Fear Not; Trust God

Posted: September 5, 2013 in Isaiah

Isaiah 41, “Fear Not; Trust God”

Some things are easier said than done.  “If you practice really hard, you can play Carnegie Hall.”  “It’s no problem becoming a multi-millionaire; just make your 1st million and you’re on your way.”  “It’s easy to quit smoking…just stop doing it.”

Or how about this: “Don’t be afraid.”  Truth be told, that’s probably the hardest one of all!  It’s easy to say that we ought not to fear, but it’s much harder to actually do it.  After all, there’s no lack of reasons why we should fear!  Health – taxes – war – crime, etc…  Yet the Bible repeatedly tells us NOT to fear, and does so again here with God addressing His people of Israel.

We’ve entered into a new section in the book of Isaiah, with “comfort” becoming a major theme.  God had delivered His people from the threat of the Assyrians, but He promised that they would succumb to the threat of the Babylonians.  The captivity is a foregone conclusion.  That in itself is a big reason to be afraid!  But God wasn’t done with His people.  They were still beloved by Him, and He would be with them.

Ch 41 is comprised of three main parts, which together form somewhat of a “sandwich.”  It begins and ends with God addressing the Gentile nations of the world, showing how He was raising up a new servant who would conquer them, and that the idols in which the Gentiles trusted were useless.  But the meat is with Israel.  Israel is different – forever chosen by God, secure in His covenant promises.  God would always be their God, and they could take courage in His love for them.

Isaiah 41

  • God’s 1st address to the Gentiles: a court subpoena (vss. 1-7)

1 “Keep silence before Me, O coastlands, And let the people renew their strength! Let them come near, then let them speak; Let us come near together for judgment.

  • To speak of the “coastlands” is to refer to far more than countries with beachfront property…it’s a reference to the various Gentile nations of the world.  The nations that are far off are the coastlands – and all of them are being called by God to simultaneously “keep silence” and “renew their strength.”  What is going on?  God is calling forth the Gentiles to prepare themselves for judgment.  He brings them to court, silencing them.  This isn’t a reminder of their Miranda-rights (we have none before God!), but rather a command to be silent as they receive the judgment of God.  God will first speak, and they must answer.
  • There is a huge difference between the ways God calls the Gentiles, and how God calls His own covenant people.  Back in Ch. 1, God called Israel to come “reason together” with Him (Isa 1:18).  That was a loving invitation to a rebellious people to sit down and consider what the consequences would be for their rebelliousness.  It wasn’t a negotiation regarding their sin, but it was a promise of their forgiveness if they repented and trusted the Lord. (“Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.”)  Here, there is a distinct difference in tone.  The coastland people are not in a covenant relationship with God.  They are not invited to the table to sit down & reason with the Lord; they are commanded to come to the courtroom of God and be judged by Him.  They were to strengthen themselves, but contextually it was “buck up” and take the punishment that was about to be doled out to them.

2 “Who raised up one from the east? Who in righteousness called him to His feet? Who gave the nations before him, And made him rule over kings? Who gave them as the dust to his sword, As driven stubble to his bow? 3 Who pursued them, and passed safely By the way that he had not gone with his feet?

  • God asks a bunch of rhetorical questions about who is behind all these events, and the obvious answer is: the Lord.  But before we look at the role of God in this, we need to ask to what this all refers?  Who is the “one from the east,” etc.  The fact that God raised up this person and did all of this according to His righteous plan might cause us to think of someone from within Israel – but not even David nor Solomon in all their glory could lay claim to these things.  They had neither come from the east, nor did they rule over kings.  We could look forward to the coming Messiah (and we will!), but the context of this passage seems to be so much more immediate in the eyes of the original intended audience.  After all, this is not a call by God for the nations to prepare themselves for eventual judgment in thousands of years, but something for which they needed to face right then & there.
  • Many scholars believe this to be a reference to Cyrus of Persia.  His was the empire God raised up to bring judgment upon Babylon.  All the nations that had been conquered by Nebuchadnezzar came under the reign of Cyrus when he overthrew the Babylonian empire.  Kings and armies were as “dust to his sword,” and no one could stand in his way. …  Others think this to be a historical reference to Abraham.  Abraham came from the same general region as Cyrus (Ur of the Chaldees = Iraq; Cyrus of Persia = Iran), and God certainly brought Abraham into the land giving him respect in the eyes of all those around him.  That said, Abraham never ruled over kings, thus Cyrus would seem to be the better interpretation.
  • That said, there’s no doubt that what could be said in part of Cyrus (or Abraham) can be fully realized under the Millennial reign of King Jesus!  All the nations of the earth will bow before Jesus – all of His enemies will be as dust before Him.  Today we tend to think of Jesus in His meekness (which is appropriate), but when He comes in power and glory, He will also show His wrath upon His enemies & the nations that oppose Him.  Psalm 2:8–9, "(8) Ask of Me, and I will give You The nations for Your inheritance, And the ends of the earth for Your possession. (9) You shall break them with a rod of iron; You shall dash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel." []  This mighty warrior King is still our King Jesus!  None will stand in His way.
  • Of course the overall point is that God had done these things!  God is the One who raises up kings and puts them down.  He raised up Nebuchadnezzar to come and conquer the Middle East, even taking His own covenant-people into captivity.  God would raise up another to free His people and send them back to the promised land.  That God would use someone like Cyrus is not to call Cyrus “righteous” (vs. 2), but to acknowledge that it is the righteous plan of God at work.

