Proverbs 9:10 - The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom...
In Matthew 10, Jesus sends His apostles out into the community to preach that the "kingdom of heaven is at hand." But with their commission comes a warning! They will encounter trouble on their way. They will be denied hospitality (v. 14), wrongfully arrested (v. 17), betrayed by family (v. 21), and hated by all men (v. 22).
If Jesus came to me and told me that my life would be marked by these qualities, it would be difficult to avoid being paralyzed with fear. Fear is defined as the "unpleasant emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger." Jesus' words were the perfect recipe for producing fear. He had made the apostles aware of the dangers that existed in the world (wolves, v. 16) and then He told them to anticipate those dangers showing up in their lives (v. 24-25).
If Jesus' intention was to scare the apostles out of ministry, He was on the right track.
But when you arrive at verse 26, Jesus makes a shocking statement that seems to fly in the face of the warning He has just given.
"So have no fear of them..." (Matt 10:26).
Jesus says, "now that I've told you about all these terrible things that await you, don't worry about it!
What a strange thing to say! He just gave them at least 4 fear-inducing scenarios for their futures and then turns around and tells them not to worry.
But if you read down through the next few verses, you find the reason for Christ's statement. Jesus begins discussing how God knows every sparrow, what happens to it, when it is born, when it dies, when it eats, when it sleeps. And God knows every hair on the head of every person. In other words, God knows everything. There is not a dust particle that flies through the air that hasn't been sovereignly accounted for by the Creator. There isn't an insect that can escape its positioning by God's sovereign hand.
God not only knows but cares for the smallest and most insignificant of His creation. And that is not a small and insignificant fact! It's a relieving reality that assures us that God is watching over us and is on our side. If we are serving Him, there's no danger for which He hasn't accounted and there is certainly no wolf who slips the Shepherd's notice.
When we come to appreciate God's permeating providence over even the smallest parts of His creation, we can understand Jesus' words in Matthew 10:26.
The New Testament uses the word "fear" over 80 times, and if you look at all 80 references, you will find that God never tells His children to fear anything... except Himself!
"Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear Him who can destroy both soul and body in hell." (Matthew 10:28)
For a child of God, there is only one thing that should stimulate fear in our hearts and it isn't some danger we encounter here on earth. It is God!
Over and over again the Bible stresses the "fear of the Lord." Why?
Because if God is properly feared (properly respected), there is nothing left for us to fear. Nothing will separate us from a God who esteems us of greater value than the sparrows He meticulously cares for. Our lives can't slip into turmoil without Him knowing if hairs can't even be lost without Him counting.
Before we became children of God, our list of fears was extensive, and rightfully so! Outside of God's love, everything is to be feared!
But when we became a child of God, Jesus redefined our identity and our fears
If you fear God... your capacity for fear should be full. He is on your side! He is all that is left to be feared. He is powerfully in control of every factor that surrounds you.
"So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?" (Hebrews 13:6).