“Do Not Be Afraid,” says the Lord. “I Have Big Plans for You.”

What does God say to Joshua in the Old Testament, and Mary and the shepherds in the New Testament, and is still true for us today?

“Do not be afraid.”

And when the Lord says, “Do not be afraid,” He continues on by telling each person what are the big plans He has for them. They then have a choice to believe in Him, obey Him, and receive some incredible blessings; or, they can reject what He says to them, not believe, not obey, and miss the amazing blessings.

Let’s look at three passages, and determine:

  • Who is God talking to
  • Why God says, “Do not be afraid” to them
  • What big plans God has for them
  • How they respond to God’s Word

Joshua 1:6-9 (HCSB)
6 “Be strong and courageous, for you will distribute the land I swore to their fathers to give them as an inheritance. 7 Above all, be strong and very courageous to carefully observe the whole instruction My servant Moses commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right or the left, so that you will have success wherever you go. 8 This book of instruction must not depart from your mouth; you are to recite it day and night so that you may carefully observe everything written in it. For then you will prosper and succeed in whatever you do. 9 Haven’t I commanded you: be strong and courageous? Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

  • Who is God talking to
  • Why God says, “Do not be afraid” to them
  • What big plans God has for them
  • How they respond to God’s Word

Luke 1:26-33 (HCSB)
26 In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, 27 to a virgin engaged to a man named Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And ⌊the angel⌋ came to her and said, “Rejoice, favored woman! The Lord is with you.” 29 But she was deeply troubled by this statement, wondering what kind of greeting this could be. 30 Then the angel told her: Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 Now listen: You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will call His name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. 33 He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.

  • Who is God talking to
  • Why God says, “Do not be afraid” to them
  • What big plans God has for them
  • How they respond to God’s Word

Luke 2:8-20 (HCSB)
8 In the same region, shepherds were staying out in the fields and keeping watch at night over their flock. 9 Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid, for look, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people: 11 Today a Savior, who is Messiah the Lord, was born for you in the city of David. 12 This will be the sign for you: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in cloth and lying in a feeding trough.”

13 Suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying: 14 Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to people He favors!

15 When the angels had left them and returned to heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go straight to Bethlehem and see what has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 They hurried off and found both Mary and Joseph, and the baby who was lying in the feeding trough. 17 After seeing ⌊them⌋, they reported the message they were told about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.
19 But Mary was treasuring up all these things in her heart and meditating on them. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had seen and heard, just as they had been told.

  • Who is God talking to
  • Why God says, “Do not be afraid” to them
  • What big plans God has for them
  • How they respond to God’s Word

Big Plans

Joshua was chosen by God to lead the people into the Promised Land. Mary was chosen by God to give birth to the Savior. The shepherds were chosen by God to be the first eyewitnesses of the birth of the Christ child.

Each of the people chosen by God would have no doubt experienced a crisis of belief that required them to respond with faith and obedience.

  • Did they pass the test?
  • What do you learn from them?
  • How can you follow their example?

Put It Into Practice

  • What is one thing you will do this week to apply these verses of Scripture to your life?

A Simple Prayer: “Dear God, I believe that You have big plans for me. Help me to listen to your instructions, and to not be afraid. Help me to overcome all my fears by trusting in You. Give me the strength to walk in obedience and to experience the blessings you have for me.”

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