4 Who has performed and done it, Calling the generations from the beginning? ‘I, the LORD, am the first; And with the last I am He.’ ”

  • God isn’t just sovereign over Persia or Babylon or a few people – God is sovereign over all the nations of the world (which is why He calls them to account in His judgment).  God is sovereign over every “generation.
  • God also the first and the last!  As Jesus would say (using Greek), He is the Alpha & Omega – the beginning and the end. (Rev 1:8,11, 21:6, 22:13)  He is the “first” because He is the source of all creation.  Nothing exists that exists without the will of God through Jesus Christ.  He is premier in all things, supremely above all things.  He is the “last” because He is everlasting – stretching even beyond the bounds of eternity.
    • Notice in vs. 4, it’s not only that God Himself is the first and the last, but God is the first, and He is “with the last.”  Who will accompany God into eternity?  His people…US!  Those who trust Christ Jesus as Lord will spend eon after eon with Him in glorious worship and fellowship!

5 The coastlands saw it and feared, The ends of the earth were afraid; They drew near and came. 6 Everyone helped his neighbor, And said to his brother, “Be of good courage!” 7 So the craftsman encouraged the goldsmith; He who smooths with the hammer inspired him who strikes the anvil, Saying, “It is ready for the soldering”; Then he fastened it with pegs, That it might not totter.

  • The coastlands were called in vs. 1, and they respond in vs. 5.  Instead of drawing strength to submit themselves to the judgment of God, they attempt to strengthen themselves and inspire one another.  This might not sound so bad, if we didn’t notice what it is they were doing: continuing in their idolatrous ways.  Everyone is helping one another & encouraging one another, all in the process of saying, “Forget about the Lord God – let’s just keep making our idols stronger.  If we give the statue some pegs to help keep it from tottering too much, then we can continue worshiping our idol.”  All the various craftsmen of the Gentile nations came together in one big united effort of futile idolatry.  They could barely get their statue to stand, and yet they believed it to be worthy of their worship.
  • There are many today who strengthen and encourage one another as they continue to rebel against God.  Unity of purpose can be good, but only when the cause is godly.  Otherwise, unity just leads people into further disaster.  [Tower of Babel – Gen 11]  The truly courageous thing for the Gentiles to do would have been to turn away from their false idols, no matter what sort of peer pressure surrounded them.
  • God’s assurance to Israel (vss. 8-20)

8 “But you, Israel, are My servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, The descendants of Abraham My friend. 9 You whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, And called from its farthest regions, And said to you, ‘You are My servant, I have chosen you and have not cast you away:

