I’d like to begin by asking what are you most afraid of? One of the one of the most common fears is the fear of heights. It was said that around 20 million people are afraid of heights. But that’s not even at the top list according to statistics. The topmost one is the fear of spiders. And they said, experts say, the most effective way to overcome any fear is to gradually confront your fears. So, may takot ba sa inyo sa ipis, sa spider? Yan ang sabi nila..Confront your fear. But in Genesis 26, Isaac feared men and God calls him not to confront his fear rather to simply fear not man but God. Turn with me to Genesis chapter 26. We’ve read verses 1 to 5; we will read verses 6 to 33. Verses 6 to 33. I’ll be reading from ESV. So Isaac settled in Gerar. When the men of the place asked him about his wife, he said, “She is my sister,” for he feared to say, “My wife,” thinking, “lest the men of the place should kill me because of Rebekah,” because she was attractive in appearance. When he had been there a long time, Abimelech king of the Philistines looked out of a window and saw Isaac laughing with Rebekah his wife. So Abimelech called Isaac and said, “Behold, she is your wife. How then could you say, ‘She is my sister’?” Isaac said to him, “Because I thought, ‘Lest I die because of her.’” Abimelech said, “What is this you have done to us? One of the people might easily have lain with your wife, and you would have brought guilt upon us.” So Abimelech warned all the people, saying, “Whoever touches this man or his wife shall surely be put to death.” And Isaac sowed in that land and reaped in the same year a hundredfold. The Lord blessed him, and the man became rich, and gained more and more until he became very wealthy. He had possessions of flocks and herds and many servants, so that the Philistines envied him. (Now the Philistines had stopped and filled with earth all the wells that his father’s servants had dug in the days of Abraham his father.) And Abimelech said to Isaac, “Go away from us, for you are much mightier than we.” So Isaac departed from there and encamped in the Valley of Gerar and settled there. And Isaac dug again the wells of water that had been dug in the days of Abraham his father, which the Philistines had stopped after the death of Abraham. And he gave them the names that his father had given them. But when Isaac’s servants dug in the valley and found there a well of spring water, the herdsmen of Gerar quarrelled with Isaac’s herdsmen, saying, “The water is ours.” So he called the name of the well Esek, because they contended with him. Then they dug another well, and they quarrelled over that also, so he called its name Sitnah. And he moved from there and dug another well, and they did not quarrel over it. So he called its name Rehoboth, saying, “For now the Lord has made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land.” From there he went up to Beersheba. And the Lord appeared to him the same night and said, “I am the God of Abraham your father. Fear not, for I am with you and will bless you and multiply your offspring for my servant Abraham’s sake.” So he built an altar there and called upon the name of the Lord and pitched his tent there. And there Isaac’s servants dug a well. When Abimelech went to him from Gerar with Ahuzzath his adviser and Phicol the commander of his army, Isaac said to them, “Why have you come to me, seeing that you hate me and have sent me away from you?” They said, “We see plainly that the Lord has been with you. So we said, let there be a sworn pact between us, between you and us, and let us make a covenant with you, that you will do us no harm, just as we have not touched you and have done to you nothing but good and have sent you away in peace. You are now the blessed of the Lord.” So he made them a feast, and they ate and drank. In the morning they rose early and exchanged oaths. And Isaac sent them on their way, and they departed from him in peace. That same day Isaac’s servants came and told him about the well that they had dug and said to him, “We have found water.”
So we see here there is an assurance from God before Isaac goes to Gerar. God told Isaac that I will bless you, I will be with you and then afterwards we see the same scenarios, that his father Abraham has gone through, okay. Naulit kay Isaac. Firstly, because of famine, Isaac went to Gerar and there he saw Abimelech. And just like his father, Abraham, he lied and said that Rebecca was his sister. Isaac explained why he lied.. it’s because he feared Abimelech. Same thing that happened to Abraham before. And then again, just like Abraham, Isaac too was materially blessed by God. He became rich and wealthy. And then we see Isaac also dug wells and there were contentions with the Philistines. We saw that happened as well to Abraham specifically Genesis chapter 21. And then after this, God appeared to him and reminded him of His presence that God will be with him and that he will bless him. God told him fear not.
