God Intimately Knows Us – IV

February 9, 2015

Isaiah 43:1-3; 41:10

(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)

Let’s finish the series God Intimately Knows Us! The scripture is Isaiah 43:1 through 3 and 41:10, presented in reverse order:

      …thus says the LORD, who created you…and He who formed you…“Fear
      not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine.
      When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers,
      they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not
      be burned; nor shall the flame scorch you. For I am the LORD your God,
      the Holy One of Israel, your Savior….Fear not, for I am with you; be not dis-
      mayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will
      uphold you with My righteous right hand.”

In the first three blogs, we made it through the first three verses of Isaiah 43. Now we will look at Isaiah 41:10 in four parts:

•      “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God…..” It says in Colossians 2:9, “For in Him [Jesus Christ] dwells all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.” And in Colossians 1:27 Paul reminds us “…Christ in you, the hope of glory.” So God is more than just with us! He is in us by His Holy Spirit! Jesus said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you….I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Hebrews 13:5; Matthew 28:20).

God reminded His children in Isaiah 43:1 through 3 that He created mankind in the first place, and He redeemed them when they fell into sin. But – as applied to the Israelites – He redeemed them from slavery in Egypt, giving them passage through the waters of the Red Sea (see Exodus 14:15-17; 23; 28) and through the Jordan River when they entered the Promised Land (see Joshua 3:15-17). The “…through the fire…” part is a prophecy that would be literally fulfilled a hundred years later (see Daniel 3:24-26).

If He would do all that for them, why would they fear or be dismayed? And we today have 2,700 more years of God’s faithfulness on which to rest our hope! We have seen and experienced as Christians the full redemption of God through the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. And that Redeemer being with us and in us – why should we ever fear or be dismayed?

•      “I will strengthen you….” It is significant that the first thing God tells His people is that He will strengthen them. This reminds us that He wants us to do what we can do! Some people just want to be delivered from challenging situations. But God wants us to be strong and get through tough times, because the tough times of trials and temptations build our faith, make us strong, and change us more and more to be like Jesus! (see Romans 5:3-5 and James 1:2-4).

How does God want to strengthen us? Isaiah 40:31 tells us, “…those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.Wait on the LORD by reading, studying and meditating upon His Word. Wait on the LORD in prayer. Wait on the LORD by being obedient to His leading. He will see that we have the needed strength to get through whatever we are facing!

•      “…yes, I will help you….” So you see, His help often comes after His strengthening! Here is what Psalm 28:6 through 8 says about it:

      Blessed be the LORD, because He has heard the voice of my supplications!
      The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in Him, and I
      am helped; therefore my heart greatly rejoices, and with my song I will
      praise Him. The LORD is their strength, and He is the saving refuge of
      His anointed.

The trusted is in the past tense, then David states, “…I am helped…” – present tense. David, who wrote this Psalm, had already trusted in the Lord, and by that trust he had been strengthened. He had experienced God’s help many times. Why? Because “The LORD is my strength….Strength is a present and ongoing characteristic derived from the trust (faith) of the true believer. Strength undergirds God’s help and usually precedes it. Then our trust in that help grows even more!

•      “…I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” Wherever God’s hand leads us, we can be sure of one thing: He is always righteous! And being righteous, He is always just and good! This is why Paul can say in Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” According to the next verse, the good toward which God is working is to…conform [us] to the image of His Son…Jesus Christ.

As children, we are often confident when we are holding our parent’s hand. May we have even greater confidence as our Heavenly Father holds us with His righteous right hand!

Isaiah 43:1-3 and 41:10 teaches us what Paul summarized in Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

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