But the angel said to her,
“Do not be afraid, Mary.
(Please read devotionals 1 and 2 first.)
The angel’s preface to his commissioning, “Do not be afraid”, is the most commonly repeated command in the Bible. There is good reason for this for we are people of fear.
Mary was afraid of what the angel was going to ask her to do. I too am often afraid of my tasks, the unknown, the future, the risks – life in general.
Fear is the root behind all sorts of things. Fear causes us to make poor decisions, react wrongly, shy away from obedience, and keeps us from taking necessary risks.
I think it is very significant that the angel first told Mary in verse 28, “The Lord is with you.” This promise very often accompanies the injunction to not be afraid.
To the Israelites in Deuteronomy 31:6 “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
To Joshua in Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
From David in Psalm 23:4 “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”
To Isaiah in Isaiah 41:10 “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
And then to Mary, God repeated his promised that He would be with her no matter what she would face and thus she did not need to fear.
And now to me and you, God says in Hebrews 13:5b-6 “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?”
What are you afraid of? What is fear keeping you from? Do you believe the Lord is with you?
Stop for a moment and tell God about it. Remember that God’s nearness and presence overshadows fear.
Father God, I am afraid about ______. I draw near to you right now. I press into your presence, becoming aware that you are with me. May your nearness overshadow my fear.