Monday, April 20, 2015

There is No Reason For Israel To Fear

Isaiah 40:27-41:20

“Why sayest thou, O Jacob, and speakest, O Israel, My way is hid from the LORD, and my judgment is passed over from my God?  Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding.  He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.  Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.  Keep silence before me, O islands; and let the people renew their strength: let them come near; then let them speak: let us come near together to judgment.” (Isaiah 40:27-41:1)

Like many people today, Judah and Israel had reached a point where they no longer believed God cared or took time for individuals.  Isaiah reminds them that God is the creator of the world, and unlike people, he never gets tired or overwhelmed by people’s problems.  He never faces a situation where he doesn’t know how to deal with it.   He is always there to provide strength and encouragement when they are needed.  Even healthy young men experience exhaustion, but God never does. 
If people learn to wait upon him, literally to let him take the lead will have their strength renewed and be able to move forward as effortlessly as an eagle flies.  They will not be tired as a result of their efforts or collapse as a result of a sustained effort, they will not burn out.  Instead of trying to isolate people from God, they need to draw near him and allow him to renew their strength,  relating to him directly and following his rules

“Who raised up the righteous man from the east, called him to his foot, gave the nations before him, and made him rule over kings? he gave them as the dust to his sword, and as driven stubble to his bow.  He pursued them, and passed safely; even by the way that he had not gone with his feet.  Who hath wrought and done it, calling the generations from the beginning? I the LORD, the first, and with the last; I am he.” (Isaiah 41:1-4)

It was God who raised up the eastern kings from Assyria, giving them power over so many other nations and states.  It was Him who enabled them to defeat the others as if they were nothing but dust to be swept aside or as a piece of refuse thrown up for a target for an archer, defeating them even without thoroughly investigating the capabilities of some of the countries. 

“The isles saw it, and feared; the ends of the earth were afraid, drew near, and came.  They helped every one his neighbour; and every one said to his brother, Be of good courage.  So the carpenter encouraged the goldsmith, and he that smootheth with the hammer him that smote the anvil, saying, It is ready for the soldering: and he fastened it with nails, that it should not be moved.” (Isaiah 41:5-7)

Even the distant islands saw God’s power and tool actions to prevent being taken, uniting and assisting each other and encouraging them.  They saw that God had prepared things and was finishing them like a gold smith might solder the various pieces together once they are finished or a carpenter might Nail the finished product into place. 

“But thou, Israel, art my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham my friend.  Thou whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, and called thee from the chief men thereof, and said unto thee, Thou art my servant; I have chosen thee, and not cast thee away.  Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” (Isaiah 41:8-10)

Israel are God’s chosen people, and they have no reason to be afraid of his power.  He will strengthen them and will never cast them away, even when they have rebelled completely.  He will help them even at the worst of times because of his promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 

“Behold, all they that were incensed against thee shall be ashamed and confounded: they shall be as nothing; and they that strive with thee shall perish.  Thou shalt seek them, and shalt not find them, even them that contended with thee: they that war against thee shall be as nothing, and as a thing of nought.  For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.” (Isaiah 41:11-13)

Israel’s enemies will ultimately be shamed by their treatment of the Jews, and amazed by his protection and forgiveness.  They will be destroyed, with no residual power.  God will stand at their side encouraging and helping them. 

“Fear not, thou worm Jacob, and ye men of Israel; I will help thee, saith the LORD, and thy redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.  Behold, I will make thee a new sharp threshing instrument having teeth: thou shalt thresh the mountains, and beat them small, and shalt make the hills as chaff.  Thou shalt fan them, and the wind shall carry them away, and the whirlwind shall scatter them: and thou shalt rejoice in the LORD, and shalt glory in the Holy One of Israel.” (Isaiah 41:14-16)

Though Israel is by comparison seems like just and insignificant worm with little to recommend it. God and his Son will make them into a world power defeating and driving away those other world powers like blowing the chaff away from threshed grain.   When that time comes, their focus will be on the Lord and his glory.

“When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue faileth for thirst, I the LORD will hear them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them.  I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of the valleys: I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water.  I will plant in the wilderness the cedar, the shittah tree, and the myrtle, and the oil tree; I will set in the desert the fir tree, and the pine, and the box tree together: That they may see, and know, and consider, and understand together, that the hand of the LORD hath done this, and the Holy One of Israel hath created it.” (Isaiah 41:17-20)

When things get to a point where there seems to be no hope, God will deliver them, providing whatever is needed, whether water to drink or a bit of shade to protect from the sun, so that Israel may see it is God who protects them, rather than their own efforts or the power of some other group or god.

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