Fear Not, for I Am with You
Listen to me in silence, O coastlands;
let the peoples renew their strength;
let them approach, then let them speak;
let us together draw near for judgment.
2 Who stirred up one from the east
whom victory meets at every step?
Commentators warmly debate the identity of this one from the east. Most believe him to be either Abraham, the patriarch of the Jewish people and the father of the faithful, or Cyrus, the king who joined the Medes and the Persians into a fighting force which conquered Babylon — which, prophetically, is the broad time context Isaiah speaks to.
He gives up nations before him,
so that he tramples kings underfoot;
he makes them like dust with his sword,
like driven stubble with his bow.
3 He pursues them and passes on safely,
by paths his feet have not trod.
4 Who has performed and done this,
calling the generations from the beginning?
I, the Lord, the first,
and with the last; I am he.
5 The coastlands have seen and are afraid;
the ends of the earth tremble;
they have drawn near and come.
6 Everyone helps his neighbor
and says to his brother, “Be strong!”
7 The craftsman strengthens the goldsmith,
and he who smooths with the hammer him who strikes the anvil,
saying of the soldering, “It is good”;
and they strengthen it with nails so that it cannot be moved.
Isaiah pours on the irony. It took a lot of work to make a good god. It took skilled workers (the craftsman . . . the goldsmith . . . he who smooths with the hammer . . . him who strikes the anvil). It took organization and teamwork (“It is ready for the soldering”). If you don’t do it right, your god might not be able to stand up! (That it might not totter.)
8 But you, Israel, my servant,
Jacob, whom I have chosen,
the offspring of Abraham, my friend;
The sweetness of the Lord here! He says, Others reject me and worship idols instead of me. They are afraid. But you, my beloved, chosen long ago to be my own, through your ancestors my friends . . .
9 you whom I took from the ends of the earth,
and called from its farthest corners,
saying to you, “You are my servant,
I have chosen you and not cast you off”;
10 fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
. . . Fear not! Guzik says, “This is both a command and a promise. Israel is commanded to fear not. Fear, worry, and anxiety are often sin. When the God who rules over the nations as described in Isaiah 41:2-4, the God who chose us and loves us as described in Isaiah 41:8-9, when that God tell us fear not, we must take it seriously! But there is also a promise. We fear not, because the Lord has told us, I am with you. What more do we need? If God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31).”
“Fear not, I am with thee, oh, be not dismayed,
For I am thy God, and will still give thee aid;
I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand,
Upheld by My gracious, omnipotent hand.”
HERE is “Do not be afraid, I am with you,” by David Haas.
11 Behold, all who are incensed against you
shall be put to shame and confounded;
those who strive against you
shall be as nothing and shall perish.
12 You shall seek those who contend with you,
but you shall not find them;
those who war against you
shall be as nothing at all.
13 For I, the Lord your God,
hold your right hand;
it is I who say to you, “Fear not,
I am the one who helps you.”
14 Fear not, you worm Jacob,
you men of Israel!
Again the reassurance of the Lord — No matter what, fear not! Don’t be afraid! I am here!
I am the one who helps you, declares the Lord;
your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel.
15 Behold, I make of you a threshing sledge,
new, sharp, and having teeth;
you shall thresh the mountains and crush them,
and you shall make the hills like chaff;
16 you shall winnow them, and the wind shall carry them away,
and the tempest shall scatter them.
And you shall rejoice in the Lord;
in the Holy One of Israel you shall glory.
17 When the poor and needy seek water,
and there is none,
and their tongue is parched with thirst,
I the Lord will answer them;
I the God of Israel will not forsake them.
18 I will open rivers on the bare 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.
19 I will put in the wilderness the cedar,
the acacia, the myrtle, and the olive.
I will set in the desert the cypress,
the plane and the pine together,
20 that they may see and know,
may consider and understand together,
that the hand of the Lord has done this,
the Holy One of Israel has created it.
Click HERE to hear Fanny Crosby’s “To God Be the Glory — Great things He has done!”
The Futility of Idols
21 Set forth your case, says the Lord;
bring your proofs, says the King of Jacob.
Imagine a courtroom. God calls the idols (and their worshipers) to trial. Defend yourselves, he says. Remember the past and tell the future. Show your worthiness!
22 Let them bring them, and tell us
what is to happen.
Tell us the former things, what they are,
that we may consider them,
that we may know their outcome;
or declare to us the things to come.
23 Tell us what is to come hereafter,
that we may know that you are gods;
do good, or do harm,
that we may be dismayed and terrified.
24 Behold, you are nothing,
and your work is less than nothing;
an abomination is he who chooses you.
But they do nothing, because they are nothing.
1 Corinthians 8:4 (NIV)
We know that “An idol is nothing at all in the world” and that “There is no God but one.”
25 I stirred up one from the north, and he has come,
from the rising of the sun, and he shall call upon my name;
he shall trample on rulers as on mortar,
as the potter treads clay.
26 Who declared it from the beginning, that we might know,
and beforehand, that we might say, “He is right”?
There was none who declared it, none who proclaimed,
none who heard your words.
27 I was the first to say to Zion, “Behold, here they are!”
and I will give to Jerusalem a herald of good news.
28 But when I look, there is no one;
among these there is no counselor
who, when I ask, gives an answer.
29 Behold, they are all a delusion;
their works are nothing;
their metal images are empty wind.
Have you noticed all of God’s “I WILL” promises in this chapter?
I will strengthen you. (Isaiah 41:10)
I will help you. (Isaiah 41:10)
I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)
I will make you into a new threshing sledge with sharp teeth. (Isaiah 41:15)
I will open rivers in desolate heights. (Isaiah 41:18)
I will make the wilderness a pool of water. (Isaiah 41:18)
I will plant in the wilderness the cedar and the acacia tree. (Isaiah 41:19)
I will set in the desert the cypress tree. (Isaiah 41:19)
I will give to Jerusalem one who brings good tidings. (Isaiah 41:27)