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Abraham said, "Because I thought, surely there is no fear of God in this place, and they will kill me because of my wife." Genesis 20:11
The Failure of Fear
A Japanese soldier by the name of Shoichi Yokoi lived in a cave on the island of Guam to which he fled in 1944 when the tides of war began to turn against Japan. Fearing for his life, this man stayed hidden for twenty-eight years in the jungle cave, coming out only at night. During this long period of time, this self-imposed hermit lived on frogs, rats, snails, shrimp, nuts, and mangoes. He had made for himself a pair of trousers and a jacket from a burlap-like cloth made from tree bark.
Yokoi said that he knew the war was over because of leaflets that were scattered throughout the jungles of Guam. But he was afraid that if he came out of hiding, he would be executed. For almost three decades he had lived a life dominated by fear.
The Focal Point: We should always trust in God for His protection. If we don't, we will damage His work, dirty our reputation as a Christian, and endanger other people.
Key Verse. Prov. 29:25.
1. Fear Doubts God’s Promises. Gen. 20:1-2
Years ago it was reported that the newspaper counselor, Ann Landers, received an average of 10,000 letters each month, and nearly all of them from people burdened with problems. She was asked if there was any one problem which predominated throughout the letters she received. Her reply was the one problem above all others seems to be fear.
People are afraid of losing their health, their wealth, their loved ones. People are afraid of life itself.--The Bible Friend
2. Fear Cripples Our Service. Gen. 20:2
3. Fear Puts our Neighbors in Danger. Gen. 20:3
4. Fear Distorts Others’ View of God.
a. The king protests. Gen. 20:4-5
b. God warns the king. Gen. 20:6-7
c. The king’s court is alarmed. Gen. 20:8
5. Fear Damages Our Reputation. Gen. 20:9-10
6. Fear Compromises Our Honesty.
a. The explanation of Abraham. Gen. 20:11-13
b. The cost to the King. Gen 20:14-16
7. Fear Harms Our Neighbors. Gen 20:17-18
a. Proverbs 29:25.
b. 2 Timothy 1:7.
c. 1 John 4:18-19.
d. Hebrews 13:5-6.
e. Isaiah 12:2.
8. Additional Perspective.
a. Fran Tarkenton, 9-time Pro Bowler QB for the Minnesota Vikings (Quotable Quotations, Lloyd Cory, p. 136). "Fear causes people to draw back from situations; it brings on mediocrity; it dulls creativity; it sets one up to be a loser in life."
b. “I recall a story about a man who had to cross a wide river on the ice. He was afraid it might be too thin, so he began to crawl on his hand and knees in great terror. He thought he might fall through at any moment. Just as he neared the opposite shore, all exhausted, another man glided past him nonchalantly sitting on a sled loaded with pig iron.
i. “How like some Christians! Headed for Heaven, they tremble at every step lest the divine promises break under their feet. They need only to look at the context of Isaiah 12:2 to realize that God is their salvation and the Lord is their strength and song.
ii. “By resting completely upon Him and taking His promises at face value, we can drive out the paralyzing fear that hinders our effectiveness in serving Christ. The biblical antidote always works: ‘I will trust, and not be afraid.’” (Bible Illustrator for Windows, Parsons Technology)
c. A father said that his little girl, who was much afraid of the dark, slept at night in a crib beside his bed. Often he had been wakened during the night by a little voice saying, "Papa, it's dark! It's dark, papa! Take Nellie's hand." And when, in answer, he had taken hold of the lifted hand, she sank quietly to sleep, all her fears being taken away. The remembrance of the pleading voice had often helped him to remember, in the midst of troubles and distress, that he, too, had a Father to whom he could lift his hand and say, "Father, it is dark! Take my hand." (Bible Illustrator for Windows, Parsons Technology
The Lesson from Genesis 20: We should always trust in God for His protection. If we don't, we will damage His work, dirty our reputation as a Christian, and endanger other people.
Study 21. Key
Prepared by James T. Bartsch
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Bible quotations and Bible Study questions are based upon the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE ®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by the Lockman Foundation.
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