Friday, July 8, 2011

FREAKING OUT!

"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...   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... do not fear,for I myself will help you,” declares the LORD, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.  (Isaiah 41:10, 13-14, NIV)

I read this passage in my devotional time the other morning.  I must have come across these verses dozens of time in the past, and found them inspiring as well as encouraging.  I have viewed them as gentle comfort at a time when I may be freaking out.  But this time of reading these verses was completely different.

When I immersed myself in these words from the Lord this time, He helped me to see them with fresh eyes.  And this time was more like a smack of admonition than a cuddle of compassion.  I saw that while God's words here are soothing, they are also firm.

Let's pull it apart.  First off, when you read these words from the book of Isaiah, they are not a timid suggestion.  They are a solid command.  In fact, did you know that the most often repeated commandment in the Bible is to "fear not"?  And when the Creator of the Universe repeats Himself, he's really trying to get a point through our thick skulls! 

He reminds us in this passage of who He is as well.  "I am your God... your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel."  If He was powerful enough to purchase us back from the fate that our sin subjected us to, is He not capable enough to handle our troubles?  If He is great enough to be called the Holy One of Israel, God of an entire chosen nation, is He not greater than our biggest problem?  He is God.  We are not!

Additionally, He makes awesome promises to us in this passage.  We are promised strength, repeated help and that we are being held onto and upheld.  And a promise from God is no small thing!  Even when we are faithless, He is faithful, so says 2 Timothy 2:13.  When I actually get a minute to watch the clouds rolling by or see the stars twinkling at night, I am blown away by the notion that the Maker of the Universe would even give a hoot about a dust speck like me!  How much more astonishing that He would be concerned enough about my well-being to make and keep these promises!

Of final note, He mentions His position with us and our position with Him in these verses.  In Biblical times, the right hand of a king was a position of high honor.  (Thus the term "right hand man".)  Twice in this passage, God mentions the right hand.  He first tells us he will "uphold... with my righteous right hand."  Also, that He will take "hold of your right hand."  This means that we are in a place of high honor with Him and that He desires have that same position in our lives.

So, put all these points together and what do you have?  As I sat and let these words from the Lord penetrate my heart, I took it as a holy, "Knock it off!  Stop freaking out!  Don't you see how much I value you?!  I've got everything handled!"  What richness, honesty and depth this adds to these verses!  I pray it does the same for you.

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