And then afterwards we see Abimelech coming to him and making a peace treaty with him. Basically that’s the summary of what we have read. God saying Isaac, don’t be afraid. You saw what I did when you sinned and lied about Rebekah. You’re still alive and you’re still blessed. I am with you, Isaac, fear not. The Philistines had problems with you digging the wells and have given you room in this land, FEAR NOT. See, what I did? Abimelech noticed you, notice that I am with you. He’s not going against you so FEAR NOT, Isaac. So the phrase is something common in Scripture. In fact if we go to Genesis chapter 15 before God reminded Abraham that He will give him the land, God said to Abraham FEAR NOT. In Genesis chapter 21 when Hagar was let go together with her son, Ishmael. God told her FEAR NOT. In Joshua chapter 1 verse 9 let’s move forward before God gives Canaan to Israel, He told Joshua be strong and courageous do not be frightened and do not be dismayed for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. So that’s a common phrase that comes from God to a message to His people. God doesn’t want His people to fear obviously. So we, as well as God’s people, the church is called to fear not. In fact that is my message this afternoon. We have no reason to fear for God is always with us. Walang dahilan para tayo’y may katakutan dahil kasama natin parati ang Diyos.
We see Isaac fearing Abimelech. Now what would happen if we, too fear men just like Isaac? My first point is DISASTER TO THOSE WHO FEAR MEN. Sakuna sa mga takot sa tao. And then we see God’s favour in the life of Isaac. My last point is FAVOUR TO THOSE WHO FEAR GOD.
Let’s consider the first point Disaster to those who fear men. Verse 7 tells us that Isaac was afraid. It says, when the men of the place asked him about his wife, he said she is my sister. For he feared to say my wife thinking lest the men of the place should kill me because of Rebekah. So Isaac was afraid to tell the truth that Rebekah was his wife because he feared men. And because of that fear, it led to sin. Isaac lied not only that, because of his fear he in fact gave his wife away just like Abraham. Instead of protecting his wife, he puts her in danger. Verse 10 tells us, Abimelech said what is this you’ve done to us? One of the people might easily have laid with your wife and you would have brought guilt upon us. Isaac did not protect his wife. This is what sinful fear does.
This is what happens when we fear men. We fear situations, circumstances. It may lead to more sins. Disaster comes to those who fear men over God. Proverbs chapter 29 verse 25 it tells us the fear of men, the fear of man rather lays a snare, a trap. But whoever trusts in the Lord is safe. So Isaac’s fear of men led to a snare of deception, of almost adultery. This is something brethren that also may happen to all of us. We may not have the same fear of men like someone’s going to kill us or that perhaps we may have rivalries over wells, over the land. But we too fear men. We’re afraid to be opposed, we’re afraid to be disliked by men. We seek the approval of men and because of this, we will compromise.. we may compromise. And we may respond in sin. And that’s scarier my friends.. that’s scarier. If our lives are accustomed to responding in sin, that’s something to be afraid of. In fact that’s what Jesus said in Matthew chapter 10 verse 28. He said – do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul rather fear Him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Why would you be afraid of man? Why would you be afraid of situations of circumstances? When it’s more frightening to know that God can actually damn one’s soul to hell. That’s scarier! That’s what Christ said. That is scarier! But see, a Christian is not called to be afraid of God. We are called to be frightened of God, right. When we say fear of God, hindi ibig sabihin nun na tayo’y matakot, as in parang nakakita tayo ng nakakatakot. It’s not what it means. We’re called to fear God, yes, but when we say fear God we mean reverential awe and worship. But we’re not called to be frightened. We’re not called to be afraid of God. In fact, first John chapter 4 verse 18 tells us There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love So see, nothing’s more frightening than the punishment of God. Why would you be afraid of men? Why would you be afraid of situations and circumstances? What’s more frightening is the punishment of God. Anything or anyone who say, who may cause us to fear, fails in comparison to what God the judge can do to the damned. And that God tells us it is perfect love, the love of Christ which is perfect, casts out that fear. But if you don’t have faith in Christ, then the wrath, the punishment of God for sin is something that you must fear! Because apart from Christ there is no salvation for sinners. In fact the most fearful thing is to be outside of the presence of Christ. Yun ang mas nakakatakot. Simple lamang ang punto ni Kristo. You fear men or don’t fear man. In fact you fear the one who can destroy the soul and body.. that’s even scarier. However, if you are in Christ, there’s nothing to be afraid of. Because the love of Christ casts out that fear.
