It is such a comfort to know that even when we feel alone or vulnerable as Christians, we are never truly alone, for Jesus said "…surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." (Matt 28:20b) God has also stated many times in the Scriptures: "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." (Heb 13:5)
At the same time, there seems to be so much fear in the world today, and surely even within the very body of Christ. In such troubled times, it can be so comforting to hear those familiar words from the Lord: "Fear not…."
It's possible to read the scriptures repeatedly and regularly, and still find something remarkably eye opening and new that was actually staring you right in the face for the longest time. That is how it has been for me over the past several years,
I began taking note of the many times God said something like "fear not, for I am with you" in various forms to many, many people. The sheer volume of such scriptures is truly incredible, running all the way from Genesis to Revelation, with the highlight being the scriptures that identify the Messiah's name as "Immanuel" meaning "God with us". It has taken a LONG time to even LIST a portion of those verses. The link below will lead to several pages listing the most notable ones.
Whether or not you choose to look at the entire list, hopefully you will read the next paragraph that lists some of the people mentioned in these verses, and recall part of their stories. I would highly encourage you to look up/read the list of verses that follow, as you have the time, if you want to be BLESSED with how the repetition of this thought underscores God's declaration that He is WITH us (and how much we need Him to be!) Don't let the sheer volume overwhelm you except with WONDER that He could possibly have repeated this thought so many times, and we (at least certainly I) could have in any way missed the theme.
Here is a partial list of the people who had such words spoken to them or about them: Enoch, Noah, Abram/Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, the Israelites, Joshua, Boaz's words to his countrymen in Bethlehem, Samuel, David, Solomon, (Jeroboam--IF he walked in His ways), Elisha, Hezekiah, Phinehas son of Eleazar, Asa and all Judah and Benjamin, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah, King Hezekiah--to the military officers of Judah, Jeremiah, Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego, Daniel, Zerubbabel, Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and all the people of the land….
Looking at the overview of the scriptures, it becomes apparent that this theme is finally brought to its full fruition in Jesus' life on earth, and then His death and resurrection, after which He not only claims to be WITH us, but actually IN us, and bids US to be IN Him…. Thus, the list of people above ends up including Mary, Jesus (of course), the disciples, and ultimately, every believer in Jesus Christ. There is a great, simple yet profound mystery in it all. As you read through these various scriptures, it is my prayer that the Holy Spirit will reveal to you that the "fear not for I am with you" theme of the Old Testament serves in many ways to prepare our hearts to recognize the truth of what happened when Jesus arrived on the scene in the flesh (what we celebrate at Christmas), and then, most importantly when He was resurrected (what we celebrate at Easter and hopefully every day).
At the bottom of the page is the first link to the list of scriptures. Surely, it is a huge list…. Even as I read it over, it moves my heart to hear God's words to SO MANY people, and ultimately to each of our hearts, if we will but receive the free and gracious gift of His love.
Praying that as you read, He will melt away your fears, and let you know that He is indeed WITH you (take note of how often the word "with" is used). If you have yet to come to know Him, these scriptures in and of themselves may lead you directly to His heart….
"All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 'The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel'--which means, 'God with us.' " (Matthew 1:22-23)
Read on, dear friend…
Blessings for a deeply meaningful Christmas,