‘Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’ Isaiah 41:10
These words, spoken to Israel through the prophet Isaiah, eased the fears of Israel who had a long history of idol worship, forsaking God, and generally acting how ever they wanted. Israel acted just like I often do. And just like Israel, I wonder why God punishes me. OK, so Babylon didn’t invade my city but there are other consequences to bear for what goes in my life today. And just like with Israel, those consequences serve as a wake up call — HEY! COME BACK HERE!! DO WHAT YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO DO!
Isaiah’s words foreshadow those of the New Testament:
- “I am with you” compared with “…I am with you always…” Matthew 28:20
- “Do not anxiously look about you” compared with ” Be anxious for nothing…” Philippians 4:6
- “I will strengthen you” compared with ” After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.” 1 Peter 5:10
- “I will help you” compared with “ “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever;” John 14:16
And finally, “I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” This speaks of the Lord Jesus Christ – “So then, when the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God.” Mark 16:19
It is by the very power of Jesus Christ — the right hand of God – that I am forgiven my sins. By His blood my sins are washed away. I deserved to be punished but Jesus bore that punishment for me.
In all that plagues me, and makes me anxious, and fearful I need to remember not to navel-gaze and cry out “why me?” From my knees – an attitude of prayer – I need to look to the Cross, then get up and look in the Tomb. And remember, I am being held up by His righteous right hand.
Father, I recognize that I have sinned against You. There are consequences for this. I am so thankful that the ultimate consequence has been placed on Jesus. I pray that Your Holy Spirit would remind of this regularly. May You be glorified. In Jesus’ name I pray…Amen