Again, if you are outside of Christ, then that is scary. That’s why we are called to repent of our sins and come to faith in Him. To have faith in Him but if you have faith in Jesus Christ, the love of Christ eclipses, it blots out, it overpowers all of our fears. So again, don’t fear men. If you’re gonna fear men, people, remember that the scariest thing is to be outside of Christ. But if you are in Christ, remember that His perfect love banishes all of our fears. Hence fear not, wala tayong dapat ikatakot. Kaya ang challenge sa atin, unang-una, let the love of Christ banish our fears, brethren. Reflect on the truth of Christ’s love and let it remove all the fears we have in this world. We fear people because we seek the approval of people. We’re ready to compromise and sin because we’re afraid of what they’re going to do, because we’re afraid of what’s going to happen. And yet scripture tells us that there’s nothing to fear.
Isaac had no reason to fear because God was with him. We have no reason to fear as well because God is with us. And we know that God is with us, because we have been accepted by God on the account of Christ. It was Christ who faced judgment on that cross. Brethren you won’t be punished for your sin. If you are in Christ, you will not be punished for your sins. In fact you will be receiving what you deserve. Hindi ba nakakatakot yun? If you will receive it? But if you are in Christ, you won’t, you won’t be spending eternity in hell outside of the gracious presence of Christ. You have escaped the fullness of the wrath of God.
You don’t have to hide from the face of Christ because of fear. Rather you are loved by Him. You are blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places. It was in love He predestined us to be members of the household of the family of God. You are loved by the Father. And seeing the face of Christ will be a pure delight for us. Hindi nakakatakot. It will be a pure delight for us. And that’s all because of Jesus Christ, because He was our substitute on that cross. Instead of us, He was the one who received the wrath, the fullness of the wrath of God on that cross. So fear not. And the temptation to fear people and then commit sin, oh it will come. It will come.. but fear not still, brethren, for nothing separates us from the love of Christ. Spurgeon said whenever he has fears, fear of men, sabi niya. Or fear that his faith will weaver, waver rather, he said he meditates on Psalm chapter 56 verse 3. It says when I am afraid I put my trust in you. Simple verse, but he meditates on it. It has an effect in his heart because he knows that it is true for him. There’s truth in that statement, in that passage, that he can indeed trust, put his trust in God. Because Christ has already paid the penalty of his sins.
There is nothing to fear. The song He will hold me fast, beautifully begins when I when I fear my faith will fail Christ will hold me fast and then in the chorus for my Saviour loves me so He will hold me fast. Let the love of Christ banish all our fears. What are you afraid of? Are you afraid that people may question your faith? That your loved ones may question your convictions? Are you afraid of men? Do you intend to respond in sin because of your fear of people? Is it because you want the approval of men instead of God? Is God mightier? Is God powerful than all creatures? Does Christ’s love banish our fears? The answer is yes, so fear not brethren.
Remember that you worship and obey God because He uh.. you don’t obey God because you’re afraid of God. You worship God because you’re afraid of Him.. or you worship and obey God because you delight in God. because Christ was accepted by God. Those who are loved by God are not afraid of God, because God’s love tells them on the day of judgment you may have confidence because you are forgiven in my son Jesus Christ. Because even your good works are accepted in my son Jesus Christ. And so our wickedness our imperfections, all of it is accounted for in Jesus Christ because God loves us. Fear is fear of punishment.
How can you fear if God loves you? Brethren, fear not whatever you’re afraid of. I’m sure we will be tempted. But look to Christ. Remember His love that banishes all of our fears.
My last point is FAVOUR TO THOSE WHO FEAR GOD. Favour to those who fear God. God told Isaac to not go to Egypt but to remain in the southern territory of Gerar which was still in Canaan. And verse 6 tells us that he indeed settled in Gerar. That’s the that’s the place where God wants him to be. So he stayed there even after Abimelech found out about his lie. And then verses 12 to 14 it says he sowed in that land and reaped in the same year a hundredfold. The Lord blessed him, and the man became rich, and gained more and more until he became very wealthy. He had possessions of flocks and herds and many servants, so that the Philistines envied him.