  • Israel was different than the nations of the coastlands.  They were a people whom God called to love, rather than judge.  To be sure, God would judge His people (that was the entire point of the captivity, which was assured) – but that was not the extent of God’s relationship with them.  God had a far deeper relationship with Israel, because they were His people.
  • Israel was God’s “servant.”  Unlike the nations who were at enmity against God, the nation of Israel served God.  They were covenant relationship with Him, and like any sovereign King, God would protect His servants. 
  • Israel was God’s “chosen.”  Out of the nations of the world, God specifically chose this one.  He didn’t choose them because they were the biggest or the strongest, but because they were weak, and that God might be glorified through them. (Dt 7:7)  They were specially chosen by God, and thus they were beloved by God.
  • Israel was descended from God’s “friend.”  More than a servant, a friend!  Abraham is consistently shown through the Scripture as a friend of God.  He worshipped God – he obeyed God – but he had freedom in his relationship with the Almighty to speak with him, as a man would speak to his friend (as did Moses).  The nation of Israel are his direct descendants, and God did not take that lightly.  He would treat them with the same covenant protection He had given His friend, for Abraham’s sake.
  • God had formed His people, and He would not “cast [them] away.”  God would be faithful, without fail!  He had called His people – He had chosen His people – He had certainly chastised His people, but He would never cast them off totally.  There was always a remnant that remained, and there was always the promise of restoration according to His covenant promises.
  • Everything that is said here regarding Israel can be said of the Church today.  We are
    servants” of the Most High God.  We fall under His protection because of Jesus.  We have been “chosen” by God from the foundation of the world.  He foreknew us and loved us, and gave us the specific opportunity of responding to His love and grace.  We are the “friends” of the Lord Jesus.  This was specifically said of Jesus to His disciples – He did not call them servants any longer, but friends.  We have a marvelous free relationship with our God & King!  And He does not “cast” us away.  Jesus promised to be with us always, even to the end of the age.  We have the wonderful guarantee of eternity through the indwelling and sealing of the Holy Spirit.  Truly we are a blessed people!  Unlike any people of the world, we have been showered with grace from God Almighty.
  • Back to the context… What wonderful assurance from the Lord!  Israel would have suffered through immense hardship in the Babylonian captivity, but they were not forgotten by God.  God reminds them of His great love for them, and because of this, what did He exhort them to do?  Take courage.  See vs. 10…

10 Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’

  • Don’t fear!  Objection: “But the people of Israel had every right to fear!  How could God tell them not to fear?”  And that’s true.  They had been ravaged by the Babylonians when Nebuchadnezzar came in to conquer.  The prophet Jeremiah wrote about some of the details of the conquest in horrific terms (i.e.: Lamentations) – no doubt the people of Jerusalem were understandably fearful & dismayed.  Yet God calms their fear.  God had not fully abandoned them to the Babylonians.  It was terrible for a moment, but it would not always be so.  Once the chastisement was complete, there was no more reason to fear.
  • Why?  God was with them!  He was their God.  God is bigger than their oppressor!  God is bigger than their circumstances!  The reason Israel could put away its fear is because of the promise of the presence of God.  As long as God was with them, they had no reason to fear at all.  After all, if God is for us, who can be against us? (Rom 8:31)
  • God promised to “help” them & “strengthen” them.  The power they lacked was fully available in the Lord God.  The strength they needed was available for the asking.  They did not have to try to pretend they had courage, or find it on their own; they needed to look to God & God would be the One who would strengthen them.  They did not need to generate their strength; they would receive the strength of the Lord.
  • God promised to give them victory & hold them in His “righteous right hand.”  Not only would God not cast them aside, but He would actively hold them in assurance and victory.  They would abide with God in the presence of His honor and glory at His right hand.
  • All of these things are direct promises to the nation of Israel, but they are also profoundly true of ALL of the people of God.  This speaks directly of the covenant promises we have through Jesus Christ.
    • God is OUR God.  We who once were not a people all have now been made the people of God – a royal & holy priesthood!
    • God is OUR strength. We were dreadfully weak, but in Christ we have been made strong.  We have the power of the Holy Spirit available for the asking.
    • God is OUR help.  The grace of God is more than enough to provide all that we need.  His grace truly is sufficient!
    • God is OUR victory.  We are more than conquerors in the Lord Jesus who loves us!
    • So now what?  “Fear not!”  The born-again believer in Jesus has no reason to fear any circumstance he/she might face in all the world.  To be sure, fear is understandable in certain situations, but it’s always unnecessary.  We are children of the Most High God!  We are servants and friends of the Risen Lord Jesus!  We are the temple of the Holy Spirit!  God has not imparted to us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind. (2 Tim 1:7)  This is the assurance in which we can walk, no matter what our circumstances might be that surround us.

11 “Behold, all those who were incensed against you Shall be ashamed and disgraced; They shall be as nothing, And those who strive with you shall perish. 12 You shall seek them and not find them— Those who contended with you. Those who war against you Shall be as nothing, As a nonexistent thing.

