“Stop Being Afraid”
In Matthew’s gospel 17:7b we read Yeshua telling His disciples, “Stop being afraid.” Why do we not trust God? His character is what is described in Hebrew as chesed. In English, we could use all the following words to describe the Biblical meaning of chesed: loving kindness, mercy, compassion, loyal covenant love, faithfulness, devotion, benevolence, goodness, strength and protection.
If we truly knew Him and His character, we would not be afraid. In this world, we will see and experience the chaos and trouble of fallen sinful humanity. But we need to obey what Yeshua said here, “Stop being afraid.” Also, in response to the condition of this world’s realm in another passage where He said, “be of good cheer.” Why? Because He has overcome – through His death, resurrection and ascension – this world’s kingdom rule and He is ruling in the Kingdom of God.
When we trust Him, His kingdom rule breaks into ours where He calls us to find our dwelling place, in Him. He gives us His shalom: wholeness, completeness, soundness, sufficiency, satisfaction, harmony, peace, or holistic well-being.
In His shalom, we pray as He taught us, “Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Yeshua is the Prince of Shalom. Yeshua’s beloved disciple, John said in 1 John 4:18, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love (chesed) drives out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and the one who fears has not been made perfect in love.” So, where is our hope that causes us not to fear? The next verse goes on to say, “We love, because He first loved us.”
Yes, Yeshua gave His life as an atonement for us, which is perfect love. Yet, we first learned about chesed in the Tanakh, or Hebrew Scriptures also known as the Old Testament. However, it is NOT old, for the Entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation is one Hebrew Bible revealing the true nature of God! He revealed His chesed the most to the people of Israel when they disobeyed and fell deep into sin after they repented for their sin. We see this in Exodus 32-34 at the foot of Mt. Sinai right after He delivered them from Egypt and gave them the Torah when they made and worshipped a golden calf! There will always be consequences for our sinful choices, but the God of Israel is a God of love by His very nature! His complete love was manifested in His Son, Yeshua the Messiah of Israel. He has always intended good for humanity. He is worthy of being trusted for He alone is truly trustworthy. In Him, we can indeed stop being afraid.