Fear is an interesting thing to deal with in life. Even when considering the Bible, fear is a tough dynamic in life to wrestle with. The Bible teaches that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Psalm 110:10). At the same time, the Bible also says that God does not give a spirit of fear, but of power, love and of a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). The Bible is not contradictory, but is specific to show that fear is good in one sense and bad in another. Fear of God is really the only fear that a person should have since God is the only being that can cause anything worthy of fear. At the same time, those who know God and love God have nothing to fear since there should be an understanding that God loves His children and desires eternal life for them. God wants good things for His children, continually promises good things for His children, and has taken great efforts to facilitate good things of grace for His children to show that fear, especially concerning circumstances, is pointless and unfruitful.
In Genesis 26:23-33 the Bible explains that God visited Isaac after all the drama he had with the Philistines regarding the wells of water. The scriptures showed that Isaac tried to do the best he could, submitting himself to the Philistines to maintain the peace, but the Philistines sought to agitate him to frustration, driving Isaac out of the land, into the wilderness. In Genesis 26:23-33 the Lord spoke to Isaac to comfort him after the trials that Isaac was facing. The Bible explains that God appeared to Isaac. The Bible explains that God identified Himself as the God of his father Abraham. God was identifying Himself as the God who made the everlasting promises of grace. God identified Himself as the God who sustained Abraham and built him up according to His promises to give him a land inheritance in Canaan, make him a great nation, and bless all of the families of the world through him. God wanted Isaac to remember the promises that He had made to Abraham. God wanted Isaac to know that he was still the heir of those promises as God often reminded Abraham. God repeated those promises to Isaac and assured Isaac that He was still going to fulfill those very things.
It is important to recognize the timing of God's appearance to Isaac. The Bible explains that God appeared to Isaac during Isaac's time of difficulty and frustration in order to encourage Isaac and remind him of the work that God was going to do. It is important to recognize that God never acknowledged Isaac's performance in relationship to how he dealt with the Philistines. God was confirming His promises under the context of grace still. God was not dependent on Isaac's witness or testimony concerning the Philistines. The Bible does not really say whether God was pleased or not with Isaac's handling of the Philistines. Instead, the Bible simply explains that God assured Isaac and commanded him not to be afraid.
Genesis 26:23-33 reveals that the first thing God said to Isaac when He appeared was to not be afraid. Then God repeated the promises that He made to Abraham. The point is that Isaac was expected to be fearless because of God's promises. God expected that Isaac's understanding of His promises should inspire fearlessness. It was because Isaac was the heir of God's promises that he should have been fearless regarding his circumstances with the Philistines. This is a monumentally important lesson to learn for believers of all ages! Though circumstances bring frustration and difficulty, those who know God and have an understanding of His promises have no reason to fear - especially concerning circumstances. God is a good God. He blesses and gives of His own resources freely. He is gracious and kind. Though He does discipline and allows difficulty to come into our lives, the end result of those things is always good and for His glory, which benefits His children. God is faithful to keep His promises that provide tremendous benefit for His children, and is eternally able to fulfill His eternal covenants of mercy, grace, and love. In addition to repeating the promises that He made to Abraham, God reminded Isaac that he had no reason to fear because God was with Isaac. God is with His children. Understanding this, what do God's children have to be afraid of? If God is for His children, who can be against God's children?
The testimony of Genesis 26:23-33 is even more encouraging after God spoke to Isaac. The Bible reveals that Isaac was encouraged by God's visit and so dug another water well. After he dug this well, the leaders of the Philistines sought Isaac out again and approached him. Isaac asked what they wanted, and the leaders of the Philistines explained that they desired to make a covenant with Isaac because they recognized God was with him. The Philistines recognized God's favor in Isaac's life and didn't want to offend God. The Philistines were able to see that God was blessing Isaac and meeting his needs. The Philistines were able to see the work of God in Isaac's life, and saw that God was faithfully providing for Isaac and his family. Thus, the Philistines wanted to ensure they did not offend God by offending Isaac. Though they had been the facilitators of frustration for Isaac in the past, deep down they knew what God was doing in Isaac's life, and sought to make things peaceful. In other words, God's presence in Isaac's life was so obvious that Isaac's enemies were able to recognize it. Though Isaac was afraid and frustrated, and possibly forgot about God's presence and promises, it was noticeable by others and they desired to have peace with Isaac.
This passage should be encouraging to the heart of the believer. The scriptures show that even when Isaac may have forgotten about God's presence, God's presence was still recognizable in Isaac's life to others, showing that God does not leave or forsake His children because God is faithful! God is faithful to honor His promises to His children, and is gracious to do so even when His children may not deserve it. God is faithful to Himself, to glorify Himself, and so does the necessary work to facilitate good things for His children. Even though situations may look grim and bring fear and frustration, it is critical for the child of God to remember the gracious basis of God's promises and remember that God does not forsake His children. Thus, what does the child of God have to fear?