  • This would be incredible news to an oppressed captive people!  All of Israel’s enemies would be put down.  The mighty empire that oppressed them, tortured them, and controlled a major world empire would come to nothing.  The once-mighty Babylon would be “a nonexistent thing” – something virtually inconceivable in the current era of captivity.  Imagine a world in which the greatest enemy we face is suddenly turned to dust & made toothless & powerless.  That would be an incredible promise full of hope!
  • And it IS a promise!  Notice all the times God affirms that these things “shall” happen.  There is no doubt as to what the future holds, because God has declared it.  They could have a confident assurance that what God promised, God would be faithful to deliver.  If God said that their enemies would perish, that is exactly what would happen.
  • What God says regarding the enemies of Israel is also true regarding the enemy of our souls.  Satan will be ashamed & disgraced!  One day, Satan will come to nothing when he is chained in the bottomless pit for 1000 years, only to be released for a time & later forever cast into the lake of fire.  Of this, we can be certain!

13 For I, the LORD your God, will hold your right hand, Saying to you, ‘Fear not, I will help you.’ 14 “Fear not, you worm Jacob, You men of Israel! I will help you,” says the LORD And your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.

  • The promise and exhortation from vs. 10 is reiterated.  Fear not; God will help!  Three times in Ch 41, God tells Israel not to fear.  Interestingly enough, it is the idolatrous Gentiles back in verse 6 that actually encourage each other to “be of good courage,” yet God’s own people need to be reminded time & time again not to fear.
    • The fact is, we DO need to be reminded to fear not!  We are a fearful, worrisome people.  We have a tendency to worry about all sorts of things because we like to be in control of our circumstances.  When we’re not, we panic.  Israel was not in control of their circumstances, and neither are we.  And guess what?  We never truly ARE in control.  Any control we think we have over a situation is generally just an illusion.  The only control we can exercise is self-control…otherwise things are completely out of our hands.  They are not, however, out of the hands of God.  And that is exactly His point.  God is always in control, and so there is never a reason for His people who are currently seeking His face to fear.
    • For those who are in rebellion against God, there is plenty of reason to fear!  But even that is unnecessary if they simply humble themselves in repentance and faith towards Jesus Christ.
  • Who is Israel?  “You worm Jacob.”  Not exactly encouraging, but accurate.  They were despised the eyes of the world, a tiny little nation that was known for causing trouble for others.  (Not much has changed in 2500 years!)  And apart from the Lord, that is exactly what they were.  They had no strength of their own. (And neither do we…)
  • Who is the Lord?
    • the LORD”: That’s not repetition, BTW. J  He is the ever-existent covenant-keeping God.  He is the Great I AM who freed Israel from slavery in Egypt – who brought them into the promised land, conquering the Canaanite nations – who gave them the law & the covenant promises of the Messiah – who still had a plan for Israel, despite all of their past disobedience.
    • your Redeemer”: God purchased the people of Israel as His own!  He was the One with the right of redemption, and He exercised it.  This is what He did at the Passover and the Red Sea – and this is ultimately what He did when Jesus went to the cross.
    • the Holy One of Israel”: God is supremely holy, and He identifies Himself as the God of Israel.  This is not Israel claiming God for themselves, but God claiming Israel for Himself above all the other nations of the world.  Their blessing was not found in them (they were but a worm); their blessing was found in their relationship with the Almighty God.

15 “Behold, I will make you into a new threshing sledge with sharp teeth; You shall thresh the mountains and beat them small, And make the hills like chaff. 16 You shall winnow them, the wind shall carry them away, And the whirlwind shall scatter them; You shall rejoice in the LORD, And glory in the Holy One of Israel.

  • God had promised to help & strengthen Israel, and this is where we see how God plans to do it.  He plans to change them from worms to warriors.  Unlike worms that tunnel through the ground slowly, God would make them in to threshing tools able to reap the harvest that was right before them.  They wouldn’t just thresh a minor field; they would thresh mountains!  The whole idea here is picturesque of the victory God promised His people.  They were weak and oppressed during their days in Babylon, but it would not always remain that way.  He would bring them out again and give them great victory over the nations of the world.
    • Objection: “But when did that happen?  When they were through with their captivity in Babylon, the nation of Israel remained under the rule of foreign governments until the 20th century.”  It hasn’t happened…yet.  But this is what is promised to the nation of Israel in the Millennial Kingdom.  When Jesus rules over the world from Jerusalem, the nation of Israel will have premier status among the nations of the world, and they will defeat their enemies.
  • Note: this isn’t due to the skill of Israel, but to the empowerment of God. “Behold, I will make you…”  God would empower them to do such a thing.  Without the work of the Lord in their lives, they would remain but worms.  But WITH God, they would become more than conquerors in His name. 
    • We dare not forget our dependency upon the Lord Jesus!  Without His grace and strength, we have nothing, but IN Christ we have everything!
  • And what will be the result?  God’s people will “rejoice” and “glory” in their God.  They will worship Him (as they should have done all along).
  • (subsection) God’s promised restoration of the land (vss. 17-20)

