God Approaches Our Fears
By Pastor Dennis Yim
Old Testament Verse: Genesis 28:15
15 Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land. For I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”
Covenant is key to understanding our relationship with God. Throughout the Bible, God made covenants with His people, and during uncertain times He would reaffirm His covenant with them. Whenever we have reasons to be fearful, God will always give us His assurances of care in the most real and culturally meaningful way.
Genesis 28:15 shows us that God renewed His Abrahamic covenant with Jacob. Now, Jacob was not an innocent person, he was a well-known liar, cheater and trickster. Jacob’s brother Esau had legitimate reasons to be angry with him. But Esau isn’t an innocent person either, he threatened his brother’s life! Jacob was eventually exiled; he was sent away from his family. It’s in his exiled state that God approached him and spoke to him. Jacob deserved to be rebuked – what he did was really messed up! – but God focused on Jacob’s fear and led him with comfort. God was committed to being faithful and present to him, even when Jacob was unfaithful.
In the New Testament, these words would continue with Jesus Christ. In Matthew 6:25, Jesus says, “do not be anxious about your life.” In Luke He says, “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” Jesus sees us for who we truly are: vulnerable, weak, and needy sheep. We need His care! Our fears arouse the compassion of Jesus Christ. He doesn’t rebuke us for being fearful, He doesn’t say: “Just stop being fearful and trust me, okay?” No, Jesus responds to our fears with His tender compassion and love. Therefore, let us move towards our neighbors with the compassion of Christ.