without fear and know how to conquer it when it does come; the only fear the true believer is to have is the fear of the Lord - that is a reverence and an awe for God and a hatred of evil, an attitude that desires to turn from sin and walk in holiness before the Lord. In the approximately 700 verses dealing with fear and being afraid, a high percentage of them are in reference to the fear of the Lord; while I will not be covering that aspect of fear in this series of studies, it would definitely be a worthwhile topic for all God's children to dig deeper into.
As for the remainder of passages dealing with fear, I have chosen to focus specifically on the ones where believers in the Bible are commanded to fear not - if the passage is one we cannot directly apply (due to the circumstances surrounding the statement), we can still glean principles to apply to our own lives. Due to the vast number of verses, I will just quote some representative ones (ones that are particularly meaningful to me) on each aspect of what we are told by God to "Fear not."
1) Fear not, God is proving (testing) your heart and walk:
Exodus 20:20 And Moses said unto the people, Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not.
2) Fear not other gods/idols:
2 Kings 17:36-37 But the LORD, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt with great power and a stretched out arm, him shall ye fear, and him shall ye worship, and to him shall ye do sacrifice. And the statutes, and the ordinances, and the law, and the commandment, which he wrote for you, ye shall observe to do for evermore; and ye shall not fear other gods.
Jeremiah 10:3-5 For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not. They are upright as the palm tree, but speak not: they must needs be borne, because they cannot go. Be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil, neither also is it in them to do good.
3) Fear not, I will keep my covenant with you:
Genesis 26:24 And the LORD appeared unto him the same night, and said, I am the God of Abraham thy father: fear not, for I am with thee, and will bless thee, and multiply thy seed for my servant Abraham's sake.
4) Fear not, I will guide you and be with you:
Genesis 46:3-4 And he said, I am God, the God of thy father: fear not to go down into Egypt; for I will there make of thee a great nation: I will go down with thee into Egypt; and I will also surely bring thee up again: and Joseph shall put his hand upon thine eyes.
Deuteronomy 31:6 Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. (See also 1 Chronicles 28:20)
Psalms 23:4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Zephaniah 3:16-17 In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem, Fear thou not: and to Zion, Let not thine hands be slack. The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.
Acts 18:9-10 Then spake the Lord to Paul in the night by a vision, Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace: For I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee: for I have much people in this city.
5) Fear not, I will deliver you:
Psalms 34:4, 7 I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears. The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.
Isaiah 35:4 Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompence; he will come and save you.
Jeremiah 30:10 Therefore fear thou not, O my servant Jacob, saith the LORD; neither be dismayed, O Israel: for, lo, I will save thee from afar, and thy seed from the land of their captivity; and Jacob shall return, and shall be in rest, and be quiet, and none shall make him afraid.
6) Fear not, for I have redeemed you and will be with you through your trials:
Isaiah 43:1-2 But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.
7) Fear not, I will provide for all your needs and help you in your distress:
Genesis 21:17 And God heard the voice of the lad; and the angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven, and said unto her, What aileth thee, Hagar? fear not; for God hath heard the voice of the lad where he is.
1 Kings 17:13-14 And Elijah said unto her, Fear not; go and do as thou hast said: but make me thereof a little cake first, and bring it unto me, and after make for thee and for thy son. For thus saith the LORD God of Israel, The barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail, until the day that the LORD sendeth rain upon the earth.
Hebrews 13:5-6 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.