“But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed. ‘And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled.'”
do not be afraid of their threats
The above phrase is the second quotation of Isaiah 8 in I Peter (2:8). This phrase is the beginning of a quote from Isaiah 8:12,13. Isaiah, in the historical context, urges Israel not to fear Assyria but to fear the Lord because he sovereignly sent the Assyrian army for his purposes. As in the day of Peter, intimidation was real in the days of Isaiah. Assyria tried to intimidate Israel into submission.
Mt. 10:28, “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”
There are two cautions at the beginning of this quote from Isaiah 8. The first is, do not be afraid of their “threats.” Many are afraid of people. Fear of people will cripple a convincing testimony. It will paralyze and immobilize us from achieving our goals. If we are fearful of what people say about us, we will never accomplish much. Are you fearful of someone or a group of people? Fear of people will hinder our service for the Lord.
Ps 27:1, “The Lord is my light and my salvation;
Whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the strength of my life;
Of whom shall I be afraid?”
Ps. 118:6, “The Lord is on my side;
I will not fear.
What can man do to me?”
Prov. 29:25, “The fear of man brings a snare,
But whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe.”
2 Ti 1:7, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
1 Jn 4:18, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.”
The fear of man destroys our potential.
If the Christian is to have the felicity of soul, fear of people must go. There is no excuse for anxiety in the Christian life. If we fear, it is because we do not apply God’s Word. We do not claim the promises.
People who live in fear that folks will not like them live in subjection to other people. Teens fear that their peers will not put their stamp of approval upon them. If you do not get that stamp of approval, you are done. You must act like them, talk like them, dress like them, or they will blackball you.
The pressure of public opinion begins in grade school. It intensifies until high school, where peer pressure forces teens into patterns of life they do not like. Fear grips their heart. Character transcends the grip of peer pressure. It is character that helps teens take the high road of living under the influence of God rather than others. No teen wants to be an oddball, a speckled bird. Everyone wants acceptance from the community. We all want to be popular. Whoever told us that we should live by the opinion of other people? Why are we out to win a popularity contest?
The only way we can be free from fear is to be faithful to higher purposes. God wants us to be faithful to him. We know him to whom we can take our fear. We can say, “By the grace of God, I need no longer fear man. I do not have to gain the approval of my peers. I do not have to impress my peers. I only want to be what God wants me to be.”
Do you not share your faith due to fear of people? You are afraid that they might reject you. This will immobilize us from an effective witness. May God deliver us from fear. Only he can.
Josh 1:9, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
God does not want us to fear the fear people cast toward us. The only people who can march through life without fear are those who claim the promises of God and who fear God, not man.
When faith shines, fear dissipates. This does not mean that we will never fear anything. We do not become dehumanized when we exercise faith. We, however, do know the one to whom we can take fear. We can trade our fear for confidence and courage. “I do not have to establish a reputation. I need not try to impress others. All I want is to please the Lord.”