Isaac just lived there as commanded by God. And when Isaac was kicked out by Abimelech, Isaac still did not go to Egypt for resources for comfort. In fact verse 17 tells us he encamped in the valley of Gerar and settled there. So hindi siya tuluyang umalis talaga. Andun pa rin siya sa Gerar, okay. That’s still within Canaan. He’s not gonna leave because God told him not to leave the land of Canaan. In fact providentially it was the place where God dug his well. But it was now covered with soil, sabi. So he had to dig again And remember having a well in their time means you have a source of water. It means you have, you will have control of the surrounding lands. So of course there were contentions with the Philistines just like before with Abraham. But Isaac kept digging. What was the result? Verse 22 for now the Lord has made room for us and we shall be fruitful in the land. And when God told him to fear not verse 25, he built an altar there and called upon the name of the Lord. He worshiped God afterwards. He reverenced God in his heart. In short he understood that he did not need. He, he doesn’t need to fear man. Rather he must fear God. Again this is not the distrusting fear of God or being terrified of God. This is reverential fear of God. The righteous kind of fear, honouring God. That’s what it means when we say fear, fearing God. And so we are again seeing the favour of God to those who heed His call. We are seeing the promise of God to Abraham and Isaac that He will give them the land of Canaan and so Isaac stays there. He becomes rich, his influence grew. Abimelech wanted to be his ally because the presence of God was evident in Isaac’s life. So Sobra yung favour kay Isaac. We see His favour, we see God’s favour rather to those who fear the Lord. And those who fear the Lord are called to be just faithful in keeping the commands of God and that is what Isaac did. In fact this is Ecclesiastes chapter 12 verse 13 fear God and keep his Commandments for this is the whole duty of man. This is what we must do. This is what Isaac did. He disobeyed. After his life, he obeyed, he stayed there. But how about the results? How did he become wealthy? How did, how did, how did the land was give..paano nabigay sa kanya yung land Yung wells? How? What about the results Oh we must trust God. That’s what Isaac did. That’s where also, that’s what we’re called to do as well. We are called to faithfully keep God’s commands and trust Him with the results. Even though he sinned, we see who was in control of everything. Abimelech so happened to chance upon Isaac and Rebekah flirting.. by the way that’s a legal flirting they’re married. Sabi diyan, laughing, but it’s really flirting, okay. Basta yun, I-ano niyo na lang. So technically, I mean, nagulat, he just chanced upon them, right. Sino kaya ang nag- allow kay Abimelech to see the married couple to uh do their marital uh things. God was in control. In fact who sent the famine? It was God. And then Isaac did not go to Egypt. May obedience pa rin kay Isaac. Isaac sowed in that land. He dug wells. Who gave him a hundredfold? Who gave him the wells Rehoboth and Shibah. It was God. Kinailangang gawin ni Isaac, gawin what he was told. Stay there. Mabuhay ka diyan.. settle.. sow in that land. And God will take a rest, will take care of the rest. Hindi ginawa ni Isaac yung ‘let go and let God.’ now, bahala na ang Diyos; stay na lang ako dito. I’ll just sit down, let go. God, go, give me a hundredfold, I’ll stay here and then that’s it. Oh no, actually, nagtanim siya. He made sure that he will have influence in that land. He dug wells so he did heed the call of God. Hindi lang siya basta-basta nag-stay doon. Of course yung ‘let go and let God, bahala na ang Diyos,’ these are expressions of passivity. Whereas, we are called to keep the commands of God and then just trust Him for the results. In fact my challenge, the last challenge for this afternoon is to TRUST THAT IN ALL THE VARIABLES OF LIFE, GOD IS SOVEREIGN AND IN CONTROL.
All you have to do is do what you’re called to do. How many of us knew what’s going to happen in the beginning of 2020? But what are we called to do? Fear not and just trust in our sovereign God, worship Him still, gather, gather with the saints still. And then just trust God. We’re called to be gospel-motivated as we keep the commands of God trusting him whether the temporary results would be good or bad. Praise Him still.
