Then the Lord said to Jacob in Genesis 31:3 “Return to the land of your fathers and to your kindred, and I will be with you.” God commissioned Jacob to return to the Promised Land. This message from God was essential because it was dangerous for Jacob to attempt to leave Laban. That’s obviously why he felt it was necessary to slip away when no one was watching. His fears proved correct. Laban and his army chased Jacob down and eventually caught up with him. But God was faithful to his word to Jacob. “I will be with you.” When Laban approaches Jacob God appears to Laban not to interfere with Jacob’s plans. Laban admitted this to Jacob.

When Moses commissions the children of Israel to go and take the promised land at the end of the book of Deuteronomy he says, “The Lord Himself will go before you. He will be with you. He will not leave you or forgot you, don’t be afraid and don’t worry” (Deuteronomy 31:8). It would be impossible to list all the times God encouraged His people to pursue his calling for their life without being afraid. I just did an internet search and several places it says that “do not be afraid” or “fear not” appears 365 times in the Bible. I’ve not counted them myself, but that sounds about right.

Jesus told his disciples not to worry or be anxious or to be afraid also. It appears to me that he commissions us with similar words. In Luke 12:31-32 Jesus exhorts us not to worry about the things of this earth, things like what we will wear, what we will eat, and where we will live. Instead he commissions us on a spiritual journey. He says, “seek the kingdom of God above all else and He will give you everything you need. So don’t be afraid little flock for it gives your Father great happiness to give you the kingdom.”  Hughes says, “In point of fact, Jesus’ followers already have the kingdom: ‘Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom’ (v. 32). The benefits are ours already, and they ought to liberate us from fear and worry about material things—and will loosen the grip of possessions upon us too.”1

1 R. Kent Hughes, Luke: That You May Know the Truth, Preaching the Word (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1998), 56.