Six times in the Christmas Story fear is mentioned:
- Zacharias was told to fear not—that his prayer was heard, and his wife Elisabeth would bear him a son in his old age.
- Mary was told to fear not—for she has found favor with God and would conceive in her womb and bring forth the Messiah.
- Joseph was told to not be afraid to take Mary as his wife, for what is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.
- The shepherds were told to fear not when the angels appeared and the glory of the Lord shone brightly all around them.
- Joseph was afraid to go to Judea when he heard that Archelaus, son of Herod, was now reigning.
- Fear is the natural emotion that parents must have felt when Herod sent soldiers to brutally slaughter all the baby boys two years old and under.
Fear cripples a person. Fear is the opposite of faith, and contaminates faith. When we face certain situations in our lives where we are afraid, we can put our trust in God and hold tightly to His hand. He is our refuge and strength.
There are hundreds of Scriptures on fear, but a few of them are:
2 Timothy 1:7 (KJV) For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
Luke 12:32 (NKJV) Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
Mark 5:36b (KJV) Be not afraid, only believe.
Isaiah 35:4 (KJV) Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompense; he will come and save you.
Isaiah 41:13 (NKJV) For I, the Lord your God, will hold your right hand, saying to you, ‘Fear not, I will help you.’
Psalms 56:3 (NKJV) Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You.
The only kind of fear that the Lord wants us to have is a healthy reverential fear of God.
God tells us in His Word that fearing the Lord prevents sickness and promises healing.
Proverbs 3:7-8 says, “Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and depart from evil. It will be health to your flesh, and strength to your bones.”
The fear of the Lord prolongs our life. Proverbs 10:27 says, “The fear of the Lord prolongs days: but the years of the wicked shall be shortened.”
God promises in His Word financial provision to those who fear the Lord.
Psalms 25:12-13 says, “Who, then, is the man that fears the Lord? He will instruct him in the way chosen for him. He will spend his days in prosperity, (the NKJV says “ease”) and his descendants will inherit the land.”
Psalms 112:1-3 says, “Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who delights greatly in His commandments. His descendants will be mighty on earth; the generation of the upright will be blessed. Wealth and riches will be in his house, and his righteousness endures forever.”
When we fear God, things will go well for us and we will see and enjoy many good days upon the earth.
The Hebrew word for “fear”, as it relates to fearing God, is the word yare. It implies reverence and showing God the utmost respect and honor. It’s having awe for Him, holding Him in high esteem and obeying His commands. It is loving Him.
In the Unger’s Bible Dictionary, the fear of the Lord is defined as:
“This kind of fear has its spring in love, and prompts to care not to offend God and to endeavor in all things to please Him. It has virtues of godly character. It is produced by the Holy Spirit, and great blessing is pronounced upon those who possess this Christian trait. This kind of fear dreads God’s displeasure, desires His favor, reveres His Holiness, willingly submits to His will, is grateful for His benefits, sincerely worships Him, and conscientiously obeys His commandments.”
Zacharias, Mary, Joseph and the Shepherds all had a reverential fear of the Lord. All of them worshipped God. All of them were considered to be righteous. All of them had a visitation with an angel (the shepherds were visited by the hosts of innumerable angels).