Genesis 15:1

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 age.

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. 15:1).

To all our fears God says, “I am your shield.” If God is your shield, fear not!


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


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 human heart.

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 need Him.

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.”


Let’s wrap up this message by looking at some principles that will move us from fear to faith.

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.


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 anyway.

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.