It is amazing, once you are alerted to it, how often the brief encouragement 'Do not be afraid' occurs in Scripture. Often in the context there seems very good reason to be afraid. There might seem no way out. The opposition arrayed against you might seem overwhelming. The virulence and persistence with which you are opposed may be a very real cause for terror. And then the words come, 'do not be afraid'.
One of my favourite texts which includes these four little words of encouragement comes from 1 Samuel 22 (drawn to my attention by John Woodhouse). Ahimelech the son of Ahitub has fled from Doeg the Edomite who has just murdered the priests of Nob. Coming to David, he seeks refuge with him. And at this point the Old Testament Christ says to him 'Stay with me; do not be afraid, for he who seeks my life seeks your life. With me you shall be in safekeeping.' (v. 23)
Of course in the New Testament these words occur repeatedly on the lips of Jesus. His disciples, it seems, had ample opportunity to be afraid (sometimes of Jesus as they caught glimpses of his unique power and authority, Mk 6:45–51; Lk 5:1–11). And yet he kept saying 'do not be afraid' (Mtt 10:26, 28, 31; Mk 5:36; Lk 12:32; Rev 1:17).
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Yesterday the Mid-West including western Kentucky was hit by severe thunderstorms and high winds. Twice yesterday morning the warning siren went off alerting residents in the part of town near where I live that a tornado was in the vicinity. The only thing that one can do upon hearing the siren is to find a "safe spot" in the house and entrust oneself to God.