Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Do not be afraid
I am with you
Be of no discouragement
I am your God
I will give you strength and help you
I will uphold you with my righteousness of my right hand
It has been said that the comforting words, Fear Not, appear in the bible 366 times, one for each day of the year, plus one for leap year. But no matter how many times these words of encouragement appear, let us always remember that they are spoken by the Creator of the Universe. He is the one Who tells His children not to fear, nor to be discouraged, because He is our God and that should be sufficient. We should simply take Him at His word.
Faith in His Word is what God desires of us all and are warned that unless we trust His word we can’t please Him. But the Lord is gracious to us for He knows that we are but dust. He knows that doubts and discouragement can be triggered by so many things that mar our lives, and so He often expands His words of comfort with a beautiful post-script, underlining and emphasizing His loving-kindness. There are three such extensions in this beautiful verse that was first given to Israel.
Firstly, we are not to fear for He has promised to strengthen all that are His and the Jesus amplifies this truth to Paul, when He tells him that Christ’s strength is sufficient for His strength is made perfect in our weakness.
Secondly, the Lord continues, that as well as having His strength for all we need, He will be an ever-present help in trouble. Indeed, the Lord Jesus Himself promised, Lo I am with You always, even to the end of the age and furthermore He even sent His indwelling holy Spirit to be our present Helper and our resident Comforter at all times and in all places.
Thirdly, His reassurance stretches out His arms of love still wider, with the pledge to uphold us with His righteous right hand and to prevent our steps from slipping by enfolding up in His arms of righteousness.
YES – Christ is our righteousness, and Christ is our ever-present help in time of trouble, and it is Christ Whose grace is always sufficient for all our needs for Christ is our covering – how then can we fear, if God be for us who is there to fear? Whether the comforting words, Fear Not, appear in the bible 366 times of simply once, we should hearken to His word and trust His promises for His word is trustworthy and true.
The Blessing of His Presence
This summer, we are going to dive into how God blesses us and how we can cultivate lives that receive all the blessings He has in mind for us. What amazing things does our God have in store? How can we live lives that invite and walk into those blessings regularly?
We have to lay a foundation for those blessings, like tilling up the garden bed to get it ready to receive the seeds. We have to turn the soil of our thought patterns and habits. This allows us to see where we have become hard ground or allowed weeds to grow up and choke out His blessings.
Working, but not alone
But, we don’t have to work at it alone!
“Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you, I will hold on to you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10 (CSB)
God will be right there with us. AND, we are here for each other. A community of Christ-followers, ready to lift one another up.
Who is this God who will be with us?
“The Lord passed in front of him [Moses] and proclaimed: The Lord – the Lord is a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger and abounding in faithful love and truth, maintaining faithful love to a thousand generations, forgiving iniquity, rebellion, and sin.” Exodus 34:6-7a (CSB)
“For nothing will be impossible with God.” Luke 1:37 (CSB)
Our God is full of love and mercy. He is slow to anger. He forgives and forgives and forgives. And, nothing is impossible for Him. He can do the biggest impossible dream you can imagine. The highest hurdle, the largest obstacle can be overcome.
That is Who is with us and will never leave us.
The first blessing we need to grasp hold of is the blessing of His presence. Out of His presence flow all other blessings.
What does God say He will do?
1. “I will strengthen you.”
Ouch! When I read this, I thought about working out. When we want to gain strengthen, there is a process. We have to work those muscles, tearing them down and building them up. The strengthening process is uncomfortable and won’t feel like blessing at first. This is the time to trust and lean into God’s presence.
2. “I will help you.”
Whew! We need God’s help to stay on course when the strengthening storms come. God can use the bad things of a fallen world to benefit us and build our character if we will trust His plan and accept His help.
3. “I will hold on to you with my righteous right hand.”
I have a confession to make. I imagine God saying this with a surfer dude’s voice. “My righteous right hand, man!” It is funny to think about, but there is nothing funny about God holding us in His hand. He will not let go of us. He will never give up on us. With His hands that can hold the whole world, He is holding you and me.