What Fear Did

“And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself” (Gen. 3:9-10).

Here is the first time the Bible records an example of fear.  There was no fearfulness between man and God before sin entered.  Fear came when sin came and has been problematic ever since.  Consider three things to be learned about fear from this account.

  1. Fear Runs From God. The very solution to fear is to be found in God and yet the man and the woman were hiding from God (cf. Gen. 3:10).  How common is the practice that when man makes mistakes that he runs from God?  Jonah ran from God (cf. Jonah 1:3, 10).  David wrote, “Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whiter shall I flee from thy presence? (Ps. 139:7).  The passages following imply that the omnipresence of God is impossible to avoid.  The Lord desires people to be drawn to Him, not run from Him.  James wrote, “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double-minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up” (James 4:8-10).  God’s people should learn the truth as revealed in the Bible that God does not want fear to create isolation and separation from Him.
  2. Fear Resorts to Excuses. Adam stated, “The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat” (Gen. 3:12).  Excuses are found throughout the Bible for failure to admit personal responsibility.  Aaron said to Moses after being confronted about the golden calf, “Let not the anger of my lord wax hot: thou knowest the people, that they are set on mischief” (Ex. 32:22). King Saul said to Samuel after not obeying the Lord, “They have brought them from the Amalekites: for the people spared the best of the sheep and of the oxen, to sacrifice unto the Lord thy God; and the rest we have utterly destroyed” (1 Sam. 15:15).  The man after God’s own heart was consumed with guilt in his silence over his sin (cf. Ps. 32:3-4) and clearly said when Nathan revealed his sin, “I have sinned against the Lord” (2 Sam. 12:13).  David would write of this admission, “I acknowledge my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin” (Ps. 32:5).  Let life be without excuses.  Face the facts and do not try to cover up wrongs.
  3. Fear Requires Redeeming Love. The Lord God said in view of Adam and Eve’s sins, “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel” (Gen. 3:15).  This is the first reference to Jesus and the price to be paid to redeem man.  John wrote, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love castest out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love” (1 John 4:18).  The first love to deal with fear is the love of God.  Jeremiah wrote, “The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn thee” (Jer. 31:3).  That love motivates man to love in return (cf. 1 John 4:19).  It is and appreciation for redeeming love that replaces fear with faith and faithfulness.  Sin separates; God draws.

Jimmy Clark