17 “The poor and needy seek water, but there is none, Their tongues fail for thirst. I, the LORD, will hear them; I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them. 18 I will open rivers in desolate heights, And fountains in the midst of the valleys; I will make the wilderness a pool of water, And the dry land springs of water.

  • No doubt some of the idea here is symbolic, in that God’s people were going to be parched during their 70 years of captivity, and God would quench their thirst in His deliverance.
  • However, there is definitely literal truth being conveyed here as well.  Not only would God’s people be restored as a nation, but the physical land in which they dwell would be restored.  The regions that had grown desolate would be well watered again, and the desert would become a rich garden.  See vs. 19…

19 I will plant in the wilderness the cedar and the acacia tree, The myrtle and the oil tree; I will set in the desert the cypress tree and the pine And the box tree together, 20 That they may see and know, And consider and understand together, That the hand of the LORD has done this, And the Holy One of Israel has created it.

  • Speaking of an incredible richness of blessing in the land.  When Israel was taken away, the land fell to waste, but when they returned, they were able to cultivate the land again.  This was the promise regarding the Babylonian captivity, and it has been illustrated vividly in the modern state of Israel.  During the centuries that the Jews were kept out of the land, it was a virtual wasteland.  Today, the state of Israel is one of the largest agricultural exporters in the world.
    • If that’s the way it is today, imagine what the land will produce during the Millennial Kingdom!
  • All of this serves a purpose: it gives a testimony to the greatness of God.  The whole world would witness the restoration of God’s people within God’s land, and they wouldn’t be able to help but acknowledge that the hand of God had done it.  The actions of God for His people overwhelm the skepticism of the rest of the world.
    • So it is in with our lives when we are transformed by the Lord Jesus.  The people who knew us prior to our conversion simply cannot argue with the results of what Jesus has done.
  • God’s 2nd address to the Gentiles: uselessness of idols

21 “Present your case,” says the LORD. “Bring forth your strong reasons,” says the King of Jacob.  22 “Let them bring forth and show us what will happen; Let them show the former things, what they were, That we may consider them, And know the latter end of them; Or declare to us things to come. 23 Show the things that are to come hereafter, That we may know that you are gods; Yes, do good or do evil, That we may be dismayed and see it together. 24 Indeed you are nothing, And your work is nothing; He who chooses you is an abomination.

  • After affirming His covenant promises with Israel, God turns His attention back to the Gentile nations again.  Earlier, He had called them to strengthen themselves to receive the judgment of God.  Now He commands them to bring forth evidence that the idols they worship actually have the divine power that the people who worship them claim that they have.  It’s as if God is saying, “Go ahead & prove your gods are real.  Let them predict the future, as I have repeatedly done with My people.  Let them speak, if they are truly gods.”  And of course they cannot.
    • That’s the problem with idols of any sort.  People put the kind of trust in them that can only be put into the true God.  What good is it to dedicate your whole life to a vain pursuit that cannot grant everlasting life – that cannot give you anything of eternal value.  To choose idolatry over the Lord is foolishness!
    • And yet people do it every day.  It’s no wonder that God declares: “He who chooses you is an abomination.”  For one of God’s own created beings to willfully shut their eyes to their Creator, and instead choose another created thing in the place of God is an abomination to how things ought to be.
  • BTW – notice God’s title for Himself: “the King of Jacob.”  In addressing the Gentiles, God reminds the world that He has chosen for Himself one nation apart from all the rest.  He has a special relationship with Israel.  (And we are brought into that very same relationship!  We are grafted into the vine of Israel – Rom 11)
    • God is indeed the King of Israel.  He always has been, even when they rejected Him as such.

25 “I have raised up one from the north, And he shall come; From the rising of the sun he shall call on My name; And he shall come against princes as though mortar, As the potter treads clay.

