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I spoke with a friend on Sunday, who despaired about how dangerous the world is becoming. I agreed, but then said, “A man once said that as long as he was living in the will of the Lord he was invincible until he had finished with the mission God had given him.”
Isaiah proclaimed God’s “fear not” message.
For I, the Lord your God,
hold your right hand;
it is I who say to you, “Do not fear,
I will help you.” (Isaiah 41.13)
God’s pledges to hold our hand and help us. Even though the world is a scary place, we don’t have to live in fear.
Fear and Faith
Jesus frequently challenged the fear of his followers with exhortations to trust his plans and purposes for their lives.
He told a father whose daughter was at the point of death, “Do not fear. Only believe, and she will be saved” (Luke 8.50).
Jesus’ close followers were afraid of perishing in a storm at sea, but he said, “Why are you afraid, you of little faith?” (Matthew 8.26).
In a message similar to Isaiah Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid” (John 14.27).
God is with us. He holds our hand. As we live in trust, he provides peace and protection.
Insignificant but Important
Our grandsons love worms. Sometimes they take them for a ride on their trampoline. Once, our daughter found a worm in her bed courtesy of her sons’ love of those creatures.
God loves worms, too. Compared to God we are as small as insects. Yet, we are important to God.
Do not fear, you worm Jacob,
you insect Israel!
I will help you, says the Lord;
your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel. (Isaiah 41.14)
In the 1970s there was a poorly made movie with a powerful message. The story was about a beekeeper, who loved his bees. He desired to tell the bees how much he cared for them, but the communication barrier seemed impossible.
Through the miracle of movie-making, the beekeeper was transformed into a bee. He traveled from one end of the small beehive to the other, telling the bees, “We have a wonderful beekeeper. He loves us and wants us to experience the best life possible.”
When Paul spoke to the people of Athens, he knew that humans can not discover God through their intellect or senses. Like the bees, they needed someone to enter their world and reveal God to them.
Paul noted their efforts and said, “. . . They would search for God and perhaps grope for him and find him — though indeed he is not far from each one of us.
“For ‘In him we live and move and have our being'” (Acts 17.27-28).
The bees were not aware that they lived in a hive that had been provided by the beekeeper. They were unable to conceive of a beekeeper until he became one of them and told them.
Humans live in the realm of God, but in vain search for him with philosophy and natural reasoning.
God entered our space through Jesus and said “Do not fear . . . I will help you.”
John put it like this, “And the Word became flesh and lived among us” (John 1.14).
“No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known” (John 1.18).
This is our loving Redeemer, who desires to reveal himself to us, hold our hand, and help us.
God’s Care for the Poor
It disturbs me to know that there are people in our world who will never have the opportunities that many of us take for granted. They will never sleep in a comfortable bed, have clean water, or a variety of food.
They will possibly never escape hunger, lack of education, and a harsh living environment. Some will be enslaved by their nation or by powerful persons. It is hard to believe, but their numbers are in the billions.
They are invisible “insects” to many in the western world. However, they are precious to God. He has a word for them.
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.
So that all may see and know,
all may consider and understand,
that the hand of the Lord has done this,
the Holy One of Israel has created it. (Isaiah 41.17, 20)
The poor are not God-forsaken. He sees their pain and suffering. He is their helper. God is glorified because he cares for the marginalized of the earth.
I cannot write about God’s love for the poor without expressing praise for people I know who join him in his love. I am grateful for Scott and Dawn Stoner, who serve the homeless.
I praise God for the many people who help those recover from the ravages of addiction.
I thank God for Donna Mills, who uses her skills to help people connect with financial and employment resources. I also praise God for people who financially assist Maywood’s service to the poor.
When the poor are assisted, God is glorified. The world can see that behind this ministry to the vulnerable is the “hand of the Lord.”
About This Blog
Rudy Ross and I produce a daily video of these blog articles on the Bob Spradling YouTube channel. Rudy is Jewish, a Christian, and an excellent Bible student. The videos present insights from a dialogue with the two of us.
I am indebted to Dr. John Oswalt, who has written an excellent two-volume commentary on Isaiah for insights into the Book of Isaiah.
Please email your prayer requests to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or private message me on Facebook. The Maywood Baptist Church prayer team will pray for you.