"Do not fear, for I am with you." Genesis 26:24
After the Philistines ceased to quarrel with Isaac over the water supplies, Yahveh spoke to him, saying:
"I will bless you and make your children many for the sake of My servant, Abraham."
On three separate occasions in the book of Genesis Yahveh said - 'do not fear'. The first time was to
Abraham, after his successful rescue of Lot in the war against the four kings: "Do not fear Abram, I will shield you; your
reward will be very great." Genesis 15:1 The second time was here - to Isaac - after his success in obtaining an uncontested
source of water. And the third was to Jacob, on his way to Egypt to be reunited with Joseph, after learning that he was still alive and ruling
over Egypt: "Do not fear in going down to Egypt, for I will make you into a great nation." Genesis 46:3
Yahveh did not speak these words to Abraham when he was told, "Go to the land, which I shall show you."
Genesis 12:1 Nor to Isaac when he was a stranger in the land of Abimelech. Nor to Jacob, when he fled to Laban, or was about
to face Esau and his four hundred men on his return. On the contrary, "Do not fear" came at times of success, not of imminent
Personal success can be as stressful as personal failure, as the following illustrates:
A family in Jerusalem lived for nearly a decade in a crowded and not very comfortable apartment. At the end of that period,
they managed to put enough money together to purchase a place in a prestigious neighborhood. The parents would have more workspace
and the children, rooms of their own, with air conditioning. Perfect! The wife was so happy that she declared that she would
stay there even if she won the lottery - she'd pay off the mortgage and stay put. But there was more stress than joy as move-in
day drew nearer.
Successes bring challenges and fears of its own, especially as it opens a new chapter of experiences.
And it can be all the lonelier, as people who have not been in that situation do not understand. But Yahveh did understand
and He showed it with those words to the Patriarchs - 'Do not fear'.