  • Again, God references a servant that He has “raised up.”  This servant is coming, and no one will be able to stop him.  Princes will shatter like brittle mortar in his path.
  • Although the direction is different (north vs. east), this seems to be another reference to Cyrus of Persia.  Actually, both headings are accurate in that Persia (Iran) is Northeast of Israel.  God raised up Cyrus as His instrument, used in cutting down the Babylonian empire and to return His people back to their homeland, as well as offer them protection and the funding to rebuild the temple once they arrived.  In addition, the different points of the compass show how Cyrus came.  (Grogan, Expositor’s) “Cyrus, king of Persia, crossed the Tigris from the east and so entered the Babylonian Empire. He marched swiftly and victoriously against Croesus, king of Lydia, and took his capital, Sardis, in western Asia Minor, having already subdued the Medes in the north (cf. v.25). He could therefore be described as being both from the east and from the north.”
  • Question: was Cyrus a worshipper of God?  Isaiah’s prophecy states that “he shall call on My name.”  Cyrus DID acknowledge the Lord God, even if he didn’t fully worship God as a true believer. Ezra 1:2–3, "(2) Thus says Cyrus king of Persia: All the kingdoms of the earth the LORD God of heaven has given me. And He has commanded me to build Him a house at Jerusalem which is in Judah. (3) Who is among you of all His people? May his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem which is in Judah, and build the house of the LORD God of Israel (He is God), which is in Jerusalem."  []  He seems to have had at least some knowledge of God, though it was probably syncretistic as Cyrus seemed to try to cover the bases of all the potential gods that might need to be satisfied.
  • Again, even with a reference to Cyrus, there is application to the Messiah.  Jesus certainly would not come out of the far north (unless it is a reference to Galilee north of Jerusalem), but when Jesus comes in His glorious 2nd coming, there will be no nation that will be able to stand against Him.

26 Who has declared from the beginning, that we may know? And former times, that we may say, ‘He is righteous’? Surely there is no one who shows, Surely there is no one who declares, Surely there is no one who hears your words.

  • Which of the pagan idols is able to declare such things as the Lord declares?  Which of the idols can even hear the prayers of the people who worship them?  None!

27 The first time I said to Zion, ‘Look, there they are!’ And I will give to Jerusalem one who brings good tidings. 28 For I looked, and there was no man; I looked among them, but there was no counselor, Who, when I asked of them, could answer a word.

  • The Gentiles were not alone in their deluded worship of idols.  Even God’s own people fell into deception (which is the reason that God took them into captivity).  God had repeatedly tried to warn the Jews about the futility of idolatry, but they would not listen.
  • Even so, God had “good tidings” for His people.  A deliverer was coming, and the Jews would once again return to Zion!

29 Indeed they are all worthless; Their works are nothing; Their molded images are wind and confusion.

  • Every idol everywhere is “worthless” – they are all nothing.  It is just foolishness in comparison with the Living God!
  • So why trust in them?  Be it directed to the Gentiles, or God’s own people, God’s exhortation is clear: trust the Living God!  Only He can perfectly judge the past, sustain in the present, and promise accurately about the future.  He is God alone, and He is glorious!

Conclusion:
The nations are called to give account for their idolatry, and they cannot.  Their idols are as dumb as God always proclaimed them to be.  It was foolishness to trust in them, and yet the nations of the world were steadfast in their delusion.  As a result, they were outside of relationship with God, facing a mighty judge and warrior-King.

Not so with Israel!  The nation of Israel were the people of God, chosen by Him, and beloved by Him for the sake of Abraham & for all the covenant promises that had come in the past.  God would not cast off His people, no matter what they may have endured.  A promise remained for the people of God, and God would see it through to completion.  As a result, Israel could take courage.  There was no reason to fear, for God was their help.

Beloved, so it is with us.  No doubt, we were like the Gentiles who trusted in our idols.  And perhaps there are times we run back to our foolishness and trust in the things and the ideas of our own making, rather than in God.  But that is who we were; it’s not who we are in Christ.  Once we placed our faith in Christ, we became the people of God, chosen & beloved by Him.  He is OUR God, and He will always be with us in every circumstance, having promised us a glorious future with Him for all eternity.

So don’t fear – God is your help!

Don’t be afraid or dismayed by your circumstances – remember who you are in Christ, and what Jesus has already done for you.  We never need doubt if God will be good to His word regarding the promises that we have in Jesus because all we need to do is look to the cross & empty tomb.  God has already kept His word!  And He will continue to do so in the future.

So trust Christ – look to Him as you strength and your help.

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