Comforted by the Word
It is amazing how often we read in the Bible this exhortation from God: "Don't be afraid. Don't be terrified!"
It seems that again and again we need to hear these words from the Lord: "Do not be afraid. I am with you!" The Bible is plain that we are called to follow the Lord God without fear.
But who lives fearlessly? We all find ourselves afraid at times as we are confronted with life's tragedies, traumas and crises. Reading the Bible, which assures us of God's never-failing presence in our lives, helps us through these times.
To know the God of the Bible is to be assured of his care for us, even when we have to face something that makes us naturally afraid.
"I will be with you!" If these words came from anyone other than the Lord God of our lives, we would have good reason to be afraid.
No one we know is with us forever. We are not even with ourselves forever, because we often betray ourselves.
If these words, "I will be with you," were the words of someone who is not God, we would find less comfort from them.
That is why we can have confidence when we read the Bible. The Bible is not another market niche magazine, nor is it merely a book among the books of the world.
The Bible is the Book among the books of the world. The Bible comes down to us through the many centuries of the history of God's people.
That history begins with ancient Israel's confession that her deliverance from slavery in Egypt was from her Lord and God.
The Bible creates through Israel a sure hope that has come to be known as messianic hope.
It is the certain hope that God will keep his promise to her and send his Messiah to her.
This hope is realized through Jesus Christ. In Christ, God has kept his promise to his people by sending them his Son. Through Christ, God is present with his people forever. That is why we can believe and not be afraid.
Every day, our God is present with us and will be present with us forever. Our reading of the Bible is meant to help us with this hope and belief. The Bible is the Book among the books of the world because it teaches us of Jesus Christ.
Every book of the Bible is given to us to teach us about and draw us deeper into Jesus Christ. Because Christ reveals the love of the Lord God for us, he is the center from which we may learn to know and love God.
In Jesus Christ, God has revealed the secrets about his ways with us. Jesus is the way God has chosen to be with us. "Do not be afraid, I am with you always, even to the end of this age."
If these words were not the words God has spoken to us, we would have much to fear. But because they are his words, we may be sure he has kept his promise to us, and he will never cease to keep his promise to us.
The more I read the Bible, the more he enriches me with assurance about his promise. The Lord God is gracious and faithful in the promises he has made to his people. The more I read, the more certain his hope grows in me.
The Bible has a way of mastering my fears and me. We do not read the Bible so that we can master it. We read the Bible because God has committed himself to comforting us through it. We read the Bible, and we find his comfort for us.
Great is the comfort of the Lord. He takes away our fears. He makes his presence known to us. He comforts us with the comfort that only he can give us.
"Don't be afraid, I am with you." God has given us the Bible so that we might hear his words of comfort for us. I like to think of it as listening to the greatest music we could ever hear. How amazing and thrilling it is to hear God speak with us