“And when Gideon perceived that he was an angel of the Lord, Gideon said, ‘Alas, O Lord God! for because I have seen an angel of the Lord face to face.’
And the Lord said unto him, ‘Peace be unto thee; fear not: thou shalt not die.'” ~ Judges 6:22-23
FEAR NOT: “Seeing” God is a Blessing: Get to Know Him
Gideon saw an angel of The Lord and thought he would die because as a result.
This was a wrong concept that seemed to have developed over the years, likely influenced by pagan traditions of the Caananite peoples/nations or simply due to a lack of understanding.
First of all, no one accidentally stumbles upon God or His messenger. If one were to see the face of God it could only happen if God intended it. Likewise, if one were to see the face of God’s messenger, an “angel of the LORD”, it too could only happen if God intended it. Second, seeing God or an “angel of the LORD” was not a curse; it was a Blessing.
We see both these principles at work when Moses ASKED God (i.e., Moses sought a blessing) for permission to see Him. And God CHOSE (i.e., it was intentional, not accidental) to reveal Himself partially to Moses (Exodus 33:12-23). Indeed, God did not give Moses a full view, because His Holiness was too great. But the point is that it was a blessed experience, NOT a curse.
Like Gideon, many of our fears concerning God arise from misconceptions due to cultural influences and/or a lack of knowledge of God’s WORD.
For example, a common misunderstanding is that we are guardians of our salvation: that if we “slip up” we risk losing our salvation. However, The WORD makes it clear that Jesus is the guardian of our salvation (John 17:12) and it is God who ensures our progress to spiritual maturity (Philippians 1:6). Those who are truly saved have a new heart (2 Corinthians 5:17) and a new purpose that is supplied by God Himself.
“For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.” ~ Philippians 2:13
Two more examples of common misconceptions are that God is “only” a judge and, at the other end of the spectrum, that God is “only” love (i.e., a ‘good-hearted’, benevolent ‘grandfather’). Both of these concepts, by themselves, are false. God is not one or the other, God loves us and is willing to die for us (John 3:16-17, 15:13-14) AND God will judge those who refuse to submit to Him (Revelation 20:12-15).
The point is that misconceptions, misunderstandings, hinder us; making it difficult for us to hear from God. They make it hard to understand what God is doing in our lives because they project the wrong image of God’s character.
But there is good news: Gideon’s fear arose from not knowing who God was, but God was not going to punish him for His mistake, for his lack of understanding: as our text says, “FEAR NOT, thou shalt not die”. Rather, God was going to give Gideon the opportunity to lead His people out of bondage/oppression. Despite Gideon’s weakness God was going to bring victory to the Hebrews through him.
That’s the key: despite our weaknesses, God is still willing to employ us in His Kingdom, if we will let Him. God doesn’t wait for perfection: God will use even the little faith we have to work great things through us (Matthew 17:20), will you let Him work in you?
FEAR NOT, God intends to work triumphantly through ALL Believers. FEAR NOT, God will meet us where we are. FEAR NOT, God Himself will grow us into mature, fruit-bearing saints. The only question is: will you, will I, will we let Him?
This post is a part of a series on several of the “FEAR NOT” sayings in the Bible.