Isaiah 41:8-13: But you, Israel, My servant,Jacob whom I have chosen
New American Standard Bible
“But you, Israel, My servant,
Jacob whom I have chosen,
Descendant of Abraham My friend,
You whom I have [a]taken from the ends of the earth
And called from its remotest parts,
And said to you, ‘You are My servant,
I have chosen you and have not rejected you.
Do not fear, for I am with you;
Do not be afraid, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you, I will also help you,
I will also uphold you with My righteous right hand.’
Behold, all those who are angered at you will be shamed and dishonored;
Those who contend with you will be as nothing and will perish.
You will seek those who quarrel with you, but will not find them,
Those who war with you will be as nothing and non-existent.
For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand,
Who says to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you.’
The Lord now speaks a word of comfort to the nation of Israel. He calls Israel His servant, the one who He has chosen, and being descendants from Abraham they have a very special relationship with God. They are chosen by God. God calls Abraham His friend. This shows the close relationship that existed between God and Abraham.
For us who are in Christ we have been restored into right relationship with Almighty God. We may wonder at times if God will be faithful to fulfill all He has promised and said in His word. But our lives must become immersed in the word of God daily. As our minds are renewed by the promises of God, instead of living in fear and discouragement, we will have His peace and presence dominating our lives.
The Lord not only called Abraham from the Ur of the Chaldeans, but He also called Israel out of bondage when they were in Egypt. At this time the people of Israel would have been in exile in Babylon. Even though Isaiah lived many years before Israel went into exile, it is God who is speaking through Him of things to come. This would have been a great message of comfort because just as God gathered them before and and never forsook them, the Lord would do the same again. Even though they personally saw no end to the bondage of Babylon, God in His appointed time would bring them out.
God over and over again often when He speaks of His people uses the word chosen. When we are saved by God, we are saved by His grace. When Abraham was brought into relationship with God it wasn’t based on Abraham’s righteousness, it was based on God’s election. It is God who chooses, it is God who calls, it is man who responds. But when we respond we can know in our hearts that God is faithful to fulfill that which He has said. His word will never return void. His word will never simply fall to the ground. When the word of God goes forth it will accomplish all it is meant to accomplish by His power and His might.
When the Lord uses the word servant He is not only referring to Abraham, but all of Israel. For Abraham was the beginning. It was the faithful response of Abraham to the call of God that began the relationship between God and Israel. No matter how rebellious Israel became, God would not abandon them and forsake them. It doesn’t mean that God wouldn’t bring forth discipline. Because in His love He disciplines us.
In verse ten God gives many promises that when we build our lives on them and fix our hearts on them will strengthen and encourage us. The Lord says “do not fear”. Why should we not fear, because He is with us. The Lord says do not be afraid. Because He is our God. The Lord promises to strengthen us and also to help us. He promises to uphold us with His righteous right hand.
The issue for many of us is we often forget how powerful and mighty God is. We can become so overwhelmed by every deceptive lie and word of the enemy. Satan will bombard our hearts and our minds. But we must fix our eyes upon Jesus and know that He is fully in control. We must trust that God is going to protect, provide, and strengthen us for whatever we are facing. God is fully in control.
God gives the reassurance of His protection and His faithfulness. The Lord says “those who are angered at you will be shamed and dishonored; those who contend with you will be as nothing and will perish”. God makes it clear that He will rightly and thoroughly deal with the enemies of Israel. Often when we face opposition from the enemy we can wonder where the Lord is, but He is always faithful. God allows us to face insurmountable odds so that when God moves He alone gets all the glory. Through the process our faith is deepened and we are matured. God is always concerned about the maturity and character of His sons and daughters. We never need to fear or worry because God is always faithful.
God makes it clear that when He is done, the enemies of Israel will be no more. The Lord says you will not find those who quarrel with you and those who war with Israel will be non-existent. We must remember that we are talking about the Living God. He is the maker of Heaven and Earth. No matter how mighty our adversary may seem or how overwhelming our circumstances may be. Next to God they are nothing. The Lord calls us to trust Him. During the day of those Isaiah prophesied concerning these words, it would have been the Israelites in bondage to Babylon. But even with how mighty Babylon seemed, when God was done dealing with them, they would be no more.
God’s promise to Israel and to us is He is the one who will take hold of our right hand. He will lead us to victory and safety. He will redeem us and restore us. The enemy simply desires to kill, steal, and destroy. Before we come to Jesus we live in slavery to Satan and the powers of darkness. But through Christ we are set free. Through Jesus we have been given a brand new life.
The Lord tells us not to fear because He will help us. Those who were exiled in Babylon surely felt that God had abandoned them and forsaken them. How many times have we gone through these feelings as well. The enemy desires to cripple our faith and cause us to abandon hope in God. But we must hold fast. We must know in our hearts that God is greater. That He is always faithful. No matter how overwhelming the odds, God is greater.