Isaiah 41: 9-13
9 I took you from the ends of the earth,
from its farthest corners I called you.
I said, 'You are my servant';
I have chosen you and have not rejected you.
10 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.
11 "All who rage against you
will surely be ashamed and disgraced;
those who oppose you
will be as nothing and perish.
12 Though you search for your enemies,
you will not find them.
Those who wage war against you
will be as nothing at all.
13 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.
Strength for the Fearful
I recommend that believers underline Isaiah 41 in their Bibles and meditate on it often. When one of God's people is seeking an anchor in turbulent times, this is the right passage for the job. Here, Isaiah writes about the source of Christians' strength.
In verse 10 alone, the Lord promises strength, help, and protection. Moreover, He gives two commands: "do not fear" and "do not anxiously look about you." Among Satan's subtle and successful traps is the art of distraction. The Evil One knows that fear can choke faith. He works hard to make unsettling circumstances a person's sole focus. Once a believer's attention is diverted from God, natural human tendencies take over. In the absence of prayer and worship, anxiety and doubt grow unobstructed.
Staying focused on God can be hard. The flesh prefers to seek security by thinking through all possible angles: our tendency is to weigh what we think could happen against what "experts" say will happen, and then to evaluate possible ways of preventing our worst fears from coming true. Instead of becoming more confident, we begin to realize how powerless we are.Thankfully, we serve an almighty God who says, "Surely I will help you" (v. 10). You can count on Him.
When we focus on our circumstances, we're actually choosing to feel anxiety and doubt. But these emotions don't belong in a believer's daily life. Instead, let's decide to trust in the promises God has given us. He's filled His Word with scriptural anchors to keep His children steady in the faith.
For more biblical teaching and resources from Dr. Charles Stanley, please visit www.intouch.org.
Remember the playground bully? He was big and tough and he enjoyed pushing kids around. Everyone was afraid of him (even some of the teachers, you thought) --he seemed invincible. But over the next few years, the others boys grew past him --bigger, stronger, faster. Then the bully didn't seem so tough or frightening as before.
Assyria was the bully of the Middle East, the conqueror of many nations including Israel. This nation's power, epitomized by Nineveh, the capital city, was awesome and overwhelming. Proud and defiant, Assyria plundered, oppressed, and slaughtered its victims.
Enter Nahum, the prophet.
Nahum pronounced God's judgment upon this prideful and wicked people, exclaiming that powerful Assyria would be utterly destroyed. His prediction was fulfilled within fifty years.
This book provides strong testimony to God's ultimate power and justice -- he calls all people to live under his rule: nations, cities, parents, neighborhood bullies . . . and you.
Perhaps you don't have to remember a bully. There may be one in you world today. Huge debt, ugly guilt. Bossy employer. If so, remember what Nahum announced thousands of years ago: Your father is bigger than any bully!
APPLICATION: Do you feel empty? Overwhelmed? Do you wonder why you have to face difficult trails? Memorize Nahum 1:7 and take confidence in God who remains good.
Nahum Chapter 1
The Lord 's Anger Against Nineveh
2 The LORD is a jealous and avenging God;
the LORD takes vengeance and is filled with wrath.
The LORD takes vengeance on his foes
and maintains his wrath against his enemies.
3 The LORD is slow to anger and great in power;
the LORD will not leave the guilty unpunished.
His way is in the whirlwind and the storm,
and clouds are the dust of his feet.
4 He rebukes the sea and dries it up;
he makes all the rivers run dry.
Bashan and Carmel wither
and the blossoms of Lebanon fade.
5 The mountains quake before him
and the hills melt away.
The earth trembles at his presence,
the world and all who live in it.
6 Who can withstand his indignation?
Who can endure his fierce anger?
His wrath is poured out like fire;
the rocks are shattered before him.
7 The LORD is good,
a refuge in times of trouble.
He cares for those who trust in him,
8 but with an overwhelming flood
he will make an end of Nineveh ;
he will pursue his foes into darkness.. . .
50 Days After the LORD'S RESURRECTION
THE HOLY SPIRIT CAME ON Pentacost