Monday, October 24, 2016

Comfort My People: The Prophecies Of Isaiah, Day 118

Comfort My People:
The Prophecies Of Isaiah
Day 118

Our section of Scripture this morning begins with a beautiful passage, "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." (Isaiah 41:10) They are not to fear because they are a chosen people and God has made a covenant with them which He will not break. There are some promises in the Scriptures which are intended solely for Israel but in my opinion this is not one of them. Yes, the Lord has been referring to His covenant with them and His friendship with their father Abraham. But the Apostle Paul points out to us that in Christ, we are all "Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise". (Galatians 3:29) The Apostle Peter assures us that we who are in Christ, whether Jew or Gentile, are a "chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's special possession". (1 Peter 2:9) Because we are in Christ, even we Gentiles are now a part of the family of God. He is our God and can say to us "do not fear". He is our God and can say to us "I will strengthen you and help you". 

God is our Father and it is His responsibility to deal with our enemies. "All who rage against you will surely be ashamed and disgraced; those who oppose you will be as nothing and perish." (Isaiah 41:11) There has always been a spirit of anti-Semitism in the world and it comes straight from the evil one. Throughout history, all the kings and kingdoms and dictators and nations who sought to wipe the Jews out have suffered defeat instead. This will continue until the end, for we noted in our study of Revelation that anti-Semitism will reach its peak in the kingdom of the Antichrist. Since Christ came and offered Himself for us, this rabid hatred has spread to Christians as well, and countless Christians have been persecuted and even martyred for the faith. This is still going on today and, as we learned in Revelation, the Christian persecution will reach its zenith during the reign of the Antichrist. But no king or dictator, no matter how powerful, will stand before the God who promises us, "No weapon formed against you shall prosper." (Isaiah 54:17) 

A time is coming when this promise will be fulfilled, "Though you search for your enemies, you will not find them. Those who wage war against you will be as nothing at all." (Isaiah 41:12) When Christ rightfully claims the throne of David and reigns as supreme and righteous leader over all, where will our enemies be? They will not be found. To hate the Lord's people is to hate the Lord who redeemed them and He will not tolerate such a spirit of rebellion. Those who longed to see God's people taken from the earth will be removed from the earth themselves and "only the redeemed" will walk here in the light of our Lord's love. (Isaiah 35:8-9) 

"For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. Do not be afraid, you worm Jacob, little Israel, do not fear, for I myself will help you,' declares the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel." (Isaiah 41:13-14) Bible commentator Adam Clarke points to a rabbinical writing which expounds on why Jacob (Israel) is called a worm here. In the writing of Rabbi Yelamedenu, he states, "As the worm does not smite, that is, gnaw the cedars, but with its mouth, which is very tender, yet it nevertheless destroys the hard wood, so all the strength of the Israelites is in prayer, by which they smite the wicked of this world, though strong like the cedars, to which they are compared." This makes sense in light of our next verse.

"See, I will make you into a threshing sledge, new and sharp, with many teeth. You will thresh the mountains and crush them, and reduce the hills to chaff. You will winnow them, the wind will pick them up, and a gale will blow them away. But you will rejoice in the Lord and glory in the Holy One of Israel." (Isaiah 41:15-16) Jacob, the small and meek and toothless worm, will be transformed by the power of God into a sharp instrument with teeth. This is the God who moves the mountains out of our way and this is the God who parts the waters so we can walk through on dry ground. Jacob, in his own strength, is nothing. But Jacob plus God equals a formidable foe. 

With God on our side we can say along with King David, "I will not fear though tens of thousands assail me on every side." (Psalm 3:6) We can echo the words of the sons of Korah, "God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging." (Psalm 46:1-3) We can nod our heads in agreement with King Solomon who said, "Whoever fears the Lord has a secure fortress, and for their children it will be a refuge." (Proverbs 14:26) As children of God, we can boldly proclaim this statement of faith, "If God is for us, who can be against us?" (Romans 8:31)

Satan would have us believe we are outnumbered, already defeated before we even take up the sword, so that we surrender without a fight. But this is a lie, for "The Lord is my light and my salvation---whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life---of whom shall I be afraid?" (Psalm 27:1) Christ earned us the right to walk in victory through this world and has urged us not to fear, for He is with us, "And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." (Matthew 28:20b) In Christ, we are a chosen people of God. He is for us. With the powerful and almighty Creator on our side, what is there to fear?

Our worship song link for today is below.

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