Because whether the result seems, seems bad in our eyes, at the end of the day it is still for our good. It will always be for our good because it is for our sanctification. You know most of the time we are afraid of what’s to come, we fear what we don’t know, we are afraid of what’s going to happen in our lives so we tend to worry about things. Brethren do not be anxious, do not worry for God is Sovereign and in control of all things. Isaac just heeded the call.. stay there and actually live there. Oftentimes God will send His people just like Isaac there will be famine but the call is to still stay in Canaan. In Jeremiah in in in Jeremiah chapter 29 you know that you know that Israel will be exiled but God gives a promise to to just be there and live there. But I have plans for you. All you have to do is just faithfully keep the commands of God and just trust him.Hindi yung ‘let go and let God’ right. The gospel motivated in keeping the commands of God and just trust Him with the results. Whether that’s good or bad, it’s for our good. Now, do you need proof that God is sovereign? Do you need proof that God is in control? He said famine to Isaac, to that land. It was God! It was God who allowed Abimelech to see Abimelech, ay, Isaac and Rebekah flirting. Kung hindi nangyari yun, then probably someone else would lay with his wife, right. You need more proof that He’s Sovereign and in control? Well He promised to defeat sin and He has given us our Saviour. He’s so in control of everything that sin and death and Satan will not win..in fact have been defeated and will be fully defeated. He’s so in control of all things that our sins have been forgiven because of Christ. He is in control.
You know Edward Lawrence was a Puritan. He was one of those who defied the Conventical Act. Now that act prohibits groups to worship together, to be assembled. Pino-prohibit niya, ah, yung act na iyon, hindi puwede na more than 5 people. Kailangan less than five people lamang ang mag-meet, okay. But Edward Lawrence defied this rule and he believed that the church must meet. That he must not prohibit those who would want to worship God. So of course in the meeting place there were more than five, more than 20 in fact. So what happened was he was fined. All of his resources – food, house, these things were confiscated. Now when he was asked how he would support his family.
He said – we ought to be just faithful, be faithful to God and trust His Providence for our welfare. Kaya ba natin iyon? Ganung klaseng pagtitiwala as Diyos. We’ll just follow God because we’ve seen that in Christ that He Himself obeyed follow the precepts the the purposes of God without sin. Kaya ba natin yung gawin? And then just trust God trust his Providence for our welfare. Are you worried too much about the things of the world? Are you in a situation where your fears of what’s going to happen in the future affects the now? Well don’t be afraid when there’s famine don’t be afraid when there are oppositions. Don’t be afraid of earthly kings because God is mightier than Abimelech, mightier than the Philistines. There’s a reason to be afraid because if God is for us and then God is definitely with us and who can be against us? Fear not brethren. Remember not to be passive, fear God and keep His commands and trust Him with the results for God is Sovereign and in control. Fear not brethren, He is in control and He calls us to embrace His Son by faith, knowing that we are loved by His Son, Jesus Christ.
Brethren you are called to live by faith, live a life that is so secured by the gospel, so secured that you’re..na wala ka kakatakutan na mga tao. Of course dadating, dadating ang mga temptations na ito. But look back to the gospel, look to Christ, look at the cross and remember His love for us. How did He love us? He gave Himself up for us. So that our fears will be banished. Don’t fear men. Kung may kakatakutan ka, mas nakakatakot ang galit ng Diyos, kapatid. Pero yun nga yung, here’s the thing, wala dapat tayong katakutan na galit ng Diyos. Because we’re not gonna receive the wrath of God. Because Christ has already received that wrath on that cross. Hence there’s nothing to fear. And knowing this, knowing this, be faithful in keeping the commands of God and then just trust Him trust Him with all the results. May the word of God enrich our knowledge of Him and may it stir us to live in light of these truths.
Let us pray. Great God and gracious Father thank You O Lord for your grace and mercy in our lives. Thank You Lord that the perfect love of Christ casts out all fears. Lord you know our fears and sometimes these fears lead us to to sin. And so Lord I pray that you would enable us by your Spirit to mortify these sinful fears. And may we be reminded O Lord of the love of Christ. May we be reminded oh Lord that we have nothing to fear because Christ has already received that wrath on that cross. And Lord may You grant us a life a faithful life oh Lord looking to the faithfulness of Christ. And we may obey your commands lovingly with delight O Lord and just trust Your Providence. May You allow us O Lord to rest in Your Providence. And Lord, when, when times, when difficult times come, even if the result seems bad oh Lord, in our eyes may we be reminded oh Lord that all things work together for good.
That it is You alone who loves us and nothing separates us from that love. We praise you and we thank You O Lord that we will be able to partake of the supper. I pray Lord that we would be reminded of our covenant that we would be, we will be reminded of our responsibilities and duties for one another and most importantly that we revere O Lord Your Son and that we would be, we would appreciate oh Lord that you are with us as we partake we thank You in Christ’s name amen.